Thursday, 23 May 2019

SD86 - 5 - SD8064 - Above Giggleswick School Chapel - Craven Bank Lane Lichens

28 & 29 March 2019 - Fields above Giggleswick School Chapel

(Pictures yet to be added)

28 March: I have been looking forward to visiting this monad (1 square kilometer).   Craven Bank Lane is an old road, rising almost 200ft west from Giggleswick in a VERY short distance. I am parked at almost 200m above sea level. Tems Beck, exactly 1 km away in Giggleswick  is 145m, 55m below me. The Ribble leaving Settle in the flat bottomed valley, once a lake, is 138m.

You can draw a straight line from the road in the east from Airton down (with wiggles), to Settle, across Settle, and  Giggleswick, up to where I am standing and then the road continues in a straight line to Paley Green and beyond. Maybe this was the main road before the Kendal Turnpike Road (A65) was built in 1753. One thousand years ago the main valleys would have been impassable, boggy and flooded much of the year, so people would have used higher roads.

I remember discovering the pleasant wild flowers (such as water-avens  they are woodland edge / hay meadow flowers) growing on the verges, during the year I planned the Craven Conservation Group bike ride to Eldroth and Helwith Bridge. What rich hedgerows! whereas the surrounding fields are continuously grazed by sheep with no areas where the grass or tall flowers can grow, and no trees.

I park at the road side. 

The dry stone walls have both limestone and sand / gritstone stones so I will get a reasonable lichen score. I start scoring lichens in the hawthorn bushes.

Then I look up. These bushes/trees are like the exposed big hawthorn hedgerow  I visited with Sharon in Lancashire, near just beyond Bentham Great Stone of Four Stones, near Low Gill, where we had found Ramalina fraxinea (also known as Cartilage Lichen)  (They were thus in the next vice county)

And lo and behold, hanging from the very branches above me are two almost hanging basket size clumps of Ramalina fraxinea.  !!!!!

This species is so big that even non-lichenologists notice it. I remember Clarice Howorth inviting me to her garden in Rathmell (SD 79605991 ) sometime before 2012  to identify a this species.   It is a species that is spreading.

If you find one on a tree, please leave it there for others to see.

I explore the field to the south - It has gritstone rocks, poking out of the grass that have been exposed by the ice- . Even I can tell that without being shown them by a geologist.

They have examples of the beautiful Xanthoparmelia conspersa(record) But it is getting dark. I will come back another day.


I did come back, next day on a sunny late afteroon.

I found more Ramalina fraxinea, this time hanging in the trees on the south of the road. I took one photoshot of this birds-nest shaped mass, with a view of the brown dome of Giggleswick School Chapel beyond. 

The sloe bush branches, their white flowers starting to burst, were laced with other species of Ramalina too: farinosa and fastigiata and Evernia prunastri (all three new records for this project). as well as lots of the tiny but prolific Physcia tenella.  

One tree in the hedgerow had Parmelina pastillifera and there was more on the wall top just below it.

The lamps pranced in the field.

I followed them slightly uphill to the south, across the bright green grazed grassland under the blue sky, to search the glacier scoured rocks for more Xanthoparmelia conspersa, and found growing in the grass Peltigera hymenina (record) 

I felt as though I was on the summit of a mountain, high above Settle, and looking  to the north (Huntworth Common, the Golf course behing hidden- to Giggleswick Scar and B6480; to the NE - Giggleswick Quarry - to the east- Settle and the road to Airton, and to the south - down the Ribble towards Rathmell.) - yet later in my lichen travels I would in fact find myself looking down on this hill.

The path led to a stile in the wall and over the wall was a reseeded ryegrass field - dark shiny green - boring human agricultural improvement -no bees, no flowers, though no doubt plenty of grass, the stone wall had much brown Acarospora fuscata - a lichen I was getting used to seeing where much cow muck has been applied.. So I stayed in the glacier scoured field, and took photos of more lichens on the bare rock faces. One was Buellia aethelia (record) but I suspect I had missed this on earlier stone walls.

I have scored 23 species in this monad, including 7 new species.
My total for the project after 5  hectads is now 49.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Settle Passion Play 2019

Settle Passion Play: The Journey to the Cross
Settle, North Yorkshire  - held on 19 April 2019
Join us as we walk from the Last Supper in the Upper Room (St John's) .. through Settle to the Mount of Olives.

Here are some pictures from the event on Friday.

all welcome at the 6.30am  Open Air Service in Millennium Garden on Sunday 21 April




Then followed the Crucifixion scene in the churchyard.

