Ditrichum plumbicola

Range & Status

Very sparsely distributed in Britain from SW. Scotland to Somerset; also known in the Isle of Man, S. Ireland and W. Germany. At all of its localities it is restricted to substrata with high levels of lead (or occasionally zinc).

Regional Distribution

Known only from near West Chyverton.

Habitat & Ecology

Restricted to small areas of acidic, sparsely vegetated, fine-grained mine-spoil and alluvium at the site of a disused lead mine.

Threats

A quarried area that forms the upper part of the site was due to be used for landfill, but intervention by English Nature prevented this. The lower part of the site is becoming increasingly shaded by saplings, which will need to be removed if the species is to persist in the long term.

Conservation

Detailed plans have been prepared to protect the West Chyverton mine site as a SSSI, but notification was unfortunately cancelled. This decision should be reviewed by the new Natural England agency, especially because the site also has Scopelophila cataractae (which was added to the BAP list in 2007).