Maelor Limestone

Maelor Limestone - UK and Ireland : Cheshire has essentially no limestone outcrops. (The less than 1km^2 of the Astbury Inlier is not ac

Cheshire has essentially no limestone outcrops. (The less than 1km^2 of the Astbury Inlier is not accessible to the public, and is mostly under water in the form of a flooded quarry.) While there are calcareous areas in the form of lime beds (post-industrial sites) in the Weaver Valley, related to the salt and chemical industries, this means that calciphile plants are generally lacking in the county. The same holds for the readily accessible areas of Staffordshire, Therefore the easiest means of accessing calcareous habitats is visiting the Lower Carboniferous limestone areas of north east Wales. These run in a discontinuous belt from the Great Orme to overlooking the lower portions of the Vale of Llangollen. This project covers the outcrops west of Wrexham, which are separated from the main outcrops on the flanks of the Vale of Clywd by offset along the Bala Fault.
* Great Orme
* Gloddaeth Syncline, were the limestones form an arc around Penrhyn Bay, from the Little Orme to Rhos
* west flank of Vale of Clywd, from Llandulas to Denbigh
* west flank of Vale of Clywd, south and southwest of Llanrhaeadr
* west flank of Vale of Clywd, north of Ruthin
* several outcrops along the Vale of Clywd Fault
* east flank of the Clywdian Range, from Prestayn to Llandegla
* several outcrops along the Bala Fault, including around Ffrith northwest of Wrexham
* from Minera via the west flanks of Ecclusham Mountain and Ruabon Mountain to the Vale of Llangollen.
Here the limestones are composed of the compose of the Loggerheads Limestone, Cefn Mawr Limestone and Minera Formation. To the northeast they are overlain by the Pennine Coal Measures Formation of the Denbighshire Coalfield, thought at some points (e.g. Minera Lead Mines) mining has brought limestone to the surface.
Visiting the area has in addition to adding some species to my life list resulted in seeing some species that I haven't seen since I started recording (such as Carlina vulgaris, seen on the Great Orme) and in seeing a variety of species, such as Anacamptis pyramidalis, Blackstonia perfoliata, Briza media, Gymnadenia conopsea, Leontodon hispidus, Sanicula europaea and even Teucrium scorodonia in numbers that exceed all the plants I've seen of those species over 10 years of recording.
11 Jul 2019