Sunday, 10 October 2021

YNU Zoom Chat Meetings

YNU ZOOM CHAT MEETINGS take place MONTHLY on the First Friday of Each Month:
(i.e. 1 Oct, 5 Nov and 3 Dec 2021)
(Note there will also be three Long YNU  Zoom Speaker Meetings at dates in between - The next of these is on Thu 14th October with Alastair Fitter on the State of Yorkshire's Nature)

Friday 5th November 2021: 7.30pm: 

This Meeting will also act as a Natural Sciences Forum Meeting.
A) Bring pictures of special Animals/Plants/ Fungi you have seen over summer to share
B) Bring ideas about what you think the YNU should/could be doing
C) Bring stories of what your Local Natural History Society has been doing.
(If you want to guarantee a slot to talk for more than 2 or 3 minutes, it would be good to email me first)

The link for this meeting is:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. (If you register at 7.00pm on the meeting evening you should just get put straight through, )

The meeting includes an opportunity to meet each other from across Yorkshire in small groups (breakout groups)  and to raise other topics

If you would like to give a four to ten minutes talk at a future Chat event (even if you haven't been to a meeting before) - please contact me -  


The YNU holds two types of Zoom meetings:  Speaker Meetings and Chat Meetings:

1. Zoom Speaker Meetings 

Over Autumn and winter The YNU is holding Zoom Speaker Meetings about once a month. The latest one was  by Louise Hill on Lindholme and the Fire on Hatfield Moor 15th April Visit the YNU website where there will shortly be a link so that you can, for a month,  watch this excellent talk.

There will be a break over summer till the next season of Speaker Meetings

2. YNU Zoom Chat Meetings

These include three to four  short (4-5 minute) talks and also the opportunity to meet members from across Yorkshire in small groups (breakout groups)

The first Zoom Chat meeting was held on 26 Feb 2021 :Members attended - from Sheffield to Croft (near Darlington) - from Scarborough to Settle. From Pocklington to Barnsley.  We had talks on Moths, St Kilda, Microscopic Freshwater Life and more. 

The second was held on 12 March 2021: Talks were given on: Freshwater life under the high power microscope (videos); Four Ferns in Four Minutes; The history of the YNU in 10 minutes; and a talk on Wild Orchid Propagation.

The third one on Friday 26 March presented talks on Blowwells and Bryozoa, Gooseberries in hedgerows, Accessing previous editions of the Naturalist online  and hibernating bats.

The fourth one on 9 April included talks on Plant Galls, Fossils (by a 12 year old) Bee-flies and Pillwort in Yorkshire.

 The fifth one was held on 23 April
It included talks on:
  • Sawflies
  • Pasque flower in East Yorkshire and the project on ex-situ propagation
  • Wild Tulips in Yorkshire

  They are open to members of the YNU and members of affiliated societies.  They start at 7.30pm (doors open at 7.15).

Tethredo vespa


Athalia rosea - Turnip Sawfly

The sixth one 7 May featured a talk on

  • Moonwort and Adders-tongue in Yorkshire by by Barry White.
The seventh on 21 May featured:
The Meadow Cranesbill-Weevil - Please all YNU members lookout for it next month (late June- July) and send us your records
Pictures from the YNU Bryological section visit to Scoska Wiid, Littondale on 8 May this year. Yorkshire's Celtic (ish) rainforest!

The eighth meeting on Fri 4 June featured Roy Crossley (A former president of the YNU) on Dolichopodidae - Longlegged Flies in a short talk.

Antennaria dioica
The 9th Zoom chat Meeting was held on Fri 18 June and featured:
Falgunee Sakar (Fal) on 
1. Conservation of Mountain Everlasting Flower in Upper Teesdale
Fal on 
YNU Duncombe Park
2. Worshipping Trees in India
Judith Allinson- 
3. Photos from the YNU Trip to Duncolme Park, Helmsley last week

The tenth YNU Zoom Chat Meeting was held on 2nd July and featured:-
1. The Wild Ingleborough Project by Paul Brady - 
2. Meadow Cranesbill Weevil part 2. by Robert Hall

Paul Brady has recently started (along with 3 colleagues) working on the Wild Ingleborough Project based out of Selside and says: "The project aims to have a continuous piece of land (over 1000ha) from the River Ribble up to the summit that is enhanced for wildlife, increasing biodiversity, improving soil, air and water quality.  We hope to connect people to this landscape, improve access and enhance people's understanding of the work we are doing.

