Sunday 1 October 2023

Climate Walk: Fungi, Flowers and Grass of Parnassus on 1 Oct 2023 at Attermire and Scaleber Foss

Graham, Jane, Geoff and I set off for a "First Day of the month Climate Walk" on 1 Oct

Geoff has been reading Frederic Riley's book of walks in the Settle area, written a 100 years ago and wants to see if some of the plants are still here. It is very warm and muggy.

Judith  (me) wants to see if we can find the part at the lower end of Attermire "Tarn" - flat area where it had be drained. (having heard Lee Schofield (author of Wild Fell)'s talk last week which included a section "looking for depressions which could be drained ponds.") Attermire was drained in the 19th C. says one internet source. 

I think Graham and Jane have just come for the walk..

We don't read from our Climate Prayer Sheet - because it is not yet online on 1 Oct.  (But for the record  just note 

- that September was the second warmest month we have ever had in the UK. (The warmest in England and Wales and in parts of Europe)

- that the State of Nature Report for the UK and dependent territories was published this week. The UK is now one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth. But I knew that. THe UK was bad 50 years ago- but it has got so much worse!

And we 

- that we still have lots of Red Admiral Butterflies, 

-That the Antarctic ice sheet is melting rapidly

-That there is controversy over the government decision to give the go ahead for the development of the Rosebank Oilfield, and last week that their law that all new cars would have to be electric from 2030 had been withdrawn. What will people be saying when they look back in five years??

We park near Scalebar Foss first. I explain  the walls by the road are made of a brick brown coloured limestone.. and that the road is parallel to a fault, parallel to and just south west of the road.

See discussion of geology here - 

The ordinary Geological survey map with its lovely shades of blue and turquoise for different limestone series that you can buy as a paper version can be viewed online here: 

We enter the waterfall area by the lower stile near the bridge so that we can look at the fallen log that is infected with a blue- green fungus - now called Chlorociboria aeruginascens( It used to be Chlorosplenium . but hey ho, the fungi names are changing as fast as the lichen and flower names). English name: Elf Cup. Because the wood is stained the beautiful blue-green colour it is sometimes used for carving. 

Elf cup - the cup is about half a cm across.

We descend down the slippery track beside the waterfall. 

The source of the river is from Stockdale (and the land below Pikedaw above Malham) and also from the stream coming out of Attermire. It is the source of Long Preston Beck.

Fungi on log near stream

 Geoff says that Riley said that "The laburnum make a splendid site in spring. "  We look amongst the vey tall beech, a few tall conifers (Larch?) and maybe self sown young hazel.. and do spy one laburnum struggling in the shade across the river. 

Geoff starts to make a list of plants in flower -  for the record -  Burnet Saxifrage and Ladies Bedstraw and lots of Yarrow on the verge by the road, a Harebell by the fence in Scaleber.

Now we are going to Attermire, part of the source of the river we have seen.

We drive back to the junction with Stockdale Lane and park there.

We walk through the field towards Attermire Scar. In this field we find three different waxcaps (Blackening, White, Slimy orange) and an Enteloma. 

Blackening or Conical Waxcap

I think that will give it the low score  that would give on 
 NEYEDC Yorkshire Waxcap survey (or the Plantlife 2023 survey) - I feel the area will have more waxcaps later in the season. Maybe I can combine the results with the next field where we found an extra waxcap-the slightly more nutritious Meadow Waxcap. Or look up species in the online waxcap key
This next picture is the inedible Egghead Mottlegill, and early coloniser of dung (sheep or cattle)  - but think- where would we be if there were no fungi to break down dung?

Panaeolus semiovatus - common on dung.

We reach the t-junction at the path just below Attermire 

Here there is the option of turning left - slightly uphill a tiny way to the "summit" above Settle and then descending by the long steep path down to Settle and a tea-shop - or
turning right  to go to the flush area where Grass of Parnassus might be found and continuing a little way, hitting  the Stockdale road, and walking back to the car.

Graham and Jane decided to go left. Geoff and I go right to look for the plants.

Geoff and I turn right towards Attermire Tarn. 
We have observed that the area is somewhat treeless,
considering the natural vegetation would be trees....

We find flush areas in the first two fields with sedges and some "Brown" mosses and even Selaginella -

Path through the flush. (Geoff top right of picture, but bottom of field)

Selaginella selaginoides

  But it was only in the third area that we search that we are rewarded and find a Grass of Parnassus - and - still in flower. Several. The bottom part of the field where the flush area was has been separated with a fence long ago (10 - 20 years) I think. I had visited this field with Mike Canaway and Craven Conservation Group ??? 20 years ago??? Glad to see it is still in reasonable condition. with lots of small sedges such as Carex dioica and Eleocharis quinquiflora. One piece of Stonewort.

Devil's-bit Scabious (and and Rough Hawkbit leaf in the foreground.

pointing to the Grass of Parnassus

The sun comes out briefly.

One late flowering Bird's-eye Primrose forgets it is October not June..

Then we remember that Jane will be waiting for us in Settle.. and set off home through another field and along a very, very long stretch of Stockdale Lane back to the car.  Fortunately Graham and Jane phone so we can say we are on the way.. but by then my feet, especially my toes are hurting.. I just can't find shoes/boots that fit.

We see a farmer gathering sheep with his dog, and a big flock of gulls. This field has been reseeded.

We find the drainage channel from the Tarn- put underground

Over the lichen covered wall we see another channel leading away.

Then it's back to the car and down the hill to Settle, and Jane.

Do join us on a walk on 1 November - I expect there will still be lots more Fungi around. 

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