Saturday 30 October 2021

CaminotoCOP pilgrimage Newton - Bentham 6 Oct - Glasgow 3O Oct

I joined the Camino to COP pilgrims as they walked the 16 miles from Newton in Bowland over the moor of the Forest of Bowland to High Bentham. This day the central part of their route - indeed they were less than 10 miles from the centre of gravity of Britain.

We had splendid weather and views.

We had a tight schedule as the BBC had arranged to interview some of the key walkers when we came to The Great Stone of Four Stones at Bentham at 4pm and they came back with us to the Methodist Church at Bentham where the pilgrims were staying over night

I am told the pilgrims will feature on Sunday Live on BBC1 on 31 October

The first mile

The pilgrims had a coat and at each stage new squares were added to it created by people of that area.  New pilgrims were encouraged to wear it for sections of the journey and they had a special song to sing.

 Lower down I will link to the video of my wearing it and Tim Fox of Bentham wearing it.

I have written more about the day on Green Christian's website  

At Croasdale Farm we had an excellent introduction to farming in the Forest of Bowland by farmer  Malcolm Handley and an opportunity ask questions - managing the land to retain carbon, to have some biodiversity. He has schools and apprentices to visit and do tasks. - 

At the summit, at lunch one pilgrim gave a powerful rendition of the song St Patrick's Breastplate (Christ be with me..)

Some biodiversity en route

Caterpillar -- yet to be named

Meadow waxcaps and other waxcaps


The Great Stone of Four Stones

Looking down from the Great Stone

The light was fading as we reached Bentham two miles beyond.. a welcome supper had been prepared for the pilgrims at the Methodist Church by people from the Anglican Church and others... And the pilgrims could look forward to sleeping on a floor with underfloor heating!

SD86 - 28 - SD8268 - Stainforth How Beck - Lichens

Please Come back in two days when I have added pictures.

Day 1: How Beck 

Monad SD8268 does not look too prepossessing or exciting - At first sight is has NO trees - though careful searching does eventually reveal three small patches of trees. 
There are no buildings - not a single barn which might support old mortar! Much of the land is covered with rush pasture or unimproved pasture

I plan to follow How Beck.  This cuts through Silurian and Ordovician  siliceous rock  (like you find in the Lake district and North Wales) - So it might reveal some good lichens. 

How Beck is not a famous stream. 

It is only 1 km 1ong

But it ascends 125 m or 410 ft in that 1 km 
 - almost 1/5 height of Penyghent. or  
1 1/2 times the height of Malham Cove
or 1/4 of the height difference between the river and the summit of Penyghent

- in fact c 120m /400ft within the central 1/2 km.

The lowest 200m of the stream is  buried under the main road and railway and flat last field as it exits into the Ribble at 202m

I discover the path beside it is part of the Ribble Way

I discover the path beside it is also part of the A Pennine Journey trail

Well Well. Perhaps someone will do a search for one of these Long distance Paths and end up on this post .. if so - Welcome

Welcome - enjoy learning a little about the lichens

The Ribble Way makes a detour at Stainforth and leaves the Ribble and follows the How Beck up to Moorhead Lane at 347 m, and then turns left along the Moorhead Lane down and to Helwith Bridge and the Ribble again.

The original path continues up the ridge between the valleys on either side on what is essentially the south west spur of Penyghentm right to the summit of Penyghent 
5km away:

And the A Pennine Journey follows a track parallel to this path till the paths join up and follow the flat and mostly peaty ridge all the way up to the summit of Penyghent 

To the east is Silverdale which after Dalehead becomes Penyghent Gill (The valley pass between Stainforth and Halton Gill at the top of Littondale which joins Wharfedale.) To the west is the main Ribble Valley.

As the stream makes its steep descent it cuts through Silurian and Ordovician rocks. These are siliceous rocks - as found in the Lake District and Wales - and they can support different lichens to millstone grit and sandstone - the main other types of acid rock round here.

I had discovered good lichens on the rocks on the lower part of this beck earlier - in SD8167 (and the top corner of SD 8267 looks as though it has potential) with Dog lichen in the  shallow turf- Peltigera hymenina .   On the vertical faces of rocks near the stream were Varicellaria lactea and Lecanora rupicola and Xanthoparmelia conspersa

I walk up through the two and a half fields from Stainforth - up and up, over the Anglian lynchets (ridges)

The first day (15 Oct) I look at two very small areas: 

Area 1 : The 20 square m or  on the rocks beside the stream

Area 2:  200m further up the patch in the 3 sq m of wall at the stile -

In area 1   I play my tin whistle beside the stream and take photos of the valley below - right as far as Pendle Hill in the distance.

I notice a hiker with a huge rucksack climbing the footpath. the Ribble Way - I never catch him but I do proceed to Area 2 - the dry stone wall which has a mixture of rocks

 The two areas together reveal 34 different species of lichen.

