A visit to Shropshire and to Wroxeter Roman City was a good bit of exploring. The sky was an unbelievable blue.
Wroxeter Roman City – Viriconium Cornoviorum was once the fourth largest town in Roman Britain.It was founded in the mid first century and was inhabited until being abandoned in the seventh century.
The hill in the distance in the photograph is the Wrekin. This hill is very interesting geologically. It is where some of the oldest rocks in the country are found , 677 million years old !
The Wrekin is very cone like in shape but is not a volcano , it is however made up from Layers of lava erupted from volcanoes.
Geologists describe Shropshire at this time as a lot like Japan , a volcanic island sitting in an ocean on the edge of a larger continent.
The Wrekin is 400m high and was a hill fort in the first century of the Celtic Cornovil tribe.
Ercall hill is a smaller hill next to the Wrekin and is famous geologically. In the quarry it is possible to see a change from bright pink rock to a pale grey. This marks the change from the pre Cambrian where there is very little Life and the Cambrian period where life suddenly exploded. As you drive up the M54 it is all in front or to the side of you !
Back to Wroxeter- the walls that can be seen today of the Roman ruins are home to Mosses and lichens. The tops of the walls form moss gardens.
Most of these mosses are pincushion species growing in a tight cushion shape.
The moss in the photo is probably wall screw moss (Tortula muralis) .Moss and lichen cover the walls especially on the tops but also in-between the tiles and stones in this ancient city.
These miniature gardens of moss are beautiful and interesting . Mosses provide good habitats for invertebrates due to their structure and their ability to hold water . They also provide insulation against rapid changes in temperatures and humidity. There is definitely more to moss than meets the eye.