Saturday 30 July 2022

What did you miss at the YNU trip to Brockadale - YWT Reserve near Wentbridge this July 2022??


Clustered Bellflower growing
in the scorched meadow after
Monday and Tuesdays record
temperatures (almost 40 degrees)
Just a small selection of pictures form the wonderful day spent at Brockadale with the Yorkshire Naturalists Union on Sat 16 July 2022.

Brockadale is a YWT reserve (with an adjacent Plantlife field) on magnesian limestone on either side of the river Went. 
(Wentbridge on the A1 is nearby). Water cut through here in the last glaciation forming the steep sided valley.

The reserve is 78 miles (1hr 45min) from where I live- yet
still in the same county of
North Yorkshire.

Joyce Simmons gives an introductory talk. The YWT carpark is full, but they have arranged permission to park in a small area  the bone dry meadow next to it.

I go on a guided tour led by Joyce with Paul simmons as the backup  sweeping us with his net. Paul Simmons.  
First interesting plant is a Barberry bush in the hedgerow. This shrub is native to UK - or at least present since neolithic times. 

Barberry flowers

Barberry Rust 

Don Grant showed us some
Elm-leaved Blackberry -
Rubus ulmifolius in the hedgerow

There were two species of Astragalus that I had never seen before 

I soon got way behind, Paul obligingly waited.
We are heading for the patch of woodland ahead.

Part of the woodland had had
some conifers cleared about 7 years earlier.
Natural regeneration was taking place,
However some extra trees had been planted -
here we are looking at a planted Small-leaved Lime.

The small leaved lime has rust coloured hairs
where the veins join the main vein

It was good to take photographs of butterflies

Silver Washed Fritillary we think

Large Skipper


Meadow Brown

This is a Pretty Chalk Carpet moth that had been
caught early in the morning.
See distribution map below

Distribution of Pretty Chalk Carpet Moth
Our dot is the one just to the right of Leeds

At the bridge over the Went we stopped and looked down at the river. It is a tiny river/slow flowing stream for such a huge valley. Here is some Unbranched Bur reed- Sparganium emmersum. It rarely flowers. If you look carefully at the top left you can see a  Banded Demoiselle entering the picture

At the foot of the north facing Pantlife Meadow on the south bank of the stream

After the walk we head for   Kirk Smeaton Church where we hold th "the end of meeting tea and reporting session"

This has swift boxes built into the bell tower.  Must be a bit noisy for them, but they happily came and nested here as soon as the boxes were put in.  See the holes - some above the slats, some in the slats

 After the reports, a member Don Grant tells us about an interesting specimen he has found near where he lives, Manna Ash he has found in Wakefield.

The next Yorkshire Naturalists Field Meeting is on Sat 14 August at Humberstone Bank Farm (half way between Fewston Reservoir and Greenhow village) in Nidderdale AONB / in the Yorkshire Dales/
It is high up with rough pasture and some moorland - stretching up towards the Simon's Seat Area.
Humberstone Hub Official Web Site

Any person who is a member of a local natural history society  (including the YWT) is welcome to come on the trip

Friday 29 July 2022

Malham Tarn Fen -1 July 2022 - Walk for the Climate

Some pictures from our walk on 1 July at Malham Tarn Fen.

This was a coolish day - before the heatwave that struck two weeks later. 

We welcomed two extra people who had seen the walk advertised in Facebook 


We saw at least 8 lizards , some in groups of three. This amazed me.
Usually we are lucky if we see one or two.
Is it because it was so cold that they did not run away?

  Euphrasia rostkoviana ssp monticola  -
Large Sticky Eyebright -
this is fairly rare -see Distribution Map 
Alan Silverside first showed me this here in the 1980s

Glad to see the bund holding this  pond on the bog is holding. The National Trust made them about ten years ago. Some Sphagna (Bog-mosses)- including S cuspidatum are growing in the pools
The original sphagnum species (Sphagnum austinii) which was forming the peat mostly over the past 5000 years up till recently died out in the Industrial revolution 200 plus years ago. .

Here is a photo of a section of a leaf of S austinii that I made in 2004, that came from pear in the peat cliff as the side of the Tarn.  You can recognise it because of the comb fibrils (spiral reinforcing fibrils clearly visible)  on the edge of the cell walls.   Prof Piggott or Mike Proctor I forget which- planted a few bits south of Spiggott Hill but I never was able to find them.