Below:- On the Sunday morning we visited the empty tomb (Millennium Garden) at 6.30am, and held a short service 

Wed 8th  Justice & Peace Group, 7 for 7.30pm, Friends Meeting House
Live Simply Award: Settle Catholic Church are taking part in a green scheme called "Live Simply Award". Paul Kelly is giving a talk about this.

Fri 10th  Barn Dance 7 – 10.30pm at St Mary & St Michael Catholic Church Hall, Tilman Close. Tickets £7.50/£1 are on sale from your church rep. A hot meal is served, followed by cakes which people have brought to share – thank you!
Profits will be donated to the Refugee ReSettlement Sponsorship Group (Raffle will be held: prizes welcome

Sunday, 14 April 2019

SD86 - 4 - SD8063 - Lichens North of Giggleswick Station, along the bypass to Close House

Sun 24 March 2019:
SD8063 is the fourth monad (1km square) going up on the left hand side of Hectad SD86   (10 by 10 km square) that contains Settle.

The landscape gently rises above the flood plain. It is not particularly dramatic or  stunning. Part of this 1 km square is bisected by the 4 mile long Settle bypass with traffic hurtling past at 70 plus mph. By the end of today's walk I find I have visited 8 different habitats:

1.Young trees on Settle bypass verge - (To think I remember when the bypass was opened - Dec 1988- and Craven Conservation Group made suggestions to the planners as to what tree species to plant!!) The trees are now now 30 years old - but generally only showing the usual five species tolerant to nitrogen compound pollution - Xp, Pt, Le, Lc and Ar
A sycamore bud on a young tree beside the bypass. I say that the buds do not bust here till April 16 - but this bud is quite big and it is only 24 March.  The photo shows the Xanthoria parietina lichen growing on the twig - a sign of high nitrogen chemical input.

This was the only "interesting lichen I saw on the bypass trees - and I looked at a lot of trees

Here is a picture of it close up.   Fruiting  bodies that are more than twice as log as wide, and with black carbonaceous margins are said to be lirellate

2. Ancient leached railway sleeper near the railway track supporting Cladonia ochrochlora   (?)

3. Newish stile over fence to cross the railway, supporting Xanthoria ucrainica and Physcia dubia on the gravel and tarmac coated steps
Xanthoria ucrainica - the yellow one

4. Dry stone wall with siliceous rocks in pastures.

5. Old wall at farm with mortar near top. Lecanora campestris and Caloplaca citrina were growing in abundance on the wall. Other species such as Verrucaria muralis were growing in the mortaron the wall further round to the right.

Lecanora campestris

6. The Cutting towards underpass to the bypass that had plaster on one side that had possible Toninia sedifolia.

7. Old sycamore trees down either side of tarmac drive, but they were mostly inaccessible due to fence on either side of drive. One accessible trunk near the beginning  had Hyperphyscia adglutinata. 

An old wooden gate near the south end of the drive had Fuscidea lightfootii.
Fuscidea lightfootii.

Gate with lichens - and a very old wall behind. (Much older than the enclosures act walls)

Score: 27 species including 5 new species today: total species seen: 42.

The next Monad will be SD8064 - off the road above Giggleswick school.  We are getting higher now.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

SD86 - 3a - SD8062 - Lichens-south of Giggleswick Station

18 March SD 8062- SD802628

This is the third monad (1 km square) that I am visiting a small part of in my project to visit all the monads in hectad SD86 (the 10 by 10 km square containing Settle.)

I park on the minor  road just south of Giggleswick Station, near the Houses at Swar Beck. I had intended following the path through the fields diagonally south west to Littlebank Barn (the SW corner of the km square) , but there is plenty on the roadside dry-stone wall to keep me busy. The wall stones are mostly acid rock - gritstone.

I find my first Parmelia omphalodes of this survey.  It is a coppery brown shiny foliose lichen with white lines along the crinkles on the thallus.  I associate that with more mountainous places.

Opegrapha gyrocarpa and Rhizocarpon geographicum are other distinctive lichens of acid rocks
Opegrapha gyrocarpa - actually this picture is from near Ingleton

They are both crustose lichens and both have a black margin round the thallus.  Opegrapha gyrocarpa tends to grow on vertical surfaces in sightly shaded places.  Rhizocarpon geographicum is flourescent green and can tolerate strong sunlight. 

Six days later I will again visit part of this 1km square when returning from surveying the square to the north.  On the main road to Settle, adjacent to and just west of the Craven arms is a wall that had a big path of a gold lichen.

