Hindhope Linn


This secluded waterfall on the edge of Kielder Forest, now mostly conifer plantation, proved an interesting field trip for Ferns, Bryophytes, Fungi and Lichen. Linn is a Northumbrian word for a waterfall or the pool at the base of it. The Blakehope Burn tumbles over a sandstone escarpment in the Carboniferous sequences that make up most of Northumberland’s bedrock to form an impressive cascade. We visited in late October but Pink Purslane (Claytonia sibirica) was abundant and still in flower by the base of the fall.

The picture below is of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), a species regarded as one of the three native conifers of the UK, but only the subspecies scotica is a genuine native. These are grown from non-native seed.


The forest included large stands of Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) and Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)  both of which were originally introduced from the US by the botanist David Douglas. On the outskirts of the forest near the car park deciduous trees were still in green leaf: Common Alder, Goat, Grey and Eared Willow were thriving. Eared willow (Salix aurita) native to Europe, is a multi-branched woody shrub and a pioneer species, commonly occurring in wet sites in the Caledonian Forest and upland Northumberland. It is identified by its conspicuous stipules.

It was too dull and wet for successful photography but Ferns such as this Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina) shrugged off the rain.


Common Polypody (Polypodium vulgare) often grows as an epiphyte, in this case on a side branch of a Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea).


Various ferns were noted: Hard fern (Blechnum spicant), Male fern ( Dryopteris filix-mas), Borrer’s scaly male (Dryopteris affinis subsp Borreri), Broad Buckler (Dryopteris dilatata), Lemon scented (Oreoptteris limbosperma) and Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum).

Liverworts like it wetter than ferns and this Greater Featherwort (Plagiochila asplenioides) pictured below was growing near the footpath. White Earwort (Diplophyllum albicans), Bifid Crestwort (Lophocolea bidentata) and Overleaf Pellia (Pellia epiphylla) which prefers acid soils, were recognized.

greater featherwort.JPG

A good selection of Moss species were growing well. Common Haircap (Polytrichum commune) with Wood sorrel attempting to grow through it, likes high humidity and rainfall.


As does this Tamarisk Moss (Thuidium tamariscinum). It often appears transparent especially in the wet.


Other Bryophyte species: Bank Haircap (Polytrichastrum formosum), Juniper Haircap (Polytrichum juniperinum), Swan’s neck thyme moss (Mnium hornum), Big Shaggy (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus) and Litttle Shaggy mosses (Rhytidiadelphus loreus). It was wet enough for Sphagnum mosses such as Flat topped bog moss (Sphagnum fallax), Blunt leaved Bog moss (Sphagnum palustre), and even Red Bogmoss (Sphagnum capillifolium) to form cushions on the woodland floor.

Among the rich lichen flora it was a surprise to see Bryoria fuscescens growing well on Scots Pine where sufficient light lit the rough bark. Platismatia glauca is the leafy lichen on the right hand side of the photo.


There was a confusing collection of Cladonia lichen; C foliacea is the leafy lichen at the bottom of the photo, the cups probably belong to C pyxidata but they are difficult to identfy. Parmelia sulcata is the leafy lichen at the top.


This one looks like Cladonia glauca.


Stone also provides a good substrate for crustose lichens; Porpidia cineroatra below has ashy black fruiting bodies and black prothallus. Other lichen noted: Cladonia sulphurina, C squamosa, C polydactyla, C furcata.


Fungi were much in evidence given the wet mild weather. This coral fungus looks like  a Ramaria of some kind.


Wrinkled club (Clavicula rugosa).


Amanita vaginata, the Grisette, though not poisonous has a volva like a Deathcap.


Ochre Brittlegill (Russula ochroleuca,) one of the most common of all the brittlegills, is  plentiful in pine forests and has mycorrhizal associations with the tree roots.


