Saturday 29 January 2022

SD86 - 03a - SD8063 - Giggleswick walk towards Close House

Skip to here at the second half of the post with pictures of us on 1st Feb

This post is in three parts::

1. Geology and rather rambly introduction.

2. My preparatory walks with pictures - the first third of a mile.

3. The actual walk with the people on 1 Feb.

1. Geology and rather rambly introduction

Come with me as I explore the beginning of the route for "The first of the month walk for Feb 2022" which will take place on Tue 1 Feb.

This is a local walk - Meet 2pm at Giggleswick Vicarage BD24 0AP on Tue 1 Feb. I will be co-leading this for Craven Conservation Group and Churches Together in Settle. (And any others interested)

I set off to investigate it twice in this week before the official walk - and by the end of the second visit I have only made to to field number 3, one third of a mile away. This post explains why -

The geology and landforms of the area are fascinating.

Limestone to the north east

Giggleswick vicarage is at the foot of Belle Hell (road), at the foot of  The Mains (road), at the foot of Lord's Wood - All this land is limestone and jagged limestone rocks can be seen above Lord's Wood to the north.

 Glacial Lake

The lower part of Giggleswick is built on, or round the flat land that is the remains of a glacial lake that stretches from the Bridge at Long Preston up through the area know as Long Preston Deeps, up to here. . And on alluvial material left by rivers coming into the lake. Maybe that is why the Giggleswick and Village Playing fields have not been built on. Villages were built on the higher land:  the valley floor, even after the lake had gone, would have been very boggy and liable to flooding. (Note the positions of Rathmell and Long Preston on higher land above the valley). Some drainage may have started in the late 1750s, (The fens were drained in the late 17th century) Much agricultural field drainage with tile pipes took place at the end of the 19th C.( 12 million acres of land was drained between 1840 and 1890)

lkm away to the south east, and in the next 1km square, is Swaw Beck, and what I call Swaw Beck Lane, beside Swaw Beck - obviously straightened and deepened to maintain the drainage in this area.. This very straight, very flat lane, with scattered trees beside the Beck, has a "lowland feel". It is a dead end, as it is now replaced by the By-pass, so there is no traffic on it.. I had fun exploring Swaw Beck road in November 2020 in the same monad:  SD8063 -and I got the lichen score up to 55, my highest for a monad (1km square). Now I am exploring a different habitat in the adjacent  monad, where so far I have only found 27 species, on a walk from near  Giggleswick station to Close House in 2019. Perhaps I can find yet more species. Either way it is good to explore a new path.

South Craven Fault

Some where at the bottom of Belle Hill, Maybe below the vicarage itself, is the South Craven Fault.

Because as we climb the hill on the west side of the valley we find ourselves on gritstone.

This is Brennand (or Grassington) Grit on top of Pendleton Grit -
more on this as  we explore the route.

2. My preparatory walks with pictures - the first third of a mile

What do I see en route?

Our footpath is parallel to the steep road (Craven Bank Lane) that leads up to the chapel, but it is 200m south of it. Leaving the road at SD81036386.

Tuesday 25th afternoon is cloudy. The first 200 metres is a walled track


that leaves Raines Road a little way south of the car park at the corner at the Giggleswick Grammar School, and runs behind Castleberg Hospital. 

That track takes us into SD8063. 

There are lichens on the old mortared wall on the left - White patches with black white rimmed fruiting bodies - possibly Tephromela atra a new species for  SD 8063 

Just before the stile is  a patch of tall grass - hope to come back to this later. It must have rhizomes since it is a patch.
Here is a picture from the stile looking back to this patch. 

The weather on the Tuesday is ethereal.  The hazy weather is good for looking at plants - there is not too much contrast between bright and shady parts. 

Then look what a difference two days make
On Thursday below - the sun keeps coming out

Back to the grass

This is the flower of the grass. 

Whilst the leaves of the grass at first reminded me of Reed Canary-grass, the ligules were not long enough, and also the flower was a spike - more like Couch-grass- but Couch-grass has auricles and this does not have auricles..  It must be Tor-grass or Cha - Brachypodium pinnatum. but that only grows further east in Yorkshire and in the South of England.  But it IS Tor-grass! The plant that causes so much problems in the North Downs as it is a big plant and shades out smaller plants. How did it get here?

Actually I did once find it beside the Settle Carlisle  Railway line in SD8162 in the 1990s  - the same tetrad in fact. BSBI map for distribution of  B pinnatum

Over the stile and we are into the first field. The walls are now made of grit  - Brennand (or Grassington) Grit on top of Pendleton Grit The base of the millstone grit layers - according to the geology map 329-328 million years old.  See formation of millstone grit here 

There are several species of Cladonia or Pixie-cups on the wall top here. I follow the wall round the perimeter of the field looking at lichens till I get to the stile at the top - I take photos of the area - very atmospheric with the low cloud. 

