Modern mollusc survey – hedgeline, Leighton, Somerset
Where I get the chance, which isn’t all that often, I like to take a look at the modern snail fauna of the sites I’m excavating. I’m currently working close to Leighton, between Shepton Mallet and Frome in Somerset. The site has a fairly sandy clay overlying Carboniferous limestone (the Hotwells Limestone) with occasional areas of younger, Jurassic, Inferior Oolite. It has been deeply ploughed, and maize was still growing there at the time of my survey. I couldn’t find a single snail amongst the maize, although the hedgeline (hazel, with some hawthorn) yielded quite a few snails.
The counts were
Cochlicopa lubrica 3
Discus rotundatus 1
Vallonia costata 1
Cepaea hortensis 4
Trochulus striolatus 21
Oxychilus cellarius 1
The C. hortensis were all of the 5-banded variety.
None of the snails were all that surprising for the environment – fairly typical hedgerow fauna.
Elsewhere on the site, in recent colluvium at the bottom of the hill, I’ve seen Cornu aspersum, in a very pointed form. Whilst excavating I’ve some across live examples of the subterranean Cecilioides acicula (which I only ever seem to see when the soil is quite sandy), and in the car park at the top of the hill there are Monacha cantiana.