Thursday 28 July 2022

Climate Walk at Malham Tarn on the 1st of the Month - 1 August 2022

Links to excellent blog of previous walk here in July 2013

and here 2013

and here last month

 Celebrate Yorkshire Day by coming on the

Mon 1 Aug: Walk

2-5pm - at hillside above, and fen boardwalk at

Malham Tarn

With local botanist & former MTFC tutor Dr Judith Allinson, & members of Craven Conservation Group  &  Churches Together in Settle & District

Meet at the Quarry Car Park SD883671 

 info:  01729 822138  or  Transport leaving Settle Methodist Church at 1.30pm can be arranged if you book 

Grass of Parnassus

(Lifts by arrangement from Settle leaving at 1.30pm - details 01729 822138)

Why is Malham Tarn a Site of Special Scientific Interest?
What did Darwin say after visiting Malham Tarn area?
What did Ruskin say after visiting Malham Tarn area?
Where were the bones of five people dug up in the 1980s?
Will we see over 8 lizards as the group did last month?
How deep is the peat bog?
How deep is the Tarn?
What are the names of the wild flowers found in the limestone pasture?
Will we find the beautiful "Grass of Parnassus", the Devil's-bit Scabious and the Marsh Cinquefoil?

This walk led by local botanist Judith Allinson of
Churches Together in Settle and District and of
Craven Conservation Group
is organised by these two organisations and is open to all members of the public

All welcome.

This walk will celebrate and highlight many points:-

1. Malham Tarn is a Site of special Scientific Interest.
2. It is the 1st day of the month. We go for a "Climate Walk on the 1st day of the month"
3. It is Yorkshire Day - 1st August.
4. 8 days earlier was International Bog Day (the 4th Sunday in July)-
5. 1. The stunning views of the fen, the bog and the Tarn seen from the field above the Tarn

See blog posts about previous climate walks here:-

Tuesday 19 July 2022

Moonwort: Botrychium lunaria

Moonwort is a small fern. 

The Online Atlas of the British Flora describes Moonwort as:

A small fern, often occurring singly or in small populations. It prefers well-drained sites, usually with a high base-content, although it can occur on more acidic substrates. Habitats include meadows, pastures, open woodland, sand dunes and grassy rock ledges. It can also colonise slag heaps and quarry spoil. 0-1065 m (Ben Lawers, Mid Perth)
It goes on to say
B. lunaria was lost from many lowland sites before 1930, and this loss has continued, particularly in N. England, due to grassland improvement and scrub invasion. There appear to have been some losses in upland areas,

At the YNU Zoom meetings in 2020 Barry White gave a talk about the Moonwort surveys he has done, including in Swaledale.. implying that Moonwort is an upland plant whereas Adder's-toungue fern is more of a lowland plant.

When I worked at Malham the 1980s I regularly was able to show adult students on the Wildflowers Course the moonwort that grew in the limestone pasture just above the cliff and scree slope above High Stables  at . I would come across it occasionally on other walks too in limestone pasture. In c 1999 I found it at Winskill Stones.
I found it at Scar Close.
However I have not seen it for maybe 20 years, except for two sites.
Why has it disappeared?
The fields where I found it before I still grazed to some extent. The field above the Field Centre had much lower grazing for several years.

Anyway, I was delighted to find it this year at a new place - between Grewelthorpe and the Moor. The It is in a hay meadow that has had Yellow Rattle introduced. The bedrock is gritstone. the height was just over 240m. I wonder if the meadow 20 years ago was actually pasture then rather than meadow. 

There were two plants. I was surveying in the late evening to avoid the heat of the midday sun, so I did not have time to search further.

The same farm in a very different field had four plants of Adder's Tongue growing close together.

Settle Wildflowers - Day 119 - Stag's-horn Plantain

Stag's-horn Plantain - It's scientific name Plantago coronopus actually means Crow's-foot Plantain.

This usually grows by the sea in the north of Britain but also grows inland in the SE of Britain. I  think there have only been a couple of records of this plant in our Vice County before - and those are near Harrogate. Our Settle plant is growing  at the pavement wall junction near the 20mph sign as you go towards Settle market place from the north, just before the road narrows. SD 81948 63742

Is this a sign of global warming? More likely it arrived with salting of the roads, or just from a passing quarry lorry.

It is Tuesday and it is the "record hot temperature day" 19th July 2022.  I decided to go to town just for the sake of it - and to buy a thermometer. It was 25 degrees in the thermometer shop, 25 degrees in my living room. I have just put the thermometer outside, in the shade near my house.. I'll tell you what it says in a few minutes...

Huh it only says 32.  (It said 40 in my car). Yesterday at Ripon it got to at least 34. Still it is only 1pm...   

By 2.15 it has got up to 34.5 degrees

 I shall continue with Settle Lockdown Walks occasionally - It is two years since I enjoyed the lockdown walks - and odd walks that I do now make me homesick for the  lockdown walks in 2020. But it's great when I see new plants that I did not see two years ago.

Index of Settle Wildflower Lockdown Walks