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

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