I was delighted to find this lichen. I have not found it "by myself" before 

This is Caloplaca saxicola. It looks very similar to Caloplaca flavesens but the latter has narrower "pleats" and a deeper orange colour round the placodioid margin and only grows on base-rich rock.   the saxicola is paler yellow at the margin, with pleats that splay out - get broader.

Caloplaca saxicola
Caloplaca saxicola 
Lots of this Lecanora is growing on the same wall... Still have to find a name for it.
The same

The white building in this picture is The Craven Arms.  The Caloplaca saxicola grows just to the right of it.
Scenic view of "The Craven Arms" on 16 March

I have 25 species from this walk including 8 new ones.

Two posts that follow this: 
3b - SD8062 - A visit to  Rumney Bridge at the other end of THIS monad, next to the Ribble that I do a month from now. 
(This will increase my total from 25 to 35, and see two new species)

4- SD8063 - A walk north of Giggleswick Station. 

SD86 - 2 - SD8061 - Rathmell - North - Floods - Lichens

Km Number Two of Lichen Survey of Hectad SD86.
16 March 2019:

I planned to survey walls near the road running from Settle to Rathmell on Sat 16th March for  Km 2 -  SD8061

But it rained on Friday night and Saturday morning - so I am diverted to taking pictures of flood scenes: Here is the Ribble taken from the bridge in Settle: The left side of the picture is the football pitch under water. 

- It did flood over the football pitch about 20 years ago - but they built up the flood banks after that.. So the river must be really high now to break the banks. The course of the river and the weir is on the right

It is a good example of climate change.

And they are having desperate times in Malawi and Mozambique.

I visit other sites and then set off for Rathmell. 

Now Rathmell,  on the other side of the Ribble to Settle was built on a hillside, to avoid the floods, above the floodplain of "Long Preston Deeps",  So what happens to the plain?  It floods.

Here at the junction with the bypass, I meet a friend from Settle Harriers who has just returned from Rathmell - he demonstrates the level of the water- to the top of the wheel. (Extra triathlon training?) and describes how he just helped push a stranded car through and out of the water.

Scenic view of "The Craven Arms" - taken at the same place.

I drive a little further, park the car before the road becomes a canal and revert to plan B: "If the bottom left hand part of the km square is not accessible, then survey a different part". Yes, completely inaccessible. But is soon gets dark and I return home.

View of fields from Settle-Rathmell road

On 17th the sun comes out and dries up the plain

The dry stone walls are made up of rocks of sandstone/gritstone.. which support lichens such as Lecanora gangalioides

I expect this will be Lecanora gangalioides but I will need to cut a section of the apothecium to check.  (Just in case it turns out to be Tephromela atra)

There is one solitary ash tree in the field.

Near the base of the trunk and on the roots is this grey small foliose lichen with grey soredia  (powder) along the edge of the lobes.
I take it home and key it out - It is Physconia grisea - common on nutrient enriched trees.
Physconia grisea

This area was flooded just 20 hours ago

Rainbow on the wall I am surveying

And where does the rainbow end?

On some   Caloplaca crenularia! The dark orange apothecia on the grey cracked thallus on the gritstone rocks are very distinctive.

Species on Km 2:- 23, including 7 new ones (running total = 29)

Look out for Km 3 -SD8062- that will be on roads and walls just south of Giggleswick Railway Station

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

SD86 - 1 - SD8060 - Rathmell - Lichens Rule!

Would you like to do something that is a challenge - that gets you out into the fresh air, meet other people, and enables you to feel at one with nature  ?

Take up Lichens.

Would you like to get to recognise the colours and shapes of organisms growing on walls, trees, soil and rocks  - see the fascinating patterns under a hand-lens - even learn some of their names (or make up your own names for them) so you can talk to them?

Take up Lichens.

This February I attended a meeting of the British Lichen Society held at Cober Hill, Claughton near Scarborough. (That's the other end of North Yorkshire, c100miles from Settle.)  Janet Simpkin, the BLS Records Database manager gave me a map of my area (VC64) with each km square shaded according to how many lichens had been recorded there. 

I looked at my own hectad  (i.e. 10km by 10km square).
It includes Settle and Malham Tarn. Nearly all the 1km squares are empty, and five more have had only had one species recorded. (shaded pale blue) 

Even I, with may relatively inexperienced would be able to make some contributions! 

