Monday, 30 May 2016

Wild-flowers of Malham Tarn talk - 1 June

Flowers of Malham Tarn: Illustrated Talk by Dr Judith Allinson
Former tutor at Malham Tarn Field Centre at St John’s
Methodist Church Hall, Settle. BD24 9JH
We 1 June 7.30-9pm
Adults £5 /child/stu £3
In Aid of the Rainforest Fund

All welcome

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Settle Soup Number 4 and Pitch for Settle Dementia Action Awareness

What projects should we be supporting in Settle?

The three Pitches at the third Settle Soup was held on Wednesday 13th April at Victoria Hall:

  1. Settle Dementia Action Alliance Launch - 20 May 1-4pm  (Claire Holliday)
  2. Craven Refugee Network (John Launder)
  3. Craven Development Project (Ann Harding)
Cauliflower soup and pepper and sweet potato soup - tickled our taste buds

Joseph chaired the meeting. 
Jo told us about Settle Timebank. 
Margaret showed people about Leeds Credit Union.

All three of the main pitches interesting projects, of relevance to all in the Settle Area:

Settle Dementia Action Alliance will encourage Traders and groups in Settle to partake in free "How to be more helpful to people with dementia" training - and once they've had the short session, then they can display a Dementia Aware sticker in their shop,

In answer to the question "Please give us three tips to help people with dementia, Claire replied:-

Thi topic is important since one in three people over 80, maybe over 65 will one day get dementia - and people much younger than that can get it- so it affects a lot of us
20 May 1-4pm Launch of Settle Dementia Action Alliance. Vic Hall

Next Settle Soup: Wednesday 
17: 24 May: Settle Soup: Victoria Hall 6pm-8pm
Come  and  enjoy  friendship,  soup  and  find out  what is going
on in Settle.
If  you  have  a  project  in Settle that you would like to tell other
people about or raise money for this (or maybe a future SOUP)
is  an  opportunity.

4  people  talk  for  4 minutes each about their

projects.  We  discuss  the  projects over soup, and then vote for the
most worthy or inspiring project -and the winner takes the door money.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Monad SD 8768 - 1- Turf Hill

Starting a new monad today (4th May 2014) (and tetrad): SD 8768 :
Today with the help of Sue and Les Knight.

from 415m to 540m in this monad
 and to 591m (on Knowe fell) in SD 8668
and 613m on the ridge leading towards Fountains Fell in the highest part of the tetrad SD8669

Today we visited Turf Hill which I used to visit from  the Field Centre to study soils: Rankers/Rendzinas (CG9- Blue moor-grass grassland); Brown Earth (U4-Common Bent grassland); Acid Soil (U5 - Mat-grass); and Podsol (U6 -Heath Rush)

No trees in the tetrad -
Just stone walls -mostly limestone with odd bits of sandstone/gritstone, grassland, bog and occasional patches of limestone outcrops/pavement -

But there are many micro-habitats within this that give home to different species of moss and lichen, which I'll deal with below

Having surveyed the adjacent monad I was delighted to look in parallel micro habitats and be able to predict what I might find: (See table lower down)

"Let's look for 20 or 22 mosses, then stop and look for 20 Lichens" I said. So, once in our monad, we did this.  We progressed a whole 50metres within an hour and a quarter.. by which time it was lunch time.

We sat on some limestone rocks in a dip near the wall, in the sun, and sheltered from the wind. A walker appeared, descending from Fountains Fell. He had walked up via the Pennine Way from Malham in the morning - and was now returning on a different route.

We had seen two lapwings - not the 100s I used to see 30 years ago - but we had seen two. and a curlew.

There were skylarks and meadow pipits.