The Myxomycetes, or slime moulds, are a group of  protists. They are microscopic, non-pathogenic bacterivores, which help to decompose plant remains. They are found in all terrestrial ecosystems, and about 1000 species are known worldwide. They are particularly abundant in temperate and tropical forest, but many species are also adapted to live in extreme environments. They form part of a group now called Amoebozoa. They are evolutionary significant, since they are considered to be one of the first attempts in the evolution of organisms towards multicellularity. They coalesce, in favourable conditions, into a moving plasmodial stage to meet mating partners and form spores.


Possibly this is Badhamia folilcola which often coats grasses.


Rainbows are formed by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets. This one appeared to have an end in the woodland but rainbows are not located at a specific distance from the observer. They are an optical illusion caused by any water droplets viewed from a certain angle relative to a light source. Unfortunately, a rainbow is not an object and cannot be physically approached. Indeed, it is impossible for an observer to see a rainbow from water droplets at any angle other than the customary one of 42 degrees from the direction opposite the light source. Even if an observer sees another observer who seems to be at the end of a rainbow, the second observer will see a different rainbow—farther off—at the same angle as seen by the first observer.



Reference: http://www.myxotropic.org/myxomycetes/



Lichens – Frank S Dobson

Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools – Paul Sterry and Barry Hughes


Big Waters – Lichen, Fungi etc.


This Hawthorn bush was still covered in fruit. According to The Woodland Trust:

Common hawthorn can support more than 300 insects. It is the foodplant for caterpillars of many moths, including the hawthorn, orchard ermine, pear leaf blister, rhomboid tortrix, light emerald, lackey, vapourer, fruitlet mining tortrix, small eggar and lappet moths. It provides nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects. The haws are rich in antioxidants and are eaten by many migrating birds such as redwings, fieldfares and thrushes, as well as small mammals. The dense thorny foliage makes a good nesting shelter for many species of bird.

An example of Ramalina fraxinea growing on an Ash tree. I was surprised to find it here at Big Waters among  abundant Xanthoria polycarpa.


On the same trees Ramalina fastigiata was flourishing and R farinacea was present but less spectacular. All of these like well lit nutrient enriched bark.


Lichen often forms mosaics on tree trunks. Lecidella elaeochroma is lined by a black prothallus separating it from Lecanora chlarotera with the buff apothecia.


The green Lichen with the large black apothecia is Physcia aipolia.


Another common physcia pictured below looks like P caesia.


The bryophyte on the picture above and below is Orthotrichum diaphanum. It had silvery leaf tips.


In the nature reserve Jelly Ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae) sprouting from Elder.


The fungi below, festooning the fallen log is Stereum hirsutum.


Not all fungi are easy to identify. It is late in the year. so it is possible that this violet stiped gilled mushroom is a Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda). It will fruit until December.









The Woodland Trust

Holystone Woods – Trees, Fungi, Mosses


The photo above shows a view Simonside from Holystone plantation. The forestry Commission have cleared some of the conifer plantation and amixture of tree species are being planted.


Juniper (Juniperus communis) maintains a foothold in this area. It is an evergreen conifer native to the UK, Europe and much of the northern hemisphere. Mature trees, can reach a height of 10m and live for up to 200 years. Its bark is grey-brown peeling with age, and its twigs are reddish brown. Juniper populations in the UK are shrinking, and the species is a priority under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

Being dioecious, male and female flowers grow on separate trees. Male flowers are small, yellow and globular, and grow in leaf axils near the tips of twigs. Once pollinated by wind, the green female flowers develop into fleshy, purple, aromatic, berry-like cones used to flavour gin. These are eaten and distributed by birds.


We visited the churchyard where some of us tried to estimate the age of the large sycamore tree on the right hand edge of the picture.  One easy method is to measure the circumference with a tape measure in cm and then divide by 2.5 cm. For example if the girth measured 275 cm then the age would be approximately 110 years old.

Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) is a non-native tree, introduced in the 16th Century. Unless pollarded, they have a lifespan of 200 – 400 years or so. The Tolpuddle martyr’s Sycamore has been dated to 1680.


