Wednesday 26 April 2017

Pictures of Baildon Eco-Walk 11 April

 We have less than a hour to explore on our eco-walk before our discussion session and tour of the church eco-features - but what a lot we see  (and hear and smell)
 "Do you have eyes to see but fail to see? Mark 8.v18"

Green Christian  Eco-Walk
 at Baildon Methodist Church

How many people notice the wild violets in the church lawn?
How many people notice the 40 planted fruit trees just starting to bloom?
But in the bottom left corner, in the weed patch below the wall, what delights me most are the shapes of the six to eight different tiny  (weed) flowers - beautiful.

Baildon Methodist Church is in the upper part of the village. This is the oldest part of the village. 

There used to be coal mines on Baildon moor - The last pit on Baildon moor, the Lobley Gate pit, closed in 1863. By the late 18th century the manufacture of textiles, in particular worsted cloth had become a major industry in the village. In the early 19th century there was a demand for stone but by 1850 Baildon Bank Stone quarry had closed. Some history here
There is a walkway along the top of the ridge- or "The Bank" as it is known. Looking down you see the houses way below of "Mid" Baildon and "Lower Baildon" and beyond that, houses of Shipley and then houses of Bradford - but you don't see the big amount of land that is the slope itself - it's like you don't see how long a pencil is if you look directly down on the rubber.  So from this railing you don't see much below

It is a south facing slope and the path wall at the top (not seen in photo) feels like a Mediterranean footpath - with the "not too common in the north of England" Black Speenwort fern.. see distribution map
Black spleenwort

and a plant (I had to look it up) - Creeping Snapdragon from the Pyrenees (- planted I suspect)

Creeping Snapdragon - Asarina procumbens

 But once we descend the steps, look how much space there is on "The Bank" itself!  Here John is pointing across to Bradford. 
We can see richer areas and poorer areas. In the far distance we can see Bradford's biggest mill (Now flats)

 Further along the path are big cliffs - remains of a Quarry - but appreciated and used by climbers.

We hear the Jackdaws - "Jac Jac Jac" -    
and here is a more silent blackbird, guarding its worm

I am keen to let people see details of plants using a hand lens. "Heather leaves are 1mm long and have a white line on the back." I say.

The tree leaves are coming out as we watch. Here is a birch catkin

What type of bee is this? It does have a white tip to the tail.  I think it is a Tree Bumble Bee- (which was first seen in this country in 2001) and likes flat open flowers. On the other hand it might just be a Carder Bee - These have a long tongue that is capable of getting sugar from much longer, narrower flowers (such as the snapdragon above).

We have a good view down to Baildon Old Hall where two of us have occasionally attended Bradford Speakers Club Meetings.  It is a typical example of a 16C Manor House, built by Robert Baildon in 1553, on the site of a previous Mediaeval Manor House, part of which still remain in the South Wing which dates back to the 13C. Robert was a descendant of the Baildon family who had been connected with Baildon since the 1100s.)

 We return up to the top part of Baildon. 
You can see the solar panels of the church.

John has told us much about the history of Baildon - there is not space to fit it in here.

 And we join others for a welcome cup of coffee and order our lunch at Wesley's Cafe.

Click here to see our tour of the church to look at eco features
and their plan to build a "Passivhaus" in 2020

Friday 14 April 2017

16th April - Sycamore buds will burst

I always say that the leaves on the trees in Settle will start to come out on 16th April.. well the sycamores anyway (The ash are much later).
However it will be the 15th today.. and by 14th some trees had VERY VERY swollen buds.
The hawthorn leaves have been out a while.

Still we have had mild weather for nearly all the past 4 weeks; The Meadow Foxtail flowers were coming out in Settle Churchyard today.

See what I wrote two years ago.

Settle Passion Play 2017

Below are pictures and videos of Settle Passion Play 2017. 
(You can see pictures of the 2018 play here)

Fri 14 April 2017 10.30-12.  

The threat of rain did not deter crowds coming to see Settle Passion Play. The cloudburst at 10.30am fizzled away by the Garden of Gethsemane Scene (below) and finally a patch of blue sky came at midday at the Crucifixion scene in the church garden of Settle Anglican  Parish Church

Here is the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane  (AKA The Millennium Gardens, Booths Car Park Settle)  where Jesus (right) is praying and the disciples fall asleep.