"This will give me an orange dot to put on my map." I calculate. (over 19 is yellow, over 29, orange, over 41 brown over 56 red) "But if I can record another 7 species, that will get it up to 41, and I can change it to an brown dot"

All the species I have found are typical of acid rock, with half a dozen extra that are growing on some limestone in the wall.

Over the wall in the distance I can see a dozen or rather scrappy willow trees, growing amongst the newly planted tree guarded saplings. "Ah they are sure to have the common pollution tolerant lichens that grow on nearly every tree. I will come back and record them another time."


Day 2:

Thursday 21 Oct is another sunny day. - How Beck and How Beck Plantation

I set off rather late - after 3pm, and tack my way up the steep field with its lynchets, picking up waxcaps as I stagger up.

Revisiting the stream edge,  I find a two new lichens - but I do not know their names. Huh .What use is that!! Plus a Collema (Black Jelly Lichen) that I put in a bag.

So up to the field with the trees. Here I find the five lichens I was expecting plus a couple of sprigs of Ramalina fastigiata.   the Physcia tenella has a pink lichenicolous fungus on it which turns out to be Ilosporiensis christianensis

In 15 years time when all the young saplings in this field have grown there will be several more lichens.

In the evening I look at the Collema - I have to key it out.

It is Collema flaccidum - Whey! - I took a video of that at Kirkstone Pass last month. A new record for the Hectad. I hope.

I enter the lichens on my spreadsheet. 41 species total. Yes. I can mark that monad as brown, not orange. It is now the fourth most diverse monad out of the 28 monads I have so far attempted.  Not bad for 2 and a half visits.

But the number of habitats left to explore is low.

there is more stream running through the marshy plantation. There are another lm or 2 of wall. But there are no more big trees, no limestone bedrock, no buildings with mortar. Just lots of grass and rushes. 


Friday evening 22nd. 

I get out the specimens I had brought back and copydexed some onto card and worked out what three more are.

Now at 44 species it is the third equal most highly scoring monad out of the 28 monads I have recorded.

Wed 26th

I show photos of some of my unknown species to the BLS "Lichen Chat and Improvement Group" - with abject apologies that there is no scale on the photo nor K or C test.

It is suggested that this one growing on siliceous rock right next to the stream (which I had though looked like a Dermatocarpon) might be Dermatocarpon  meiophyllizum . 

I look at the distribution map and see it has been recorded in the stream below the Norber erratics i.e. similar rock and height.

No luck with suggestions for the other species.


Day 3: Thursday 28th Oct: Goat Lane

I have been indoors a few days, I need some fresh air.. even if the thick grey clouds make everywhere look very dark at even So on Thursday morning I drive through Stainforth and up the road (towards Halton Gill) labelled Goat Lane on the OS map, half a mile until I am just inside SD8268 - this time at the SE corner of the monad.

Trees!. Several mature Beech, over the wall to the south plus  a couple of hawthorn, ash, sycamore and elder beside the road to the north..

I look at the trees/bushes to the norht. I can now add Ramalina farinosa and Phlyctis argena to my list. Surely this Hawthorn tree can produce a Ramalina fraxinea - It is exposed and high up in a similar place to where I have seenothers. No.

The wall is an excellent habitat to study. If I bend down I can shelter from the wind.

The wall is old and the slate fragmenting - I can take specimens simply by putting my fingernail in the slate.

I put my head up above the parapet/ wall - whoo it is still windy. I bend down again and add more common lichens of acid walls to my list - Cladonia pyxidata, Ochrolechia parella (I think) 

I find a small place  where mortar (old fashioned mortar" has been put into the wall ) "Yes" - Verrucaria muralis - I take a photo, retreat to the Car and descend to civilisation. and shelter from the wind


Five new species. That brings my total to 50! - and is the second highest Total (My winning total is 62 from Huntworth Common)

I need to get another 6 species for my dot to turn red at 56. Well that is  not impossible!


Day 4: Fri 29 Oct. Goat Lane Waterfall

I really must sort the specimens I brought back yesterday.

But by 3.30pm I see bright sunlight between the showers.. perhaps goat Lane will be brighter today and reveal more species - O set off at 4pm (far too late..) and drive up Goat Lane, to the same parking place.

I have noticed it says "waterfall" on the map - at the line between SD8268 and SD8267. So I walk up to the boundary and look at the wall and stream at and just north of the waterfall. 

This is at the same height - 300m - as my How Beck site. This stream does not have a name on the map. Let's call it Goat Lane Waterfall stream now. Later I look across the pasture and note the old deep tracks and ditches and holloways winding their way up the hill - The past efforts to make a road up such a steep hill - before the current road was eventually walled and then tarmacked. People could not just nip up in their car. 