The stream that runs from the Lady’s Well still had Monkey flower (Mimulua guttatus) in bloom. It is another non-native but has the distinction of being the county flower of Tyne and Wear. Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) was also thriving in the burn. In the picture above Soft Rush (Juncus effusus) and Hard Fern (Blechnum spicant) are visible.


By the Lady’s well fungi was springing up, benefiting from the recent wet weather. This white one is Crested Coral (Clavulina coralloides) but Beechwood sickener (Russula nobilis) was emerging under the beeches.


This attractively marked fungus growing on a  stump on the path up to the North Wood is Turkeytail (Trametes versicolor).


Along the same path Orange Peel Fungus (Aleuria aurantia) favoured the red whin chippings on the path. Calluna vulgaris, Autumn Hawkbit, Heath Grounsel,  Deschampsia flexuosa, Bracken had sprung up in the clearings.


In the wetter areas Sphagnum mosses (Sphagnum fallax) and Juniper Haircap moss (Polytrichum juniperinum) pictured above were conspicuous.


Holystone North Wood is an upland oakwood, of both sessile (Quercus petraea) and  English Oak (Quercus robur), is as an ancient semi-natural woodland site. There is evidence of some coppicing and parts of the wood were last worked about 60 years ago. This type of woodland, more typical of the Lake District, is found here under much drier climatic conditions and examples in the eastern part of Northumberland are particularly scarce. It has an SSSI citation.


The wood is noted for Lichen and Bryophyte species. The large mossy hummock above is White Moss (leucobryum glaucum). Waved silk moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) was present.


SSSI citation


Rothley Crags and Greenleighton Field-trip

The main aim of the outing was to examine and understand the geological context for the formation of the soils in the area. In the Carboniferous period (359 to 299 million years ago) the Great Limestone sequence was deposited across Northern England. Rothley Crags originated from the sediment of a large river that once flowed through Northumberland. The crags have been exposed by a series of geological faults running SW- NE and subsequent glaciation. From the top of Rothley Crags, the misty view below shows the agricultural field-scape, clearly different from the foreground rough grassland of the Crags. Bilberry and Bracken vegetation predominate on the exposed high ground of the grits. Typical acid plants like Climbing Corydalis and Tormentil were identifiable. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The influence of glacial processes of erosion and deposition can be deduced in the types of soil that we can see today such as clay and silt based loam.plantation core.JPG

We dug a pit about one foot deep in a modern conifer plantation. The soil was dry Mor with a thick unconsolidated humus layer on top. Conifers like Norway and Sitka Spruce depend on fungal networks (mycorrhiza) within this layer to provide them with nutrients such as nitrogen. The fine roots in this layer had visible white mycorrhizal tips.  A nitrogen supplying fungal associate, (Russula ochroleuca), was fruiting throughout the plantation. The soil was a shallow Ranker. Rankers are soils developed over non-calcareous material, usually sandstone rock. They are are often called A/C soils, as the topsoil or A horizon is immediately over the C horizon (parent rock) and lack a B horizon of leached material.

We moved on to test other areas area in the grassland on the approach to the Crags.  The right hand core pictured below was from a wetter rushy area and the left from a drier section nearby. Both of these were well turfed with no unconsolidated humus litter on top. The wet core harboured several worms, common inhabitants of Mull soils. They both contained ABC horizons. The B horizon largely consisted mainly of clay and was gleyed in both cases. The greyish or bluey-grey colours and orange mottling are characteristic  of gley soils but of secondary origin, replacing those inherited from the parent material. They result from the absence or very low levels of oxygen when iron compounds are changed chemically from their usual brown colours (reduction of ferric iron compounds to ferrous compounds).  This layer had no roots visible. The C Horizon in both samples was of unconsolidated parent rock (sandstone). There was a more obvious gleyed horizon in the wet sample due to greater waterlogging.


These fields were grazed by cattle and sheep and had been in use since probably late Neolithic/Bronze Age. Janet found evidence of this; a worked flint in the left hand core. The grassland was rich in fungi but mostly associated with the animal manure.