I'll take up lichens

When I look at a map of Britain I can see that Yorkshire has a lot of squares filled in near Sheffield. Imagine if I recorded my area, we can shade in this part of Yorkshire gold!!!  Squares with 18 or more species are shaded golden yellow. The next colour up - pale orange - requires at least 29 species to be found - which - for me is, well, getting a lot harder. 

I decide to try and visit the bottom left part of each 1km square in SD 86, provided access is easy - and a different part of the square if it is not.

I will try and keep going each monad until I reach 18 species.. and maybe try and find 2 new species to add to my total list each time.

So on ... March I set off for Rathmell,  SD8060, park in the village car park, and set off across the road.

Across the road from the car park is a track bounded on the south side by an old wall made of the local sandstone/gritstone but held up with old mortar. 

A couple of buildings to the south of this is the building that was Rathmell Academy.  
According to wikipedia, Rathmell Academy was a Dissenting academy set up at RathmellNorth Yorkshire, and was the oldest non-conformist seat of learning in the north of England. The academy was established in 1670 by Richard Frankland M.A. (Christ's College,Cambridge), 1670 and which was carried on, in spite of much persecution and many changes on venue of the academy, for nearly 30 years. 

On the sandstone, but probably affected by water draining from the mortar I find Diploica canescens, including one thallus in fruit (It is more often found without fruit) 

It has a thick white thallus, which is slightly plicate at the edges. It has patches of creamy yellow soralia.  

This very-much-slug-eaten-lichen nearby, with a thick thallus is also Diploica canescens because it has the yellow soredia

Some of the mortar had Verucaria muralis.  Then it is time to go home.

Three days later I follow the path up through the fields, past a young birch tree. The drystone walls are mostly millstone grit, Near the top is a round boulder perched on the wall, covered with Xanthoria ucrainica/Candelaria concolor but which?

When KOH was added the lichen turned red showing it was not Candelaria concolor.  I have recorded it as Xanthoria ucrainica. 
(but maybe should just call it Xanthoria candelaria)

Total species for SD8060: 22

See the report for the next monad, SD8061

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Malham Car Park Lichens: Amazing change in 10 years

24 March 2019: I revisted a young ash tree I had surveyed 10 (and also 7 years) earlier and found five extra lichens on it: - in Malham YDNP car park.
The bag is at the foot of the tree, near the Physcia dubia

Parmelina pastillifera
Punctelia jeckeri
Ramalina fastigiata
Physcia dubia
Melanohalea exasperatula
SD89974 62678


The first visit to the tree had been as part of the "Algae and Lichens walk" I ran in 2009 for Craven Conservation Group, starting from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Centre Car Park at Malham, via Janet's Foss to Gordale Scar. Lichen expert Allan Pentecost led the walk the first time, then I repeated it. I made a detailed guided walk leaflet, so that I would know what to expect at each tree and stopping point.

I looked at the second ash tree this March.. and was amazed to see five new species that I had not recorded in the car park before, never mind on that tree!!   SD89974 62678 in 2009

Here are pictures of the new lichens:

Parmelina pastillifera

Ramalina fastigiata  & Punctelia jeckeri

Punctelia jeckeri
Punctelia jeckeri seen closer

Physcia dubia near base of trunk

The bag is at the foot of the tree, near the Physcia dubia

Melanohalea exasperatula   ( and Punctelia jeckeri)

Melanohalea exasperatula

Note the above identifications are provisional.   Comments welcome.

What caused me to go back and resurvey this tree?

The story:-
Hectad  SD86 (Settle-Horton-Malham Tarn). - That's my "home" 10x10km square.
and this spring I am surveying it for lichens.

In February, Janet Simpkin from the British Lichen society gave me a map of Vice County 64 showing the number of lichens recorded in every one of the 1 km squares.  There are lots of empty 1km squares in SD86. I have started from the bottom left at Rathmell and worked on small areas in each of the first three going up from the bottom left.

But today 24 March -  I had to visit Malham Chapel in the East. they had a special open day to show the newly renovated building (-Do have a look in if you are passing)  and I started surveying there. I spent several hours looking at the lichens on their short stretch of wall. - Malham Chapel churchyard - for lichens.  (That will be another web post one day)

Only to discover, now I have got home, that it is 50m into the NEXT hectad!!.  SD90056267  


Still at the end of the afternoon I had walked into the adjacent National Car Park Car park (definitely within SD86) to look at the  three trees I had recorded in 2009-2012 when I prepared the lichens nature trail walk from the car park to Gordale Scar.

Click Here to see the results of
The First One sq km of my Settle Hectad SD8060 project