But the story is not all romantic looking like the above. It is a cruel story. You cannot be squeamish about Good Friday
The Bishop of Our Diocese (Bishop Nick) was on "Thought for the day" on Radio 4 this morning"
He said:
Good Friday is not for the squeamish – however over-familiar we might be with its story of suffering. Yet, the world is not for the squeamish either. According to the Institute for Strategic Studies nearly half a million people have died in conflict in the last couple of years. Add to them the fact that the world now has nearly 22 million refugees – half of them under eighteen – and you can see the problem.... I have just spent a week with bishops from places like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Sudan whose stories sometimes are hard to hear.

Jesus was played by 21 year old Joe Dillon of Hellifield seen here at the beginning washing the disciples' feet.

The producer and director was Michael Cullingworth of Settle - who also played Pilate again.

This is the 10th year Churches Together in Settle have produced the Passion Play  play "Journey to the Cross", and each year  new items have been added.

Here two servants ask the disciple Peter "Are you with Jesus?"  Peter denies it - and then the cock crows.

Pilate looks down to Caiaphas and Jesus

Jesus, Caiaphas and the court look up to Pilate

At the end, after Jesus body has been carried away by the centurion and the crowd quietly is dispersing we are left with the bird-song and the haunting theme of a violin playing "There is a Green hill" and are left to ponder on these things.

Click here for pictures and videos of the 2016 Passion Play   e.g.

On Sunday 16th you are welcome at one of my favourite services of the year - 6.30am "Dawn" service - this year held in Millennium Gardens, near Booths, .. followed by breakfast at the Quaker Meeting House.

We have MESSY CHURCH on Sunday 16th  too -- DO come to St John's - Families and individuals of all ages and all denominations or none welcome .. A special Easter Celebration - That the Love of God goes on and is for all.  3.30pm-5.30pm. Includes hot meal.

Sunday 9 April 2017

YNU York Conference 2017 - on Natural History Societies

  Twitter Hashtag:  #ynuconf

Just over 100 people found their way to the Hendrix Building on the Heslington West Campus on 8 April 2017. Sharon, Peter and I had set off early to reach the building by 8am, ready to set up our stalls

Topic of YNU Conference 2017:
Yorkshire’s Natural History Societies – for naturalists, for nature, for the future
Here is the Craven Conservation Group Stall

It is next to the entrance; Here Colin and Paula (left) visit the stall

Caddis Recording Stall - with extra publicity for the Field Studies Council courses

Now you can see the size of the main hall:  Phillip Whelpdale from the YWT describes results of data analysis

See the programme

We had two talks- by Roger Morris (A hoverfly expert)  and Roger Key. Both explained how society had changed over the past 150 years, and how outreach needed to change. Many societies had started 150 years ago when people lived in small towns, and the easiest way to exchange ideas (often the only way)  was to meet in the towns. Now people could "meet online".  
Roger  Morris
Roger Key

Derek Whiteley gave a talk on the lively activities of Sorby Natural History Society. (which incudes the city of Sheffield).  (See a picture of him at the YNU VC 64 event at Colt Park last year) He explained how their society (an amalgamation of three other societies over 100 years ago) had adopted a rectangular area to cover: Sorbyshire - which includes parts of Derbyshire, Notts, Staffs and Yorkshire - and includes part of Yorkshire's third National Park: the Peak District.

They flag ship events  - the annual Amateur Symposium ("Amateur = for the love of it", "Symposium = Drinking Festival") and the 18 mile Mountain Hare walk.

He and his wife used to run events for children - which was good for the children, but had not helped the society itself. Now they run family events. They run training days - which are popular with students.  I liked one of his quotes: "Nothing like a blank square to get you up in the morning"

Wendy English,

of Whitby Naturalists’ Club talked about "Communicating with members and beyond".. Whitby club sounds more the scale of Craven Conservation Group - a small town with a big hinterland.  They have a closed Facebook group with 27 members where they post local sightings which they find useful. They have a twitter account: @WhitbyNats

She told us about @projectsplatter - you can tweet to them if you come across roadkill - run over badgers etc - or email them direct = They are based at Cardiff University.

We broke into groups of about 12 and discussed in the groups how we could get more younger people to join. 

I think this was a good idea. Maybe not all the groups worked but some did. Possibly 12 is quite a big size, when you don't know most of the people, and the group just meets for a short time. I am glad I took a photo to remind myself who was in my group.  John Bowers was the chair of our group.
 One man Malcolme Birtle (Cleveland Nats) said he had worked for Universities and in IT and seen lots of different organisations use different technologies to try and recruit new younger members .. but that the only method which seemed to work throughout was personal contact.
"Hm" I thought - "So that whilst it is good for our brains and our egos to be involved in modern communications - I can go back to the 90 members of CCG and tell them that WE ALL COUNT, we can all contribute to getting new members - whether we are "Online" or not."