The moss and lichens on the sandstone crags formed intricate gardens of numerous species such as Cladonia sulphurina depicted below. C diversa,  C polydactyla, C macilenta, C ciliata and C furcata were abundant. Crustose lichens such as Pertusaria coralina, Parmelia saxatilis and Acrospora fuscata were visible on the bare sandstone.   Sphagnum mosses, such as S capillifolium and S palustre indicated the waterlogged soil conditions.


In Greenleighton Quarry the Great limestone was exposed in thick posts with thinly bedded shales between.


We augured a core from the field on top of the quarry. It was a thick Mull soil with ABC horizons showing little gleying. The deep brown  A layer was thick and wormy. There were many large mole hills in the field suggesting a deep fertile soil. It had been cleared  of large rocks at some time judging by the scatter on the wetter field below.  A thin gleyed B horizon was present but unexpectedly there was no limestone in the C horizon. Unconsolidated pebbly sandstone and some stony material were sandstone. The field looked as if it had been improved since white clover and perennial ryegrass were predominant and fungi was scarce.


The quarry floor was rich in fossils found in tumbled rock including the type fossil of Pleuoplugnoides greenleightonensis, a carboniferous brachiopod pictured below in the shale.


A  broken mass of fossils below hints at the turbulent history of the shale, the chainmail like pieces are possibly the bryozoan (Fenestella plebeia).


I was intrigued by these traces along this rock,


and this Echinoid fossil.


The species of moss and lichen were different here, reflecting the calcareous nature of the limestone rock. The crustose lichen, with marked pitting. is probably Verrucaria baldensis,  a species common on hard limestone. The acrocarpous moss is Grimmia pulvinata.



References: Mycorrhiza

Greenleighton Quarry Visit- Highlights


A general view of the site shows the effect of the dry weather on the plants. Noticeably the Bracken was still green. Although we went there for botany, the disused quarry at Greenleighton is an SSSI site for Geology. It exhibits an exposure of the Great Limestone and overlying sediments of Namurian age (330 mya).  The Namurian is a subdivision of the Carboniferous Period. The limestone is 15 metres thick in places consisting of large posts and shaly beds between, a section is seen below.

great limstone.JPG

The limestone floor is calcareous with normally wet flushes. Adder’s-tongue fern (Ophioglossum vulgatum), although yellowing was distinctive and occurred in two areas.


Red Bartsia (Odontites vernus) looking very stressed but coming into flower.

red bartsia

Many of the wet areas had dried out but this Shoreweed (Litterella uniflora) was identifiable sprouting through the mud.

Littorella uniflora

The delicate white flowers of the Knotted Pearlwort (Sagina nodosa) looked exquisite.

knotted pearlwort1010113

In a wetter patch the Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia) made a striking splash of blue.


We found a few spikes of Autumn Gentian (Gentianella amarella) a biennial plant, this one was just coming into flower.

autumn gentian.JPG

There were many other plants but I was not familiar with this Yellow Sedge (Carex demissa) smaller than the taller  growing glaucous and common sedges.

yellow sedge.JPG

Unfortunately we came across a young Ash (Fraxinus excelior) showing clear signs of ash dieback disease, in the diamond shaped lesions on the stem. First confirmed in Britain in 2012, Chalara or ash dieback is a disease of ash trees caused by a fungus called Hymenoscyphus fraxineus.

ash dieback

Comb Moss (Ctenidium molluscum), looking very dry, is a typical  moss of calcareous habitats.

Comb moss

A loose rock composed of a fossil colonial coral.

colonial coral chaetetes.JPG

The shell fragment below looks like Pleuropugnoides greenleightonensis one of the marine shell fossils the site is noted for.

Pleuropugnoides greenleightonensis?