This Cladonia has red fruiting bodies
View from near stile looking across to Lord's Wood

Hypogymnia physodes - the thallus lobes are swollen. the tips of the lobes bend back and have soredia

The field is VERY steep - and it is terraced too  (Anglian lynchets). You cannot see the bedrock here because it is covered by glacial till.

Opegrapha gyrocarpa - Orangy-pinky-brown mosaic lichen on vertical surfaces of acid rock.

"Nuisance Alga" - Klebsormidium crenulatum covers areas of wall (stifling lichen growth here) - an indication of 
 deposition of nitrogen compounds - maybe manure - though this field is so steep I doubt if much manure is applied - or may be an indication that the wall intercepts the mist and forms a base for condensations so that nutrient rich dust or rain is deposited on it.

Klebsormidium is a filamentous alga - almost like velvet.

The field is VERY steep - and it is terraced too  (Anglian lynchets). The grassland has lots of fine-leaved grasses - Common bent and Red Fescue. We came here with Craven Conservation Group in October 2017,  4 1/2 years ago with Archie MacAdam, and found waxcaps on these slopes. Read about it here - it's a good post

 I see a tree further along - but it's in Tuesday it's time to go home.!

Next Attempt: Thursday 27th.

Thursday afternoon is sunny. Parking is tough here on a Thursday afternoon, with the car park full and parking cones laid out on the road to prevent dangerous street parking.  I resort to  parking quite a place quite a distance from the route start. 

 Off up the walled track again, over the first stile and up to the top stile. but first I'll have a look at the oak tree north of the top stile

Oak twigs are easily recognisable in winter
because the brown buds are not opposite
and they are clustered near the tips of the twigs

I was telling a friend that I had read/ heard recently that only a small percentage of British people can actually recognise oak leaves, so I took picture of a leaf lying on the ground. 

We learned songs at school like "The oak and the ash and the bony ivy tree.." and there are many folk song versions of it . but how many people can recognise oak and ash? Can you? I is a simple leaf with a wavy, a lobed edge.

My friend then told me he could recognise and oak leaf because it is the symbol of the National Trust.

I thought for quite a while "Where can I find an oak tree in Settle to show people?"

Do you know of any?

 - It is difficult. 

Oak trees rarely grow on limestone. Most trees on limestone are Ash or Sycamore. There is a tiny oak tree that has just been planted in Giggleswick churchyard - but that is planted.

But now on this slope of boulder clay with underlying gritstone rock it is a good place for oak to grow

Near the base is a Cladonia species

There are two lichens here  - the grey leafy lichen with no powdery soralia or lumpy isidia on the surface.. And one with tiny black dots on a pinkish grey thallus

This crustose lichen has fine yellowish greenish powder on the central part of its surface. It is Lecanora expallens

More tiny  black dots

So back to the stile at the top of the field.

Look, there are different lichens just to the right of the stile. including a black one that looks like Verrucaria nigrescens that normally grows on limestone.  Looking carefully I notice there is mortar that has been used to hold the loose stones together - which is giving a lime rich substrate for the lichen

Verrucaria nigrescens at the top.  Not sure about the other two

This lumpy one needs identifying - then I can add it to my list

Lecanora muralis on the lower steps of the stile. This is the only Lecanora that is lobate at the margin of the thallus

I climb over the stile and look back.. 
through the stile to the lower stile

A runner runs up the hill.  I ask him to take a photo whilst I pose...

I  walk up this field and a tiny fieldlet, a few metres along a walled tack that is next to Giggleswick Chapel and then into what I call the third field.  Just off the grassy footpath is a rocky outcrop. We are now looking south. Beyond the new barn is the flat land just before the bypass.
Both the stile and these rocks are at 170m above sea level - and the start of the path was 140m and the flat land in the distance). 30m is not a huge height is it? - but it feels like I have clmbed a mini mountain.

These rocks have a real mountain feel. Maybe scraped by the glacier 12000-15000 years ago. And they do have a few upland species -even though the surrounding grassland is very very  green and is liberally sprayed with recent manure.  Even though the sheets of pinkish beigish lichen in the foreground turn out to be Lecanora muralis ( a common lichen found on footpaths) - I soon find some (in my view) upland species-

occasional patches of Xanthoparmelia conspersa  and

Parmelia omphalodes  and

a tiny patch of Cladonia furcata
that is more likely to be found on heathland

Can any lichenologist tell me the name of this lichen? - The one in the centre - not the Lecanora muralis on the left or the yellow Candelariella vitelina near the top... 
 Do you think it may be Buellia aethalia?
This picture measures 2 to 3 sm across

The same one - the above picture is about 1cm across

With the light fading.. I decide to return home.

Look forward to seeing you on Tuesday the 1st Feb.!! 2pm the Vicarage BD24 0AP


The Walk takes place:  this section written on/after 1 Feb:

We meet at the vicarage, walk round to Raines Road and sett off up the hill.

Entering the first field (this is now the third picture now of this view!)

