Tuesday, 16 July 2019

SD86 - 00 - SD8060 - SD8061 - Rathmell - Higher Plants - BSBI - Summer Meeting

The Botanical Society of the British Isles are staying at Malham Tarn Field Centre from 13 - 19 July .  On Sunday we went on walks based from the Centre to Ha Mire and beyond, and on Monday we visited Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserves - my group to Ashes Pasture. Today we split into groups of 4 to "tetrad" or "monad" bash.

And guess where I was assigned. The beginning of hectad SD86! i.e to Rathmell, and the flat pastures beside the River Ribble, which flood; to the same first monad of my lichen survey.

Here are two plants I was delighted to find (new records I think for SD86): Trailing St John's-wort Hypericum humisferum  in a pasture at the foot of an acid unimproved slope at the edge of the field

and later by the River Ribble: Ranunculus sceleratus Celery-leaved Buttercup

Our plant only stood 5cm tall - amazing what a bit of perspecive does for size!

Time to key out forget-me-nots. This one is Water Forget-me-not

The hill Penyghent is in the background

Returning to our second strategically left car.. I was delighted to discover a stand of Carex acuta. Not a new record for SD86 hectad database for the hectad it seems, but a fantastic new record for me - So accessible - just off the road, (the road to Rathmell that floods) and so near Settle.

Carex acuta - Slender Tufter Sedge

Below - a reminder of what these fields looked like on the evening of 16 March this year - seen from the road..

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Winskill Stones - Plantlife Reserve - in Midsummer - Flowers and Lichens: part 1

SD 8366

Midsummer at Winskill Stones ( 22 June 2019). This has been a Plantlife Reserve for just over 21 years now.  It is situated a mile and a half above Settle, in North Yorkshire
It does not seem two days since I carried out a botanical survey for Plantlife 21 years ago.

It was bought because there were only two places left in mainland Britain where people were legally allowed to dig up limestone pavement - this was one.  Once these last two places were protected, then there is no-where where people can quarry the pavement, so the remaining pavement should be protected. 

(Topical to mention that protecting pavement was actually set up as an EU law) 

This "Classic view" view is taken from the above the car park.
In the extreme foreground you can see blocks of limestone pavement with big patches of the white lichen Aspicilia calcarea (I'll test you on that later..)

Enjoy looking at the iconic Ash tree, so beloved by photographers. It has Ash die-back so next year there well be far fewer leaves on it.. and the year after??

The white house half a mile a way is Lower Winskill Farm - where the Northern Scythe Championships will take place on 7 July.

The grassland bank beside the road is currently covered with..

Bird's-foot Trefoil is also known as Eggs and Bacon..   here seen with white Limestone Bedstraw.

Salad Burnet

Red Clover

Even the daisies look special today

But we've barely left the car-parking area (layby/quarry cutting). 
Note the wall leading to the right off the picture.  We''ll walk up to that and look over it.

We're looking over the wall now towards Pen Y Ghent. Look at the wall top - What is the name of the white Lichen ? Yes, Aspicilia calcarea.  It seems to grow well where there is a lot of sunlight and also where there are nutrients added by bird droppings - 

At our feet are flowers of

Forget me not

Bulbous buttercup

The great thing about Winskill Stones reserve is that the near part is so accessible - step out of your car and you are in it!

That's all I have time for now.

Hope to post another day about more of the other lichens I found but here are just a few of my favourites: - the joy of looking through a handlens !

Opegrapha gyrocarpa  On siliceous rock but with lime influence

Solorina saccata - damp limestone ledge

Porpidia incrustans - limestone cliff
Porpida incrustans closer up- limestone cliff

Finally before returning to the car, a glance back over the Bird's-foot Trefoil and Thyme. See the wall on the skyline -  - See how it has Aspicilia calcarea on the top. Look out for it when you travel in the Limestone Dales

Thursday, 23 May 2019

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

28 & 29 March 2019 - Fields above Giggleswick School Chapel

This is the 5th post in a series about lichens in all the 1km squares in Hectad SD86, centred on Settle and Malham. (Rathmell - Helwith Bridge - almost Darnbrook, Malham)

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.  !!!!!

Photo taken the next day in the next field actually

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). 

Evernia prunastri

Physcia tenella, fruiting on the hawthorn and sloe

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 lambs 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.
Xanthoparmelia conspersa
Xanthoparmelia conspersa

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