This is Candelariella coralliza.
It grows on the top side of acid rocks which have harsh conditions- both heat and cold -
and which may be bird perches and thus get extra nutrients 

Some amazingly big Aspicillia contorta 
on a limestone rock in a wall.
with a tuft of Schistidium moss

Collema fuscovirens - This black jelly lichen is quite thin.
It grows on the tops of rocks 
and the middle part of the thallus has usually blown away
Thelidium decipiens (probably) 

Thelidium decipiens

We spent time searching in the scree in this dry valley
 (that leads down to Stangill Barn, and thence to Cowsde beck)
Les told us of a lichen that looks like a wiggle worm that grows on BURIED scree, that Brian Coppins had once shown him. We failed to find this. But we found Farnoldia jurana (tiny black dots on scree stones) and Opegrapha dolomitica (saxicola) 

Farnoldia jurana

Opegrapha dolomitica (saxicola) 

Limestone wall (N Side) Neckera complanataVerrucaria nigrescens
Sandstone in wall (Top/N side)
Parmelia saxatilis
Foot of wall (more moist)Plagiochyla porelloides, Plagiomnium undulatum
Moss on Limestone wall
Wooden fence post
They are a bit hard
Limestone pavement- side of shady grykeThamnobryum alopecurum
Limestone pavement bottom of shady grikeConcocephalum
North facing limestone cliff face and crevice
Solorina saccata, Lepraria nivalis
South facing screeNoneFarnoldia jurana, Opegrapha dolomitica
Turfy long limestone grasslandHylocomium splendens
Pile of acid and basic stones in a depressionRacomitrium lanuginosumCladonia furcata and rangiformis
Polytrichum commune tussocksPolytrichum commune 
Sphagnum areasSphagnum palustre etc

Well we covered one field.
There is another 100m (300ft) of ascent in this monad, and a further 50m in the next.. will that reveal different habitats?

Rough counts gave just over 45 Mosses and liverworts and just over 40 Lichens. I'll give the actual totals once we have checked our packets.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Tour de Yorkshire Preparations


19 April 2016 above Pately Bridge

Ripon turning above Pately Bridge - I hope the Daffodils will last until 29th April

THe daffoldils really are quite stunning at the top of Greenhow Hill.
And Houses en route have their flags ready to wave the riders on.

No shortage of signs here.
. actually I think the cyclists just carry straight on.

Yes, we're at Threshfield - and still Tour signs.
Here we are outside Threshfield Court,
where Mum used to live. 20 April


But then we had lots of cold weather.. which is bad for the new born lambs because the grass is not growing and the mothers cannot get  enough grass to eat

It is the 28th April now - they have closed the centre of Settle to traffic.

I drove up to Bukhaw/Bucker Brow to collect some grasses for the course I will be teaching tomorrow night. It started sleeting.

I bought a Yorkshire flag from The House that Jack Built

And am waving it on the market place. on the skyline you should be able to see the top of the Settle letters and the flag on Castleberg.

I hope everyone enjoys the race on Friday.

A sunny day

On 10th April everyone woke up to snow.

But by midday it was warm enough to sit out on the pavements in Settle

Nellie and I went for a ride Horton for afternoon tea.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Tetrad SD86-4

31 March. Thursday: Sun was forecast.  (See also The first trip to this tetrad)

I parked at the Layby, after Robert's barn and field but before the bend before Stangill Barn.
I joined  the path which goes parallel to the wall to the north end of the field where there is a gate which goes into Turf Hill Field. This wall had a few gritstone capstones. I photographed Lecanora polytropa and Pertusaria corallina  and Acarospora fuscata.

I paused at the gate. We used to pause here with the 6th-formers on Soils Days at Malham Tarn Field Centre, and talk about lichen and moss colonisation as a first step in soil formation.

So here I am 30 years later looking at mosses and lichens.

At SD880(05)  687(06) almost out of the monad,  was some Molina and Juncus squarrosus - podsol vegetation:
Phew. it just managed to be in the square! (NVC U6).

Plagiothecium undulatum. Hypnum jutlandicum,   then further on some tussocks of Sphagnum capillifolium, Polytichum strictum, Polytrichum commune, Dicranum scoparium.. and well that was it ..
At SD 880(87) 688(95) 20m uphill and west of the gate was a slope with shallow soil, lots of Carex and Sesleria and Breutelia chrysocoma. But I could not find anything else new.