More information can be found here - Wild Ingleborough: a vision for the future | Yorkshire Wildlife Trust ( 

The YNU Zoom Chat meetings took place every fortnight in Spring early summer 2021. They had a break over summer

The Eleventh YNU Zoom Chat Meeting took place on Friday 1st October 2021: 7.30pm: 
This Meeting  also acted as a Natural Sciences Forum Meeting.
A) Bring pictures of special Animals/Plants/ Fungi you have seen over summer to share
B) Bring ideas about what you think the YNU should/could be doing
C) Bring stories of what your Local Natural History Society has been doing.


Afraid of using Zoom? 

Some of you might like to have a practice using Zoom before the meeting and to have a go at "Share Screen" and learn what more of the buttons do in Zoom.  I (Judith) am very happy to hold practice sessions first with members who would like to have one. 

Example YNU Zoom Chat Programme  (But half an hour earlier than this on 2 July.)

7.15: "Assemble"  - i.e. 6.45 

7.30: Official start

7.35: Breakout Groups: we will divide into groups according to interest this evening: 1) Birds, 2) Higher Plants,  4) Insects  5) mammals other suggestions? contact me.

7 45: One planned short talk of 4 to 8 min each plus 5 min each for discussion

8:00 Chat and Pictures

8.35: Coffee Break

8.45: Announcements

8.50: More discussion/ Photos by anyone else

9:00: Plan the next event.

9:15: Finish

For more details contact

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Walk and Pray for the Climate: 1 October - Ribblehead Sphagna; Fungi and Drovers Road at Thorns

 This walk features

  • Sphagna
  • Fungi
  • History and Dales Architecture - Drove road, Packhorse bridge, Deserted hamlet of Thorns
  • Prayers for the Climate
  • ..and Cake..

It is a "First day of the month with climate prayers walk" organised by Churches Together in Settle and District jointly with Craven Conservation Group. This is the twelfth walk!!. We started last November

Although starting officially at Ribblehead (and if you wanted to repeat this walk you can get there by train)  ours starts unofficially at Horton in Ribblesdale Macmillan Coffee Morning. Chance to meet others, and stock up with cake for packed lunch.


I drive to Ribblehead.. and find
Sphagnum palustre (green and branches tapering)
 and Sphagnum capillifolium (red)

 (I place the pictures of the other five Sphagna at the end)

Doris arrives (as a train trundles its way across the viaduct to Carlisle)

We assemble  near the "wind turbine/mill" half a mile east of Ribblehead. 

It is very exposed and very windy. Bracing I would say.. within a minute or so the lens gets spotted with raindrops.

But is  only a brief attempt at a shower. The sun stays out.

Father Stephen collects litter

We collect .. Breakfast!  Agaricus sp.

The following are NOT edible 

Cystoderma amianthinum

A species of Stropharia I suggest (Poisonous)

Stropharia seen from below

A brilliant time to cross the packhorse bridge . - Now decorated by red rowan berries and red hawthorn berries

Three days ago the stream would probably have  have been empty

We stay a while in the shelter of the the gorge, sheltered from the wind above.

We cross the drovers road. This was once the main road up the valley. After the heavy rain yesterday, a stream now runs down the "road"

We sit downm sheltered from the wind by a farm wall.

And eat lunch.. Tastes even more delicious here than in the coffee morning.

Once dances were held here.. 

Artistic picture through two "windows"

We set off again up the old road

Father Stephen takes a photo looking back to Thorns

I take a photo from higher up.  There are so many places I recognise in this picture: Straight behind the roof is Ashes Pasture (the orangish bank) where we went for our climate walk in July. If you know the area you will recognise more places.

As we return up towards the Hawes road we see the new farm building near Gearstones - 21st century farm buildings!

Then 1/3 mile back along the road to the wind turbine and our cars. (Yes cars.. If only I could have said one a half miles back to the train..  to have been really green we would have come by train to Ribblehead. Maybe another time.. Still it's only 11 miles to Settle. 

  (For the record this is in the week of the "Panic induced petrol/diesel crisis in the filling stations..")