Maybe it's just that we ALL ought to put more effort into encouraging much younger people.

Jim Pewtress told us that he mentors people about Spiders . He recommended "Wild Guides". Later we learned that a "WildGuide" to spiders is due out shortly (Geoff Oxford is one of the co-authors)  but if you apply before the end of April, you can get it at a prepublication discount- go to the British Arachnalogical Society Website - for £16 plus P&P instead of £25

Our group brilliantly broke up two minutes early so we trotted to the front of the lunch queue - Thanks John.

Over and after lunch we had time to look at the many stalls.

But it will take me a while to put up pictures of them.. and to write up the afternoon's session.

Tonight (10 April) I go to Craven Speakers Club at Skipton. (At Speakers Clubs we learn to improve speaking skills  and they are really good fun. I recommend them); Tomorrow I am leading a green morning at Baildon Methodist Church (for anyone interested)

Tomorrow afternoon I attend Baildon Speakers Club.

After that I will get down to finishing the write up of the YNU day.


Wednesday 5 April 2017

Exploring Baildon Ready for Eco-Walk

Sloe beside church
On  Tue 11 April I am leading an

 Eco-walk & Meetup-Morning - Baildon Methodist Church

followed by a tour of Green Features of Baildon Methodist Church,
followed by LUNCH
followed by the separate option of staying on to Baildon Speakers Club to see how people gain tips, tricks, techniques and practice to become more confident and effective speakers (Everyone could benefit from this)

Here are some of the photos I took yesterday (4 April) when I went for an  hour's "recce"

The same  sign, seen from below the apple tree

There are a few wild flowers in the church garden below the apple tree - aka-weeds - Here is Common Dog-violet

Here is Ivy-leaved Speedwell

Next to the west porch is a cotoneaster bush with jolly berries.
Apparently the birds only east these if they are REALLY desperate-They are not juicy.

I set off on a walk, up towards Baildon Moor.

Looking downhill from Green Lane, Baildon

Baildon Hill
See Bradford spread out behind.
Summit 282m = 925ft  and the River Aire below - 60m  196ft

 If I walked diagonally forward to my right for five miles I would be on Ilkley Moor.

Oh, Hello -- a new friend!

In returning via the golf course, and Baildon Moor I found a bilberry bush.. and the flowers were just appearing - Early! - I did not expect to see them fully out till June.

April Bilberry flower!
Interesting that this part of Yorkshire (classified as Leeds)
chose Bilberry as their favourite flower in a survey by Plantlife

As I returned to the centre of Baildon, before going down the hill to Shipley to catch the train -- I saw the banner saying Baildon will be welcoming the Tour de Yorkshire - I looked at the map and see it only goes to the lower part of Baildon by the river Aire, not the high part I have been on.

I am looking forward to meeting the group next Tuesday. If I have time I'll put up some more pictures
 another day

Monday 3 April 2017

Easy fun holidays to gain naturalists' skills

Have you ever passed Malham Tarn Field Centre and wondered what goes on? 

Have you a secret desire to become a better naturalist - whether its learning how to identify the flowers you see on your walks, or the fascinating creatures that live in streams, which help scientists determine pollution levels? 

Would you like to become an expert in identifying:
Flowers, Sedges, Grasses, Bees, Adult Caddisflies, Stoneflies and Mayflies,  Marine Mammals, Bees, Seaweeds, Fungi, Mosses....

What a choice!!

Have you heard of the Field Studies Council? 
It is a group of 17 Field Centres, 14 of which are residential like Malham, scattered though England Wales, Scotland and N Ireland. 
They run courses for naturalists and geographers and holiday-makers and families. 

Well this weekend 31 March -2 April there were two courses:

The was a First Aid Course and Risk Assessment Course for nine FSC visiting Tutors. I attended this.

THe second was an OU Environmental Science course - on Hydrology and Meteorology in the Field  I went in one evening to see what they were doing.  They were working out how water was flowing across the Peat Bog - and used Pigotts's Paper to help them. Donald and Margaret Pigott had carried out research on Pollen Analysis and made sections through the Peat Bog.

As a resut of our chat, the adult students discovered you can do all sorts of different courses at Field Centres, from a day to a week long, some of which help people to become much better at identifying different groups of organisms.

And some of the students on the  OU course wished they could become better at identifying the plants and animals they were finding.