As I walked down towards Stangill I met the top of the "dry valley" which had one small north facing cliff .. Maybe I'll write more on this cliff another time.. But I now have Gymnostemum sp on my list.

Tetrad SD 86 3 - Stangill Bridge Bend

27 March:
I planned to park and then walk up to Turf Hill. But then realised I had valuables in the boot of the car (P.A.) and I did not want to walk far away for fear of theft from the car..  So I proceeded to what I shall call "Stangill Bridge Bend" - almost a bridge- over a dry valley, and parked at the quarry-let there .  In this "micro-quarry" there was a rock with a white version of Cladonia poccilum. The quarry slope had Blue Moorgrass (Sesleria caerulea).

I walked down the "dry valley - the sides were tussocky and had occasional Hylocomium splendens but included Blue-moor grass - so seemed basic. I found some Dicranum and thought it was D scoparium (likes acid places) .. and then later realised was Dicranum bonjeani, not scoparium.

At the Pennine Way gate through the wall the mosses looked different and the ground was wet.. but they all turned out to be dry limestone wall mosses, just recently flooded..

Amongst the hummocks there  was Fissidens at last - dubius and bryoides -  and Ditrichum gacile, and Mnium marginatum 

It was windy and cold.

Total Score is now 42: Huh that is still level 2. Needs to be 44 for level 3.  But that means on the next walk I shall definitely gain level 3.

Tetrad SD86 2:

Fri 25 March
After attending the good Friday Passion Play in Settle, and sittings inside sending pictures to the Craven Herald, Methodist Recorder, West Yorkshre Ecumenical Council etc
I drove up to SD 86 tetrad z again.

And looked on the verge at Stangill Barn, and Stangill Barn plantation (tiny patch of trees - mostly planted since the snow of 1979 when the sheep and rabbits ring-barked the old ones).
Ah new habitats:- Nettles on the verge. - revealed Ciriphyllum piliferum 
Wall shaded under trees: - one patch of Anomodon viticulosus
Wall of Barn:  Tortula muralis

Well I've scraped up to 27 species. Now in Band 2 (out of 9)

Tetrad SD86 1: - Recording Wharfedale Mosses: 1

23 March

These next few posts about a Tetrad (2x2 km square) in Hectad (10x10km square) 86 are put up as a self indulgent reminder of what I did on these days.. whilst surveying for Bryophytes (mosses) -- - and probably only of interest to others who do such obscure/esoteric activities.

Dear X,

It was good meeting you at the Yorkshire Naturalists Union Conference at York Last week. I was pleased to see your maps of  Wharfedale showing the distributions of all the bryophytes you have so far recorded on a tetrad (2by2m) basis.

Thank you for sending me the map showing how many bryophytes have been recorded in each tetrad.
I see that the scoring system is:
1 1 - 21
2 22 - 42
3 43 - 63
4 64 - 84
5 85 - 105
6 106 - 126
7 127 - 147
8 148 - 168
9 169 - 191

I have chosen to study tetrad SD8868
That's the top right tetrad in the hectad SD 86.
I fact I shall start with the 1km square SD 8868. It is  at the water divide between Airedale and Wharfedale, It is on the road making life easy for me  1km north of  Waterhouses and Malham Tarn Field Centre.

So  I took my car up on 23 March morning and did the tourist exercise of
staying within 100m of the car.. for an hour or two

It  was  fascinating  working  out  where  the true "water divide" is
between Airedale and Wharfedale.

"I'll find 22 species -no problem" I thought "and get up to level 2...
maybe even over 42 and get to level 3?"


The  habitat  is  grassland -acres - (with 2 species of bryophyte)
and one limestone wall.  There was a big difference in lichens on the north and south side of the wall.

and - big treat - at the end of my morning: 1 sycamore tree.

Well,  I may have come  home  with over 22 specimens.. but could only write 18
names on the card.. Well that is level 1. Hey Ho.