The soft shales above the Great Limestone contained fossil Brachiopods as in the photo below. We did not find the other famous fossil, Cravenoceras leion, mentioned in the SSSI citation.brachiopod

The fossil rock provided a resting place for this colourful Meadow Grasshopper.

meadow grasshopper

As we were leaving this bird pellet was found. It could be from a Little Owl since it is rich in insect remains.

little owl pellet

References: SSSI citation




Harbottle- Plants, Lichens, Mosses

While mainly exploring the Geological features here, the vegetation and wildlife deserves some attention. Harbottle Moors consist of extensive areas of dwarf shrub heath with associated blanket bog and valley mire. Sandstone ridges are covered by heather (Calluna vulgaris) with, crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and bracken (Pteridium aquilinum). See Harbottle Moors SSSI. Bilberry was abundant and forming berries whereas Bracken was yet to take over the landscape. Deergrass (Trichophorum cespitosum) formed large patches of  cover over a ground layer of bog mosses  Sphagnum spp.




Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) was growing well by the footpath and coming into flower.


It is a carnivorous plant, the leaves catch insects which stick to them. When the leaves curl up the insect is trapped and digested by the mucilage, thus supplementing the Sundew’s diet in the otherwise nutrient deficient soils. The plant below was a puzzle to me, I think it is Cross leaved Heath (Erica tetralix) but the hairy leaves could belong to Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) which does grow here.

erica tetralix

Common Haircap Moss (Polytrichum commune) likes such damp conditions and was plentiful. Its golden capsules are distinctive.

Polytrichum commune.JPG

Sphagnum mosses are difficult to differentiate.This glorious pink hummock looks like S capitifollium and it is an important peat former since it tolerates drier conditions.

s capillifolium

The moss below could be S palustre another former of hummocks.

s palluster

I took a small sample from a wetter area, the area had dried out in the recent period of low rainfall.  It could be S fimbriatum. Round brown fungi were associated with the bog, probably Bog Bell (Galerina ssp.)

s fimbriatum

I  recognised this sedge as Star sedge (Carex echinata).

star sedge.JPG

However, these sedges were more difficult to identify perhaps the larger is Slender Tufted Sedge (Carex acuta) and the smaller White Sedge (Carex curta).


Lichens were everywhere. This looks like Cladonia portentosa.

c portentosa

These ones had bright red apothecia on their cups, perhaps Cladonia diversa.

c diversa.JPG

Are these could be Cladonia floerkeana or even C bellidiflora?

c bellidofora.JPG

This does look like C bellidiflora, tall and squamulous, and the green twiggy fingered one C subulata.

C Bellidiflora, C subulata

Yet more lichens! The cups  with red  pycnidia look like C diversa again, but the ones with the brownish fruits might be C cervicornis.

c diversa c cervicornus

Hares-tail Cotton Grass ((Eriophorum vaginatum) dotted the moorland in white fluffed heads  asign of a thriving moorland. Tormentil and Heath Bedstraw were common while Heath Milkwort was less prevalent.


We came across a large Green Tiger Beetle and a Two Banded Longhorn Beetle shown below  as it sunbathed on the bonnet of a car.

Rhagium bifasciatum.JPG

I failed to photograph any butterflies or moths but saw Small Heaths flying over the heather moors.

At the start of the walk a Cuckoo delighted us as we climbed up the crags, calling  for a long spell from the treetops. On the way down a Raven soared above us, black feathers gleaming in the sunlight.



Rothley Crags – Mosses

Bryophytes (Mosses and Liverworts) are challenging. There are over 1000 species in the UK. The picture below shows Silky Wall Feather Moss (Homalothecium sericeum), a fairly common moss on walls.


The Bank Haircap (Polytrichastrum commune) is also fairly common on woodland floors.


However, I am not sure what this is.  The photograph does not show sufficient detail, possibly some kind of Neckera?


This picture shows Cypress-leaved Plait Moss (Hypnum cupressiforme).

H cupresseforme.JPG

Another Hypnum in the photo below looks like Heath Plait moss (Hypnum jutlandicum).

H jutlandicum

The long stalked snaky moss is (Plagiothecium undulatum) growing amongst another moss  shown more clearly in the next picture,

Dicranum scoparium, Waved silk Moss.JPG

still covered in frost, Broom Fork-moss (Dicranum scoparium).



Common Tamarisk Moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) is a beautiful fern-like moss, liking wetter conditions.