The Oak tree at the top of the field

View from the oak tree .. in the wind...

 In the next tiny fieldlet is a Magical Ash tree.

In the walled track at the end of his field, we are next to Giggleswick Chapel Grounds. We are at the highest point of our travel - about 173 m above sea level (the road below was c 143 m).
This walk was also billed as a "Pray about the Climate " walk so we read two excerpts from the sheet prepared by the group PrayandFastfortheclimate website.:

“Time to honour our promises”
COP 26 President Alok Sharma recently delivered a speech on the ambitions for the UK’s COP Presidency. 
Promises agreed at COP26, he says 
“at the moment …
are just words on a page. And unless we honour the promises made, to turn the commitments in the Glasgow Climate Pact into action, they will wither on the vine. We will have mitigated no risks. We will have seized no opportunities. Instead, we will have fractured the trust built between nations. And 1.5 degrees will slip from our grasp. So my absolute focus for the UK Presidency year is delivery.”

Sharma sets our four goals: “to ensure that countries reduce emissions, as promised, and go further, to keep 1.5 alive”; “to progress work on adaptation and loss and damage”; “to deliver finance to support these efforts”; and “to push for further action across critical sectors, such as coal, cars and ending deforestation”.

The immediate costs of inaction
Around the world, governments often defer climate action on the grounds that they don’t want to incur costs for taxpayers now, even if the long-term benefits are clear. Recent events, however, show that inaction can actually lead taxpayers to have higher costs now, as well as later. Carbon Brief has done an analysis of the rising
price of energy for householders in the UK and come to the conclusion that household energy bills are currently £2.5 billion higher than they would have been if a range of green climate policies hadn’t been abandoned over the past decade. Cuts to energy-efficiency subsidies, the scrapping of the zero-carbon homes standard, and policies that reduced onshore wind, they say, have left the UK with inefficient homes that are over-reliant on
gas – so that when wholesale gas prices increase, as they have recently, people are vulnerable. We pray for everyone who’s facing hardship because of energy prices, in the UK and worldwide. And we pray that governments everywhere will invest in greater efficiency and increased renewable energy on a large scale.

We continue to the rocky outcrop where I had found the "Mountain lichens" - Parmelia omphalodes and Xanthoparmelia conspersa last Thursday. But is is so windy I dare not stand at the edge of the outcrop in case I get blown off. - We let Sally stand at the edge instead and take a photo of us.

Below the above mentioned outcrop

Two fields further and we approach another very rounded  rocky outcrop

I brave the wind - 

Searching for scratch marks that could have been left by the ice. I don't think we found any. Maybe another time.

As the rock is gently rounded on this side but plucked away behind me (can't see it in the picture because it drops down behind the mound) we decide this is a roche moutonnée.

Actually just behind my right hand in the above picture, and enlarged below,  you can see the mound where we earlier took our group photo, with the white lichens on the vertical faces. That is a much more impressive roche moutonnĂ©e.

In the next field is a lovely big alder.

Some big boulders have been built into the wall.

This one has Xanthoparmelia conspersa - what I was calling "Creme de menthe" lichen, after its colour but have been reminded at this week's BLS Lichen Zoom  meeting it should be "Eau de Nil"

Creme do menthe = RGB(241,253,233) and is darker green.
Eau de Nil (Water of the Nile) is sRGB 165; 184; 132

We walk through the buildings of Close House - it really is a hamlet!. Several of the buildings are Grade 2 Listed buildings. I think the one ahead looks Georgian

Then we go through an underpass. Under the A65 bypass, and under the Leeds- Giggleswick - Morecambe Line
this takes us out of SD8063m. Indeed out of SD86 and into SD76 - foreign country as far as my lichen survey is concerned - and a new footpath for me.

An old footpath sign points back to Close House

Zoom in and we see the A65 bypass and the railway line that we walked under

We walk down the road towards Shaw Farm/Swaw Farm - taking care as we pass mature trees, especially the ash, as gusts of wind to 50mph keep blowing past.

Once under the Giggleswick-Morecambe Line railway bridge, and we're back into SD86, but now in SD8062

I show the group "The Frilly-edged Dog Lichen"  - Peltigera praetextata

It has simple rhizines -roots that look like spikes, possibly like dogs teeth.  It has some dark veins underneath, but white in between,.  It has isidia - frilly bits round the edge of the thallus.

Near Gildersleets

Sally and I visit the Fishermen's bench - and see the plaque to Derek Soames (who did a lot at St John's Church Settle, and also for the Railway Line)

Over the river from us is Anley Nursing home - I think of a friend who is resident there. I wonder if now, after almost 2 years they will let  people other than relatives visit residents again? The government lifted restrictions last week

The others who did not visit Derek's seat have shot off ahead. We are route marching back now.

We'll soon catch them.  Oohh my feet. 

I hope you will join us next month - Same day of the week again, because February has 28 Days. 

So Tue 4th March 2pm.  Location and route yet to be decided. c. 3 miles