I have a BIG pile envelopes labelled Schistidium, Ulota
and Orthotrichum and Didymodon...

I also made a list of 22 Lichens that I could name.

I  met  Robert  Harrison, the farmer at Malham Tarn who I had not seen for several years. He pointed to his sheep - He now has "Clins" he said - not  horned sheep. I looked it up on the internet.. spelled "Lleyns" - so I have learned a new breed. They have white faces and no horns, and crucially, they don't jump over walls as do horned sheep such as Swaledales and Dalesbred

We heard some curlew.

But no Lapwings.
We used to hear hundreds 30 years ago here.
 "The Lapwings have gone" he said.

Well  I'll  go  up  another  day  and  venture  a  bit further over the
grassland.. when it is a bit warmer..


Thursday, 31 March 2016

Caloplaca flavescens

Learn your Lichens 9

Learn your Lichens Series
1. Arthonia radiata
6. Lecanora gangaleoides
7. Physcia tenella
9. Caloplaca flavescens

Caloplaca means beautiful patches

flavescens means becoming yellow, or yellowish

I think of this lichen as "Common orange pleated limestone lichen"

The edge of the thallus is pleated or placodioid.

It grows on lots of limestone walls around Settle.

Here it is growing at the porch entrance to Horton in Ribblesdale Church

Can you see it here? The bright orange one.
Remember to come to the Beginners Lichens workshop on 2nd April, 10am at Horton churchyard.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Lepraria incana - Dust Lichen

 Learn your Lichens 8

Learn your Lichens Series
1. Arthonia radiata
6. Lecanora gangaleoides
7. Physcia tenella
8. Lepraria incana

The word "Dust" is useful for describing the genus Lepraria. The lichens have no structure and a closer close up reveals... Dust.
Well, fluffy granules.

Leparia means "Scurvy"
incana means "White, hoary"

Our Townhead area of Settle gave yet another lichen to this website series.. On Wednesday Ilona Warham said "Come and see this lichen - it grows in deep shade in crevices in our garden wall - yet it can look ever so bright"

It can sometimes be seen in the distance growing in big very pale blue green -white patches patches on the shady side on mossy tree trunks...  I need to find some pics near Settle..

I took a photo of the  south west facing wall at the edge of their garden. It was built into the hillside 30 or 40 years ago - so the lichens must have grown since then. Ignore Arrows 3, and 4 - Concentrate on the ledge just below arrow 1

The Lepraria incana has been increasing on this wall over the past few years, I was told. 

The Lepraria is bluish greyish green and is growing on the moss and in the crevices

Arrow 2 points to this crevice

When I put my camera close and used the flash you can see there is lots of Lepraria inside.

Lepraria incana in white under UV light.

It is very tolerant to sulphur dioxide pollution.

I first learnt about Lepraria incana when teaching at Malham Tarn in 1979 . The frame of the old coalhouse door at the Field Centre is made of sandstone, whereas the rest of the wall is Limestone. Oliver Gilbert describes it in his paper in 1963 on Malham Tarn House.

The pale powdery Lepraria grows on the sandstone, whereas the bright orange alga Trentepohlia grows on the limestone -- but there is overlap. Click on the article from the paper about Malham Tarn House - Its architecture and lichens by Raistrick and Gilbert in 1963

The wall faces north so is shaded all day, and it is the coal house so the wall is not heated by the building.

We are looking at the wall near the coalhouse in this picture here - the coal house is just off to the right, but you can see a white patch on the gatepost  wall which is Lepraria. (I think - need to go up and double check) - Then I'll photo the "coal house door" too. It looks fairly similar, thoough the wall was drastically repaired/repointed/plants removed 10-20 years ago.

Other plants with the name incana:

Alnus incana - grey alder
Matthiola incana - Hoary stock
Draba incana - Hoary Whitlowgrass or Twisted Whitlowgrass - a rare white crucifer that is found in our area (limestone/mountains)