In early 2016, the opportunity arose to survey bryophytes in the Gloucestershire part of the Wye Valley at Symonds Yat, through a grant from the Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society. The focus of the survey was to document the number of populations of Anomodon longifolius but the opportunity was taken to document known populations of other notable taxa, compile past records and survey additional areas for which there were no recent records. To maximise potential to find populations of A. longifolius, the main effort involved survey of the cliffs from Yat Rock south and west as far as the Whippington Brook and east along Coldwell Rocks. In addition, the sandstone and conglomerate boulder fields of the area south of Yat Rock referred to by Armitage (1914) as the Upper Plateau, was surveyed in some detail.
This work enhances Natural England’s understanding of the nationally important bryophyte population of the Upper Wye Gorge Site of Special Scientific Interest, part of the Wye valley woodlands Special Area of Conservation, and will significantly influence how we plan and carry out management. Before this work was carried out we had no information on locations for the critical bryophyte species. It also gives us the baseline to monitor the condition of this feature