TWO SHORT LOCAL WALKS 21st and 22nd June 2020
On Sunday, following a tip off from a Bees' member, I parked on Dockfield Road in Shipley and headed along the towpath towards Leeds. The variety of plant life exceeded my expectations . Sue Norvill, my informant, met me on the path.
There was a mass of submerged pondweed of varying types. On the water surface were yellow water lilies and arrowhead leaves with a few emerging flower spikes. Fringing the canal was Reed Sweet Grass, Meadowsweet and Hemlock Water Dropwort. It was amongst such plants that Flowering Rush, quarry of the day, was found. More grasses, sedges and a variety of herbaceous species grew along the path side.
Land cleared near the canal when pylons were replaced remains accessible providing another habitat. Here Hemlock was in profusion, with thistles, Weld, the delicate Musk Mallow and many more flowers.
Little animal life was seen; a pair of swans with a nesting site near the start of the walk and a solitary mallard at the end. There were plenty of bees enjoying the pollen, damsel and dragonflies were about and a larva, later identified as a Vapourer moth, made a good if difficult photo subject.
An equally pleasant stroll was taken on Monday with Joan at Goitstock. Our targets of Wolfsbane and Marsh Hawksbeard were found in full flower.
Known to many of the WFV group, this is another flat and easy path mainly along a metalled road. The water is clear as it ripples over the stony stream base and the sound, as always, was relaxing. The path is above the water level and much more enclosed passing through deciduous woodland than was the towpath. In places there is access to the stream but mostly there are steep banks often covered in ferns. We searched the wall and bank of the residential site car park finding Slender St. John's Wort beginning to open and Wavy Hair Grass. Having time to examine the latter, and with Joan beside me, I think I may at last have absorbed the differences between this grass and its taller relative Tufted Hair Grass.! The edge of the grass field provided us with Trailing Tormentil with both four and five petalled flowers, Field Rose grew in a wooded area between road and stream and finally Common Valerian was added to our records.
I would suggest avoiding Sundays for both of these walks for traffic reasons. On the towpath some cyclists do not understand social distancing. Goitstock is now a much visited area so a morning walk is recommended.