Thuidium tamariscum

A glorious green carpet of some kind of Beard Moss, maybe Revolute (Pseudocrassidium revolutum)?

Revolute beard moss?



Grasses, Ferns, Mosses and Lichens – Roger Phillips







Morralee Wood- Bryophytes

Botanists usually start looking in the car park. This liverwort (Metzgeria furcata) has a  indicative thick midrib and forked tip. Commonly called Forked Veilwort it was growing on the bark of a beech tree in the car park.

Metzgeria furcata

Bifid Crestwort (Lophocolia bidentata) is a leafy liverwort with conspicuously bilobed leaves. Apparently it is strongly aromatic!

Bifid Crestwort,

This handsome leafy liverwort is Lesser Featherwort (Plagiochila porelloides). It is common on woodland banks.

Plagiochila asplenoides

Capillary Thread Moss (Bryum capillare) growing on a wall, its pink capsules prominent, is a common acrocarpous moss. Acrocarpous mosses grow upright forming cushions or mats and have their capsules on the tips of their shoots. On the other hand pleurocarpous mossessprawl and have their capsules on the sides of their shoots. Silky Wall Feather-moss (Homalothecium sericeum) is an example of a pleurocarp. It is the moss in the picture below spreading  over the stonework.

Bryum capillare

Cypress-leaved Plait-moss (Hypnum cupressiforme) has a braided look to the stems and is also found typically on walls and rocks.

Hypnum cuppresseforme

Juniper Haircap (Polytrichum juniperinum) has a distinctive red/brown tip to the leaves. It prefers more acidic conditions.

Juniper Haircap (Polytrichum juniperinum)

Slender Mouse-tail Moss (Isothecium myosuroides) has a tree like growth pattern and is another moss favouring acidic woodland.

Common Mousetail (isothecium myosuroides)The picture below reveals how various mosses and lichens share living condition on a rock. The lichen is probably Peltigera membranacea; it is surrounded by numerous Bryophyte  species. Big Shaggy Moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetus) is the red stemmed one at the bottom of the picture, Broom Fork-moss (Dicranum scoparium) is the moss with long capsules, the lighter green feathery one is Common Tamarisk-moss (Thuidium tamariscinum) which prefers neutral conditions.

, Rhytidiadelphus triquetus, Peltigera membranacea,

The picture below is Swan’s-neck Thyme-moss (Mnium hornum), often found in acidic woodland.

Mnium hornum.JPG

This gorgeous waxy moss is White Moss (Leucobryum glaucum) or more probably L juniperoidium.

Leucobryum glaucum

Compare it with a more convincing specimen of Leucobryum glaucum below.


This larger straggly moss could be Greater Fork Moss (Dicranum majus) given the robust scimitar shaped leaves.

Dicranum majus

Waved silk Moss (Plagiothecium undulatum), the can of worms moss, is a striking and recognizable moss of acidic woodland.

Plagiothecium undulatum

Common Haircap (Polytrichum commune) also likes damp acidic conditions. The capsules are visible in the centre of the rosettes almost looking like flowers.

Polytrichum commune

The Springy Turf moss (Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus) is common in woodland and lawns.

Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus.JPG

There was a Spagnum Moss: Flat-topped Bog-moss (Sphagnum fallax) happily growing in the wet conditions of damp woodland.

Sphagnum fallax, Sphgnum fallax.JPG

The moss with stumpy fingered leaves is a Pocket Moss, probably (Fissidens taxifolius).

Pocket moss (Fissidens sp)

To finish, this photo shows a plateful of samples collected from Morralee Wood for a closer look.



Simonside- Lichens and Mosses

pinewood rock

This is a good site for lichens and mosses. I photographed a few, such as this Cladonia floerkeana,

Cladonia floerkeana

and this, probably Cladonia polydactyla.

Cladonia polydactyla

A poor photograph of Cladonia ramulosa.


A leafy lichen growing on sandstone, Melanelixia fuliginosa?

