I only know a few, but there are hundreds of mosses in Wales. Victorian velvet carpet moss cushions the ground. Sphagnum absorbs up to twenty five times its’ own weight in water – sometimes in the hills we see secret moss collectors stuffing bags for garden centres. I’m almost sure about shaggy electrified cat’s tail moss. But I don’t know the name of the one strewn across the valleys like a galaxy of stars.

Mossy logBehind the caravan is a woodland in a steep sided gorge, with a waterfall at the end. Walking in from the open field is like stepping into an empty wine bottle. Every trunk is mossy,  succulent plants squelch under foot, and the light is bottle glass green. At the waterfall, the air becomes clean and startling and scrubs your eyes.

Across it is a mossy trunk, outlined by the crashing white water. It’s a microclimate of moss, epiphytes, and ferns. It’s a tiny kingdom of palaces and jungles.

I once knew a moss expert when I worked in Sussex. A stroll down a path with Patrick was a journey into a different world. He had roped off a square metre in his garden – every day he observed and recorded the wildlife within, and passed many a hunch contented hour.

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