Today's walk in the Lower Wharfe Valley was completed in continuous sunshine in sharp contrast to our walk in the area completed on 5 May 2015 when it had rained. Consequently the spring countryside was at its best with trees in leaf and flower, the birds were singing, butterflies were on the wing and many flowers were in bloom.
There were highs and lows in today's visit. With Stuart driving we left Bradford in cool drizzly weather heading for the Nidd valley near Knaresborough in order to see the Spring flora. On arrival at the car park the newly erected height barrier prevented the minibus from entering. The delay while an alternative parking place was agreed upon provided the opportunity to investigate the variety of plants on the roadside mound of soil.
We sped through the Dales of Wharfedale and Bishopdale in the minibus before arriving at our destination Wensleydale with its limestone scars, green fields, sheep with lambs and of course waterfalls. The party of 13 arrived at the Yorkshire Dales National Parks information centre at Aysgarth Falls in mid morning. The staff had kindly assembled information about the dormouse introduction project started in 2008 for ourselves. The dormouse population is doing well in this special coppice hazel woodland habitat.
A really local walk today, at least for me. Lister Park is only 10 minutes’ walk from my house, but I haven’t spent much time studying the trees in the botanical gardens. Today’s itinerary was designed to give us time to look at most of the trees here, before moving on to Heaton Woods for a stroll through a more natural woodland.
We set off from Bradford on a cold April morning. Sunshine, showers and low temperatures were forecast. Our journey via the A1(M) took us first of all to Nosterfield Quarry, the sand and gravel extraction site operated by Tarmac. As extraction has ceased the quarried areas have naturally filled with water in the form of lakes which have attracted a variety of birds and other ecological interest. The surrounding grassland is based on magnesian limestone which supports a unique collection of plants.
Owing to flooding at Wheldrake Ings we had opted for Fairburn today.
A second less expected change soon followed. As the minibus nosed out of the car park we were halted by Julia who had noticed a tyre was visibly deflating. Stuart and Sue quickly offered their own vehicles and drove the eight members to our destination.
As we left Bradford the bulk of the chatter was that we hadn’t expected rain. Thankfully by the time we reached Old Moor, near Barnsley, the skies had cleared and we had what could be considered good weather for the beginning of March (whatever that might mean these days).
Twelve members of the group set off from the Unitarian church in Bradford on this cold, winter morning to head east for our visit to Burton Agnes gardens. It was a long two hour drive however we were in the safe hands of Kevin and Sue.
Burton Agnes Hall was commissioned by Sir Henry Griffith, Queen Elizabeth's master mason in 1598. Our purpose was to visit the gardens and complete a lovely woodland walk (the option of making purchases of plants was also on offer).
Julia had been keeping a close eye on local starling murmurations in recent weeks as she tried to decide where today's destination should be. Notification was received on the day preceding our visit that Leighton Moss was the favoured site and so, on a misty morning, 12 of us left Bradford a little later than normal to visit this popular RSPB reserve. Fortunately conditions had improved by the time we reached Silverdale where it was agreed that the Causeway Hide would be our first port of call. As we crossed the boardwalk on our way, we were
Fifteen members attended our annual social event held at the Unitarian church hall in Little Horton.
As is the custom people brought some delicious food items for us all to enjoy. We also enjoyed the digital images of the flora and fauna the group had seen in 2018.Thanks go to Julia, Sue and Alice. Discussion followed about our future summer programme and ideas were shared. Finally Julia provided us with an intriguing quiz. We look forward to good weather and many successful outings in 2019.