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Author Topic: Yorkshire Dales in May  (Read 1641 times)

Tristan_He

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Yorkshire Dales in May
« on: May 31, 2016, 05:04:13 PM »
We've been visiting the Yorkshire Dales, an area I don't know at all. It's an area of limestone hills with interesting geology and flora - unfortunately the cold spring meant everything was held back. Ground nesting birds especially curlew and oystercatcher were very much in evidence, which is encouraging  given how much these have declined in Britain.

First some photos from a circular walk between Hubberholme (named after a Viking Chieftain called Hubba the Berserker) and Yockenthwaite:
http://www.ydmt.org/meadow-details-yockenthwaite-meadows-langstrothdale-17310

To be honest this was a bit disappointing botanically as most things were not in flower yet.

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Hubberholme Bridge

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Bluebells. Although often thought of as a woodland species it's quite common to see them growing in the open under bracken like this in Wales and northern Britain.

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The River Wharfe, here a beautiful limestone river with dippers, trout and other wildlife. It has a few surprises though..

(edit by Maggi to add full size pix)
« Last Edit: May 31, 2016, 05:57:13 PM by Maggi Young »

David Nicholson

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2016, 05:07:40 PM »
God's own acres Tristan ;D
David Nicholson
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"Victims of satire who are overly defensive, who cry "foul" or just winge to high heaven, might take pause and consider what exactly it is that leaves them so sensitive, when they were happy with satire when they were on the side dishing it out"

Tristan_He

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2016, 05:18:06 PM »
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This is a fascinating eroded section of limestone bedrock, making almost a kind of moonscape. Small pools formed within it supporting a kind of reddish alga.

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... stranger still, here is the Wharfe just a mile or so upstream at Yockenthwaite. Presumably it goes underground in summer and only flows above ground here during high rainfall. There are many other dry river channels in this landscape, called gills locally.

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Langstrothdale scenery

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This is Strans Gill, a steep little dry gorge flowing into the Wharfe. Much of the surrounding landscape was heavily grazed but this area was fenced off and seemed to be good habitat for early purple orchids (Orchis mascula).

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They grew in quite a shady location with bluebells and wood anemones.


(edit by Maggi to add full size pix)
« Last Edit: May 31, 2016, 05:57:51 PM by Maggi Young »

Tristan_He

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2016, 05:28:01 PM »
Some more photos of the early purples. Common enough I know, but a strong contender for the most beautiful native orchid in my view.





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This is the most surprising one - it was growing right in the middle of the gill, wedged behind a large stone. Not exactly typical orchid habitat! Presumably it survives by growing in the very well drained river gravel.


Tristan_He

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2016, 06:15:17 PM »
A lot of the land was close-cropped by these.

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Tristan_He

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2016, 06:29:06 PM »
Following Peter Hood's account of the Durham AGS's field visit to the area we decided to go again, and opted for Malham Tarn as a likely location to see birdseye primrose and mountain pansy. Malham is a classic site for natural  history / nature conservation and is owned by the National Trust. The Field Studies Council have a centre there, and it's a also a National Nature Reserve.

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This is a photo of one of the interpretation boards. We started at the 'You are here' point on this map and took the boardwalk through Tarn Moss, then skirting the North Shore of the lake, walking southwards along the east shore and then back along the road.

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Water avens, Geum rivale. No rarity, but not something I come across much in Wales. There was lots of it in the calcareous fen around the edge of the Moss.

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Globeflower Trollius europaeus was spectacular. I feel some inspiration!

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Woodland flowers including these wood anemones grew on the drier hummocks.






Tristan_He

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2016, 06:52:50 PM »
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First sighting of P. farinosa in the wild for me. There wasn't masses in the fen though.

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A few early purple orchids were also in flower.

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In places there were scrubby willows, which encouraged the wood anemones.

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This shot shows the main raised dome of the Moss (bog) quite well. In contrast to the fen at the edge of the wetland which receives lime-rich water from the surrounding land, the central dome is rain-fed and peaty and is acidic as a result. Large amounts of hares-tail cotton grass (Eriophorum vaginatum) were flowering.

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Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus) and sphagna on the bog.

David Nicholson

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2016, 07:23:40 PM »
Tristan, The Lister Arms in Malham village is recommended as is their excellent Thwaite's Wainwright (now brewed by Marston's in Wolverhampton I'm afraid)
David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b
"Victims of satire who are overly defensive, who cry "foul" or just winge to high heaven, might take pause and consider what exactly it is that leaves them so sensitive, when they were happy with satire when they were on the side dishing it out"

Tristan_He

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2016, 08:41:36 PM »
Tristan, The Lister Arms in Malham village is recommended as is their excellent Thwaite's Wainwright (now brewed by Marston's in Wolverhampton I'm afraid)

Thanks David. The pubs in the area do seem very impressive. Unfortunately we are staying a little drive away - next time hopefully we'll be in walking distance of one.

Tristan_He

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2016, 08:52:32 PM »
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Harestail cotton-grass.

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Not sure what this is - growing right at the interface between the bog and the fen. Looks like a Cardamine of some sort?

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More marginal fen - Carex nigra (I think) and kingcups (Caltha palustris) were abundant here.

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Cloesup of the kingcups. Again a stunning plant really, and very common in wet places around Malham.

Tristan_He

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2016, 09:01:02 PM »


The boardwalk now goes into the bog again. I had just remarked that I was surprised we hadn't seen any sundews yet when Maggie said 'There's some.'. Just Drosera rotundifolia.

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More cranberry in flower.



And bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata), another favourite of mine

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Lots more kingcups. The sheer number of them at Malham is quite something.

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Anybody know what this might be? There was none in flower unfortunately. It was growing in the marginal fen. I wondered about a Pyrola perhaps? i don't think it's Parnassia palustris.

Tristan_He

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2016, 09:10:32 PM »


The boardwalk took us out of the wetland and into the surrounding woodland, full of wild garlic (Allium ursinum).

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and then out into open grassland below Great Close Scar. Here it was possible to get at the lake shore for the first time. Malham is the highest lime-rich lake in England and has a diverse flora and fauna including the endangered white-clawed crayfish.

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Unfortunately we didn't see any but inspection of the strandline debris turned up this nice piece of shining pondweed (Potamogeton lucens). I think the large translucent willow-like leaves are very ornamental and would be an asset to a garden pond.




Tristan_He

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2016, 09:20:58 PM »


The area around here was close cropped turf grazed by sheep and cattle. You could see the effect of this because the NT had erected these small walls around a few trees they had planted.



Here is the vegetation outside the wall.

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And here it is inside. The Alchemilla is much bigger and there is good growth of Sanguisorba officinalis.

Tristan_He

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2016, 09:27:03 PM »
Now for the highlight... Primula farinosa (birdseye primrose). This was a species I had been hoping to see in the Dales and have never seen in the wild before. As it turned out it was quite common around the eastern inflow to the Tarn, growing in wet flushes that were quite heavily grazed. We didn't see any white forms but there was a good bit of variation in the pink /purple.







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Tristan_He

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Re: Yorkshire Dales in May
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2016, 09:34:52 PM »
We then had a walk back through some fairly unappealing acid grassland to the road. As it turned out this supported another species new to me, mountain pansy Viola lutea. All the plants we saw were yellow flowered but there was a fair bit of variability in flower shape and colour. Unfortunately many of the flowers had been nibbled by something, and in general they didn't grow in enough density to make a great display for the camera but they were charming nonetheless. I have some small plants coming on from the seed exchange so am looking forward to flowering them in the garden.







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