Day 5: Goat Lane on foot - Thur 4 November

I am lacking exercise and it is a pleasant afternoon so I go for a walk /jog (oh my knees) stroll to Goat Lane - It is just over 3km there and 3 km back - total >6km of 4 miles.

but I don't have a camera. The sun is getting very low and the wall is perpendicular to the sun so neither side gets sunlight. I discover that the tiny bit of mortar I had seen in the wall on my last trip was not mortar, but concrete, and it did not have any Verrucaria muralis in it. at all. I picked up a possible different Cladonia. I took a sample of a lichen form the bark of a sycamore (?) tree in the north side of the road.

Day 6: Sun 6 November - Mature trees - adjacent and south of Goat Lane 

It is not windy or rainy - just mildly sunny and mildly damp. I will drive up to Goat Lane again.

I go through the gate into the field south/down from the road whihc have half a dozen mature beech trees and 1 mature ash (dying) and 1 mature lime.

My excurssion into the field is rewarded:

Ramalina fastigiata (1 peice) - on Ash

Candelaria concolor one piece on Ash

Lecanora expallens - on Beech - I think I had also brought that back from rock from the wall below it last time.

the beech trunks have a lot on them - Ramalina farinacea, Hypotrachyna afrorevoluta L expallens, Parmela saxatilis, a little Arthonia radiata.

There was an interesting fungus in the soil but coming from the Beech root


Sunday 10 October 2021

YNU Zoom Chat Meetings

The Autumn Season the YNU Zoom Chat meetings

I am looking for 9 people to make short presentations (3min - 15 min  ) in the next three meetings.

I cannot be here on Fri 28 Oct so that meeting will not take place.
Maybe in future we could coordinate having a co-host?

I would be interested to hear of whether people prefer to have the meeting on 1st Friday of the month or a different Friday. Which date do you prefer? We changed from the 1st Friday to the 4 th  Friday partly because the YNU main Zoom presentations had changed to near the beginning of the month. However the 1st Friday is easier for me.

I would be very pleased to hear from others who are interested in taking part. So far I have only heard from One Person. Thanks R.C.


We still have not decided on the date for the next  YNU Chat meeting:

when we do have a date the link is likely to be:-

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 -  

IF time, There will also be chance for people to show pictures of animals or plants or fungi you have seen over the year seen over the year. However the discussion is expected to take up most of the time this meeting.

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 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 next Speaker meeting is

 Record of past 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.

The Twelfth   YNU Zoom Chat Meeting took place on Friday 5 November. 
Royanne Wilding gave a talk on tiny animals found on Mosses.
Falgunee Sakar (Fal) gave a summary of the talk she is going to give for the BSBI (England) AGM conference on working with Blind people to share identifying plants. 

The thirteenth YNU Zoom Chat Meeting took place on Friday 3 December. 

There were two short set talks:
Joyce and Paul Simmons: "Fungi in an Alms Houses lawn-that-is-over-160-years-old"
Falgunee Sakar (Fal) "Tussock grass in South Georgia"

The fourteenth YNU Zoom Chat Meeting took place on Friday 7 January.
This was a general chat meeting - we discussed topics from recording to Lepidoptera to Culm grassland.

THe fiftheenth YNU Zoom Chat Meeting  took place on Friday 4 Feb 2022: 7.30pm: 

The main feature of this evening was  a 
Discussion on Recording in Yorkshire to be led by Alastair Fitter. 

This was a special Zoom Chat Meeting we concentrated our Discussion on one Topic:- Recording in Yorkshire. 

Alastair  Fitter will introduce the topic:-

Conservation and Natural History in Yorkshire

The then Yorkshire Naturalists’ Trust was founded in 1946 and is now renamed The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Many of the founders were well-known naturalists, people such as Clifford Smith, Douglas Hincks, Wentworth Ping and EW Taylor. Others such as Joan Duncan and Joyce Payne were also very active YNT members. Is that still true today? Or are the naturalist and conservationist communities travelling somewhat parallel paths?   In truth, we are a single community with a common interest, in ensuring that the nature of Yorkshire is as rich as possible.

Conservation depends on naturalists to discover what is where. I have been surprised to discover how patchy is the information that YWT holds on its reserves. Some are very well documented (Spurn, Potteric, Brockadale, Askham etc), but others seem to be little studied. There also seem not to be well-established channels to ensure that records flow to (and from) YWT. Without those records, management of reserves may be ill-founded, undermining plans to ensure that Yorkshire becomes nature-rich.

I want to explore ways in which YNU members can help to ensure that the natural history of YWT (and other) nature reserves in Yorkshire is better understood. I think that will bring obvious mutual benefits – some pastures new for the recorders and some valuable information for conservation.

ccg south house 20120530 Sedum villosum by judith allinson   Craven Conservation Group recording at South House Pavement on Ingleborough   Craven conservation Group recording Potentilla cranzii at South House Pavement on by 20120530 by Judith Allinson  

The 16 Zoom Chat meeting held on 4th March was a conversation between a small number of people who came. The next meeting (1 April) will be the last meeting this spring. We will stop for a summer break, and consider restarting in Autumn.  Enjoy the summer, and the Summer Field Meetings

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  

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