Walks in the Shipley area. Early May 2020
Last week I walked on Idle Moor on a gloomy day that threatened rain and was surprised to come across a Whitethroat. Given the conditions I had left my camera at home and was regretting that decision so today I decided to retrun to Idle Moor and look for "my" Whitethroat. I retruned to the same spot and waited for a while. I could hear more than one Whitethroat singing its' scratchy song but the closest one seemed to have tucked itself away in some scrubby bushes. I waited about 10 minutes before it perched on the top of shrub and I got several photos including in full song. Misson accomplished.
Today's walk took me to a very special place known to the Bees group through visits made in May 2015 and May 2019- namely a circular walk around the lanes near the village of Weeton in the Lower Wharfe valley ( on this occasion I did not continue the walk into the lovely bluebell woodland of Rougemont Carr). Temperatures were cool and the conditions cloudy hence no butterflies as on the walk on the 15th May 2019. However following almost continuous sunshine in April the display of spring flora was superb. I was well versed about the plants I should be looking out for as this was my fifth visit.
A ‘normal’ Wednesday morning would see a small group of volunteers ‘The Wednesday Gang’ meet at the reserve but today, instead, I’m sitting in front of my laptop puzzling how to make lock-down interesting.
This is the closest open space to where I live. Because of its topography it is not an easy place to pinpoint on a map. On the O.S 1:50,000 map it is shown but you need a keen eye to spot it and there isn't room enough for its name to be shown. Another drawback is that Baildon is annoyingly on the main fold of the map!
If you happen to have the Bradford Street Atlas turn to page 17,square G2. You will see that the bottom of the Bank is bounded to the south by Green Rd; Midgeley Wood marks its westerly extremity and the perimeter fence at the back of Sandal's School (previously known as Belmont Middle School) forms part of the northern boundary. Bank Walk at its north eastern edge provides the nearest access from the village centre.
At this time of year, even when I have no restrictions on the places I can go, I always try and walk through Heaton Woods as often as possible. The bluebells are just too lovely not to make the most of them.
I'm guessing not everyone has a bluebell experience just beyond their backdoor, so I have posted quite a few pictures in the gallery for you to immerse yourself in. (I have also taken a 3 minute video, but still trying to work out how to embed that on the website - I have put an orchard blossom video on BEES facebook page, but hoping we can get the bluebell video here for non-facebookers).
Early on Thursday morning I took a walk a short distance from my home visiting the nature reserve of Engine Fields. This is a small nature reserve sandwiched between an industrial estate and housing development. The Aireborough Greenway which follows a disused railway track forms one boundary. It was some thirty years since I had last visited. The site had previously been an area of wasteland and its ponds dumping ground for supermarket trolleys. What a very pleasant surprise! I found a truly delightful area of woodland, ponds and grassland. I was certainly impressed with the large variety of ground flora in the woodland. Some of the plants seen included yellow archangel, wild garlic, ground elder, forget-me-not, jack by the hedge, cow parsley, bluebells ( my first sighting this year), lords-and-ladies, herb robert, red campion, tutson, primroses and cowslips. The ponds contained yellow flag iris and brilliant yellow stands of marsh marigold.
I am fortunate enough to have an allotment, and even more fortunate that allotments are still open, so I have been spending time there during lock down. Well not just a cabbage patch, the hope is that many useful and tasty varieties of vegetables will be grown here this year. A quiet place where it is easy to be socially distant, everyone being very careful to maintain the 2/3mtr recommendation, the resident robin however is not up to date with the social distancing rules.
This is my third account of walks around Rawdon. Starting from my home I walked past Rawdon cricket club and the Emmott Arms ( an old coaching inn) taking the steep path down Well Lane to meet the main A 65 road. On my way down I came across a hanging garden of periwinkle draped over a stone garden wall. Looking backwards I saw green alkanet covering some steep steps.
On the opposite side of the A65 is Low Green yet another small village separated from the rest of Rawdon by the road and fields. It consists of a cluster of weavers cottages (originally farm workers cottages) and a Friends School established by the Quakers in1822 for boys and girls.On the right along an avenue of trees is Rawdon Hall built in 1625 by George Rawdon. It was previously called Low Hall as it lay below Layton Hall further up the hillside. Charlotte Bronte visited the Hall when she worked as a governess at Upperwood House.
Easter day in Northcliffe 12th April 2020