As an example of what goes on in different centres, I now list the courses that we (the First Aid Students) would be teaching later in the year:

Judith teaches a long weekend course on Limestone Flowers at Malham and later one on Sedge Identification.
She is running a weekend on Identifying Grasses using Vegetative Features to be held at Juniper Hall (near Box Hill, near Dorking) the last weekend of April. And you can spend a whole week at Kindrogan Field Centre near Pitlochry in July  with her on a Grasses Course. “We see lots of wild flowers too and lots of beautiful scenery” she says…

Also on the course were Peter and Sharon Flint who run two courses at Malham: one on Identifying Adult Caddis, Stoneflies and Mayflies, and one on Freshwater Invertebrates.

And Julia Pigott and Martin Hoggard who run a course on bee keeping at Flatford Mill Field Centre

And June Chatfield who is running a course on Land Snail Identification at Juniper Hall, one on Beginners Fungi at Margam discovery Centre, South Wales, and others on Mosses, and Beachcombing there too.

Jane Pottas is running a course on Introduction to Seaweeds at Millport in Scotland.

 Dominic McCafferty is running a course on Marine Wildlife (especially Mammals) and using I-Record - at Millport FIeld Centre on the island of Great Cumbrae 36 miles west of Glasgow.

Lent: Week 5: No new food: (Except a one off stack of Veg in week 4) - Success then..

You remember I have been buying NO food for myself to bring into the house for Lent - with the one exception after 3 weeks  when I bought a stack of fresh and frozen vegetables (carrots, potatoes cauliflower frozen spinach), some eggs and some pure Quorn and butter. )

I had a really good week 21-28 March - NO meals out, no trips to the garage for bargains - Just the one trip to buy the vegetables I showed you last week. Two visits to the swimming pool, and the walk up Fountains Fell.

I was rewarded by a 3 lb loss… I had got back into target range - for Slimmers World  (though still another 1 1/2 lb to get to target) and won (joint) slimmer of the month!!

If this were a fairy story it would stop there.


But it isn’t .. and there are still two weeks of Lent left.

So how did week 5 go?

On Wednesday it was my turn to provide the coffee, milk, cakes, hot-cross-buns for Settle Churches Lent meeting and a pint of Milk. Guess what - although I gave all the spare biscuits away, I came home with a packet of 7 hot-cross buns, and two slices of Lesley's cake.
Delicious - and all gone - eaten (by me) within 24 hours.

Friday was a barbecue to celebrate a friend’s new office opening.

Friday night to Sunday lunchtime was a Residential First Aid course and Training Course at Malham Tarn Field Centre - I.e.five “meals out” - where the food is excellent - and just can’t be refused… 

So Hey Ho. Let's see what the score is tomorrow.

It announced on the News that people in the NW of England are the worst couch potatoes in England. - that a lack of exercise is now causing as many deaths as smoking across the world..

It is recommended that adults do 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling or gardening, each week. - Doing less than this is considered inactive!!!

Sunday 2 April 2017

Fountains Fell Lichens and Mosses

 It took 45 minutes to walk the 2 km up from the car at 433 m to the summit of the Pennine Way footpath on Sun 26 March, but only 30 minutes to get back down.  (The true summit is a bit higher: 668 m = 2192 ft) The left shoe is pointing to wards Ingleborough and the right to Pen y Ghent.

Tetraplodon mnioides - growing on a carcass- but only bone is left.

I puzzled over this till I realised it was Hypogymnia physodes growing on heather

Hypogymnia physodes

Micaria lignaria  growing on
an old piece of projecting peat.
I had to be back at Settle - Anley - by 2.30. I left the summit at 1.30 and walked  /jog-walked down with three Pennine Way Walkers to the road, and made it to Anley including changing to best clothes.

Globe-Flower Wood 2 April

Poppy Wood or Globe-Flower Wood is triangle of wood that is situated where the road from Settle divides and you go left for Arncliffe and right to Malham.

Grass and crops do not grow between October and April because the temperature is too cold - It needs to be above 6 degrees.

But at the beginning of April there are signs of life.

There are no flowers in bloom in the reserve,  but on the verge just outside there are a few Colts-foot heads. When you look close you can see they are made up of tiny five petalled flowers.

Someone had left three sandbags on the verge. Had they dropped off a lorry? It was two Sundays that we had torrential rain, and they may have been needed somewhere then.

I looked at the Lichens on the wall
There is more obvious lichen cover on the west side than on the south facing wall.

Solonspora candicans
The thallus is very VERY white and thick and placodioid at the edge. It has back discs in the apothecia and a white rim.
This orange furry material is an alga, not a lichen. It is Trentepohlia aurea  It looks a bit like a Nationa Geographic fleece.