The church grounds are locally renowned for their population of waxcap fungi and today was a repeat of the 2018 outing which, although yielding a goodly variety of fungi, produced very few waxcaps. That year was the worst in recent memory for waxcaps & we met with a similar failure at another venue in Mirfield. The consensus amongst the mycological community was that the spring & summer had been unusually dry.
Today was a total contrast to our attempt to watch the leaping salmon at Stainforth Force a couple of years ago.
The salmon like fast flowing conditions, ideally a couple of days after heavy rain (so this was the compensation for a wet Apple Day event on Sunday), and a pleasant autumn day made for ideal conditions for the on-lookers.
Alert leader John had read on the day before our trip that Blacktoft Sands RSPB Reserve, our original destination for today’s expedition, had been closed due to flooding and so took the wise decision to switch the venue to North Cave Wetlands, a YWT reserve where we were likely to see a similar selection of birds. North Cave is an ever-evolving reserve based on a worked-out sand and gravel quarry with on-going adjacent extraction that will eventually form part of the reserve.
Eight people left Bradford in rain, returned home in rain and had no respite from the weather between those times. The intention to follow the canal towpath to the entrance of the woods had to be abandoned due to the collapse of a section of canal wall. We were soon back on track and avoiding deep puddles as we put our identification skills into practice.
A small party of eight set off to Foulridge and after parking up near Foulridge Wharf we set off on the canal towpath towards Mill Hill Bridge.
For this, our last visit of the summer programme, 10 of us visited the charming market town of Masham, Lower Wensleydale, on a beautiful late summer’s day. The plan was to follow the 3 mile circular walk Leaf Sculpture Trail around the area.
The day began with a trip to a garage for a replacement tyre after which Julia sadly had to leave us. We had previously received notice of two cancellations and then we had another absentee on the day; so we were left a select band of six, our driver Kevin, Amanda, Alice, Sue N, Jane & myself.
Today we stayed local for visits to two contrasting sites.
We started at Hirst Wood Burial Ground, gathering in the gloom of the wooded burial ground adjacent to Nab Wood Cemetery. BEES Friday volunteer group have been involved in some management of the site over the past couple of winters, so I wanted to return in the summer to collate a species list for the site, and get some ideas about the best way forward to implement the ecological management plan.
On what was destined to be one of the hottest days of the year, 12 of us set off for Escrick near York, to visit the Three Hagge Wood Meadow project. We were greeted on arrival by Professor Dave Raffaelli and Rosalind Forbes Adam, whose family own the estate on which the project is sited. Through the introductory talk by Professor Raffaelli we learnt that the site was originally an arable field of 25 acres on which had been planted 10,000 native trees of 28 different species alongside local wild flowers
You may have believed that the source of the Wharfe was at the northern extreme of Upper Wharfedale, but you would be wrong. It does in fact rise in the above named minor dale.
A full mini-bus driven by Stuart made its way via Bingley, Keighley, Cracoe, & Kettlewell towards our toilet stop in Buckden and then onto our destination New Bridge. The weather began cooler than expected but later warmed considerably, with plenty of sunshine, but always with a keen westerly breeze.