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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Ditrichum plumbicola - Lead-moss

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.


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.


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).

Click here to see Dr. David Holyoak's Bryophyte Flora for this species


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.