So the rest of the Sphagna: 

Sphagnum papillosum has stumpier branches than palustre.
(both papillosum and palustre really need checking microscopically)

Heath Lousewort

Sphagnum cuspidatum   Drowned Cat Sphagnum - the pool is rather to deep today to see it well.

Sphagnum fallax

Only 20 percent of Britain's bogs are in good condition - i.e. wet enough for lots of Sphagna to grow, rather than drying out and the peat being blown away or washed away.  The peat in the flat areas here had some reasonable Sphaga (OK, not as good as further west in the Lake District where they get more rain, but still a nice variety.)

Over the road to the south on the banks there are some flushes where water comes out of the ground.

Breutelia chrysocoma, Shagnum subnitens (the red one) and a version of Cows-horn Sphagnum - need to check which one.

More of it

Judith shows one of the cards she sells for the Rainforest Fund-
This card features Ribblehead Viaduct

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Walk and Pray for the Climate - Environment - Creationtide- 1 September 2021 - Settle - Whelpstone Crag

 Churches Together in Settle run a "Walk and Pray for the Climate" on the First Day of the Month. We use material prepared by the website "Pray and Fast for the climate". - They also have some excellent material for use at a vigil for COP26

1st September is also the beginning of Creationtide.

For the sake of context and history:

5 Sept - is "Climate Sunday." We are having a special Service at St John's Church Settle - I with four others are leading that. Then after the service I hope to get on the Settle Carlisle train and go to Glasgow for THE National Climate Sunday Service to be held at Glasgow Cathedral at 4pm the same day!!

Back to our trip to Whelpstone

We pile into two cars at 5pm  and drive  5 miles west from Settle, through Rathmell and up to the end of the road at the foot of Whelpstone Crag at the border with Lancashire. Here we leave the cars (at 303m above sea level) - pleased to have met the farmer on a quad bike as we left the cars.  We walk to the two peaks of the crag at 362m (NE) and 371m. (SW)... So total height climbed = 70m. and total distance there and back 2 miles.

On the first summit  - NE end of the Crag, looking SW to the Trig point (centre) on the main summit
. The geology is gritstone and there is acid grassland. If one carried on in a straight line past the trig point from here we would eventually get to Stocks Reservoir and Slaidburn.

At the trigpoint on the main summit

THis walk was on 1 sept, but I had come up the previous evening to check access etc, and I include a few photos from that evening too.
Some ecological reflections: The land to the north and east is very beautiful and is treeless - as would the land to the south and west before the Sitka spruce plantations were planted round Stocks Reservoir. Yet the natural vegetation - pre sheep and rabbits - would be woodland
I did not see much (any) sign of heather  - maybe an indication of more intensive grazing in the past. A few flatter areas had peaty boggy ground. In one spot I was delighted to find Cranberry leaves.
Acid grassland and Peaty areas are good for storing carbon in the soil, though it only accumulates slowly.

I hear  ravens near the NE peak when we are descending.  
The previous evening at the 2nd gate on the way down I had seen a medium sized flock of lapwings.

View back to the first summit (actually taken the previous evening when I came on a recce) In the distance Penyghent (left) and Fountains Fell (right)
We read the introduction about Creationtide from the Prayer and Fast for the Climate Sheet.

From this same vantage point as above, I turn round and look down to see two cyclists on a trail in Gisburn Forest.

The cycle tracks are much appreciated by many cyclists.

A friend, Clarice Howorth, nee Garnet (now deceased) told me how when she was young all this land was farmland and that there had bee a strong farming community of the separate farms linked to the farms round Rathmell, and roads across.

Now it is forest.

I play a tune on the summit

View of the two peaks of Whelpstone Crag from the Cycle trail (North one on the left, trigpoint one much closer on the right), with Sitka Spruce in the foreground and a hazy Ingleborough in the far background
Same view as above - telephoto

A few of the lichens that I found below the NE summit - the rocks on the right above:

Fuscidea cyathoides - chocolaty brown

Hypogymnia physodes

Any suggestions please: :

And a wildflower at a gateway on the cart track as we leave the moorland and the vegetation  becomes grassland: Gnaphalium uliginosum - Marsh Cudweed 

If you would like to join us on 1 October do email