Melanelixia fuliginosa,

Fucidea cyathoides has a mousey brown colour and is more easily identifiable.Fuscidea cyathoides.JPG

Below is Fuscidea lightfootii growing on the same rock as cyathoides and also recognizable by sight.

Fuscidea lightfooti

Pertusaria corallina is another common moorland rock inhabitant forming large patches.

Pertusaria corallina.JPG

Likewise Porpidia crustulata.


Not sure bout this lecideine fruits with a slight margin, could be a Rhizocarpon. Such an interesting shape.

Porpidia crustulata

A selection of Verrucaria on this rock V macrostoma, V polysticta among them.

V macrostoma, Verrucaria polysticta

This one is a spectacular Lecidea lithophila.

Lecidea lithophila

This one formed large white patches and is probably Pertusaria pseudocorallina.


Apart from all the wonderful lichens, mosses were also ubiquitous. Along the conifer walks, Common Haircap (Polytrichum commune) was prevalent.

common haircap

Red-stemmed Feather Moss (Pleurozium scherberi) grew on peaty banks.

Red-stemmed Feather-moss - Pleurozium schreberi

Some waved Silk Moss (Plagiothecium undulatum) is poking through the Haircap.

Waved silk Moss (Plagiothecium undulatum)

In wetter areas Sphagna occurred, like this Spaghnum capillifolium,

Sphagnum capillifolium)

And I think, Sphagnum tenellum.

Sphagnum tenellum

In some standing water this is probably Sphagnum cuspidatum given its feathery appearance.




Seaton Sluice Saltmarsh


A general view of the Saltmarsh. A closer view would soon show a sward of Sea Pink coming into flower. the picture below shows Sea  ink (Armeria maritima), Sea Milkwort (Glaux maritima) forming a ground cover. It was flowering over much of the marsh.

sea pink

Glaux maritma  now called (Lysimachia maritima) is a Saltmarsh specialist. it does not have petals the pink petals are sepals. On close up the leaves are dotted with pores, perhaps this is an adaptation to life in a saline environment.

glaux maritima

The salty environment also suits Sea Arrowgrass (Triglochin palustris) coming into flower  as spikes through the linear furrowed leaves. It was growing abundantly in the lower marsh.


Saltmarsh Grass (Puccinellia maritima) well fitted to its position in the lower marsh.

saltmarsh grass

Another resident of upper and middle marsh, Common Scurvygrass (Cochlearia officinalis), struggling with bramble and grass.

common scurvygrass

For comparison, this is, surprisingly, Pyrennean Scurvygrass (Cochlearia pyrenaica). Why is it here since it often grows near old metal mine workings?

pyr grass

The water bubbling up here in the middle of the Seaton Burn is from old colliery workings and is polluted by various metals. This environment might be tolerable for C pyrenaica.

polluted spring

Sea Lavender (Limonium vulgare) likes the muddy banks but not in flower yet.

sea lavender

Alongside this is Hastate Orache (Atriplex hastata) also growing in the lower marsh.

hastate orache

Further up this Thistle is incredibly prickly, could be a Spear thistle but not typical.

Cotton thistle(Onopordum acanthium) Fine leaved Water Dropwort (Oenanthe aquatica) grows  further up by a freshwater marsh where Bulrush (Typha Latifolia) had been planted in an attempt to clean the polluted water.

water dropwort

Ditches have been dug in linear trenche. Filled with fresh water, this habitat was ideal for tadpoles and algae.


False Fox Sedge (Carex otrubae) growing further up the Fresh water marsh.

true fox sedge

Birdsfoot trefoil growing near the marsh on sandy soil.

birdsfoor trefioil

Holywell Dene, an ancient semi-natural woodland, has a bluebell area. These bluebells do not look like wild type, however.


There was much else of interest on the way.



Black headed gull


Knotted clover (Trifolium stiatum) below.

Knotted clover 9trifolium striatum)

Mosses crop up everywhere even on dry walls. This might be Common Beard Moss?


The flower below was unknown to me. It was in a roadside flower bed and is a cultivated bulb plant. It is White Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum).