We had planned to visit this park on the 31st March but sadly, for obvious reasons, had to suspend our entire programme. Later in the year when I was asked for suitable ideas for a fungus foray this seemed an ideal choice, particularly as I know the site well, having led such walks on behalf of the Friends of the Park for the past 2 years. The most suitable habitat is the highest section accessed from the topmost entrance on Park Rd.
This was a figure of 8 walk starting from the car park that lies between the two bodies of water, on the western side of the dam wall. It was a lovely day, albeit not as warm as we would have liked, unlike the awful forecast for the following day which was for rain all day!
We headed south on the western path in the direction of Otley. Little wildlife was encountered but plenty of puddles! The southern flank of the dam wall is a botanical delight & I recalled that many years ago whilst looking over it I saw a pair of Clouded Yellow butterflies. I haven't seen any in the UK since! As I could see lots of Bird's-foot Trefoil I knew it would be ideal habitat for Common Blue butterflies and a total of three were seen but disappointingly no other species? It was probably too breezy & not that warm either. Nothing of note was seen on the eastern side of Swinsty.
Our repeat visit to Rodley this week was undertaken in very wet conditions. A plant list was done and over 80 species were recorded in flower. Tansy was present not only near the Visitor Centre but also scattered elsewhere. Bellflower was found and confirmed as nettle-leaved. The butterfly bank had a wonderful display of crown vetch alongside field and devilsbit scabious as well as toadflax and great and dark mullein. All the wet weather had promoted a lot of healthy growth in Tim's field where quinoa, charlock, barley and pale persicaria were noted amongst others. The new meadow was walked by Alice and Marilyn and an abundance of wild carrot was seen as well as hairy and smooth tare. A new species for Rodley was also noted here, greater knapweed.
Rodley was at its very best today and we were free to enjoy it as we choose. 6 of us met in the car park having taken a variety of forms of transport- car, bicycle or bus/foot. We met up with Graham who gave us a brief introduction to developments on the reserve (he had kindly opened the disabled toilet for our use).The plan was to look at the plants in the ponds and surrounds including the two education ponds (used by children for pond dipping) and several dragonfly ponds.The ponds were noticeably overgrown which was much to our liking (Water soldier had taken over one or two of the ponds). It was good to have Joan with us to assist with identification, no need to trawl through the books! It was surprisingly warm if not very hot at times. We completed a circular tour of the ponds returning via the Butterfly bank to enjoy lunch at the picnic tables.
The plants included:-
This week's visit to Trench Meadows saw our group of 6 meet on a somewhat dull, drizzly morning. In spite of this we all enjoyed seeing the range of flora that this site holds and were even blessed with clearing skies as the morning progressed. The harebells were still putting on their show and were an absolute treat. Angelica was noted as was hairy sedge alongside a good selection of rushes. Donald pointed out marsh arrow-grass to us which produced a squeal of delight from Alice as she made a quick search in her bag for her camera. There was also an excellent view of a roe deer walking alongside the treeline at the top of the field giving Sue Z a wonderful photo opportunity. As the weather picked up gatekeeper and meadow brown butterflies were seen and a skein of Canada geese were spotted flying overhead.
On a rather damp morning 6 of us met at the end of Coach Road by the bridge over Loadpit beck. As we entered the field the shorter grass, shimmering wetly from the previous night’s rain, soaked our feet. We paused to look around, the first thing to catch our eye were several spectacular patches of misty blue Harebells on a higher dryer slope. The whole area was a picture, with a variety of brownish seeding grasses swaying in the breeze, greener flushes with water running down, splashes of yellow and purple seasonal flora, a beautiful area set against the darker backdrop of Ancient semi natural woodland on the land above.
Our thanks to Joan who then led the walk around the meadow pointing out many species of interest including; Great Burnet, St Johnswort sp, Ragged Robin, Common & Marsh Ragwort, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Cinquefoil, Selfheal, Lesser Stichtwort, Meadow Sweet, Zig Zag Clover
Wild, windy, sunshine and showers - these words sum up the "summer" weather conditions for this morning. There was some initial confusion as road signs stated that the road was closed at both ends of York Gate. However Julia, Sue N and myself were able to meet up at York Gate Quarry car park. "Where was Donald?!" We met up later. He had mistakenly made his way to the Surprise View car park.
On Thursday a party of six (Joan, Julia, Donald, Sally, Lorna and myself) met at the bottom of Station Road Wilsden for a walk of approximately one and half miles along the Great Northern Trail from the Hewenden Viaduct to the Cullingworth Viaduct. The railway contecting Halifax, Bradford, and Keighley was built in the second half of the nineteenth century. It has been called "the Alpine Trail" because of the stunning scenary and sequence of tunnels and viaducts. It is part of the National Cycle network. Sustrans has supported its use as a cycling and walking route (now exceedingly popular with local people). A local forum spanning a variety of interests has been responsible for its development and maintenance. In particular one of our group members Lorna has taken responsibility for enlarging the biodiversity of plants surrounding the path.
A group of six met at the car park opposite what used to be The White House Restaurant, It lies at the foot of the steep twisting hill below the trig point (close to the upper car park). Led by Sue N; myself, Alice, Joan, Sally & Sue Z headed off on the easy path towards Sconce Scout Huts.
A disappointing day weather wise, a tad too chilly for my liking, but nevertherless a few roosting butterflies were spotted; Small Skipper, Small Heath, Small Tort & Meadow Brown. Joan & Alice were identifying the flowers & grasses: Marsh Pennywort, Marsh Bedstraw, Common Spotted Orchid, Yellow Loosestrife, Apple Mint, Greater Bird's foot trefoil were all recorded.
My plan today was to repeat the walk I had completed with a friend along the side of Fewston Reservoir the previous Monday. I had been impressed by the rich botanical interest more especially the profusion of Common Spotted Orchids which lined the broad gravel footpath. I was overcome at the start of the walk by the sweet smelling Meadowsweet. However much to my horror the sides of the path had been mown presumably by Yorkshire Water and the sward which contained the orchids had been desecrated ! Nevertheless there were numerous orchids in the ditches and grassland off piste.