Monthly Archives: September 2012

Autumn Crocus Sweep results.


Crocus nudiflorus

We visited 9 sites. Most of which held good quantities, but mostly flattened by the wind and rain:
Dean Lane
Deerplay Farm ( none found – never been refound here recently.)
Kebroyd river bank (Grassy Bottom)
Turn Lee House, Cottonstones.
Dog Kennel Lane (near Turn Lee House) – none showing here – everything bitten well off by Texel sheep.
Shaw Edge Pasture, Soyland
Soyland – top of Foxen Lane
Upper Cockroft House, Rishworth
Still no clue where Goat House is, where a colony is said to bloom each year. Must research it at the library. Think the house has been renamed.

There is still about 2 weeks of the flowering period remaining this year.

The owner of Turn Lee House was happy as usual to let us in his garden, (there were 3 of us.) where we were able to see the crocus blooming alongside the misnamed “Autumn Crocus”, Colchicum autumnale, the one in the lily family with the lily’s 6 stamens unlike the crocus’s 3.
He showed one of our party inside his house to see the timbers which go back to wattle and daub construction times. The crocus is often associated with these mediaeval houses.

In the Halifax (Copley) area on the Calder banks at the Junior Sports Field, among the young oaks, there were plenty in the usual spots, but no blooms in the area where much crocus foliage comes up in spring, east of the flowering colonies.

You see this also at Kebroyd, where there is a non-flowering colony 60 paces downstream from the footbridge, on the edge of the Ryburn. (The main patches are up stream, under beeches and other trees, on the left bank, just below the weir. – left bank looking down stream.)
We kept a bird list for the trip: Grey wagtail, pied wagtail, dipper, goosander, kestrel and kingfisher being among them.

Clouded agaric

Fungi seen included a spectacular colony of clouded agaric, a broad dryad’s saddle, a few amethyst deceiver and turkeytail.
Scientific names: Clitocybe nebularis, Polyporus squamosus, Laccaria amethystina, and Trametes versicolor.

2012-09-30T18:48:00+01:00September 30th, 2012|0 Comments

Taken yesterday near Gibson Mill

This series of pictures were taken by Michael Sykes. They are from Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge.

Amanita citrina

Froth on the water

Laccaria amethystina

Lycoperdon pyriforme

Peltigera cannina (dog lichen)
Autumnal sun

Gibson Mill top dam

2012-09-30T12:56:00+01:00September 30th, 2012|0 Comments

Outing to view Crocus nudiflorus sites


I am leading a “Crocus Sweep” this Sunday 30th September 2012. All welcome. No charge.
Gather at County Bridge at Sowerby Bridge. 10.30 for 10.45. There is plenty of street parking around there. We can share cars from there if convenient. It’s the main bridge over the river Calder. We will take small walks then drive on to the next site.

The intention is to visit as many as possible of the known sites in the Ryburn Valley (about 12 – a new one has come to light since “The Mystery of the Autumn Crocus” was published  in 2011- it’s in the grass verge of the main road near 112, Oldham Rd.) Some of the colonies are tiny but need monitoring and action plans developing for.

Bring packed lunch and 2 big plastic bags for your walking boots (to put on your feet) if going in somebody else’s car. ( Not that I’m really fussy about my car.) A couple of locations need to be walked to through long grass, so gaiters or leggings if it’s a wet day. We could lunch on the parapets of the bridge at Soyland, with good views all round.

The Crocus Sweep is an unofficial HSS walk.

 The next one in the programme is the Fungus Foray to Jerusalem Farm and Wade Wood on 13th October, all welcome and no charge, donations to HSS welcome. This one is in conjunction with the Countryside Services Wildside Walk Programme. Bring a packed lunch and basket or tubs to carry fungi in for identification.

2012-09-26T22:00:00+01:00September 26th, 2012|0 Comments

Calder in spate at Copley, Hollas Lane Bridge


The river is up to four courses of stone still showing of the old bridge whose demolition was summarily imposed upon us by the council, (far right.)  On the left four mallards have found slack water with good feeding opportunities.


Three drakes and a duck. One of the drakes hasn’t completely come out of eclipse plumage. He still has a brown head and no curl on his rump. Or is he a bird of the year just getting his first adult plumage?

2012-09-25T18:54:00+01:00September 25th, 2012|0 Comments

Extra walk took place

This was a casual walk, not in the printed syllabus of HSS.

It was a chill wind, but a fine day that  accompanied the 5 of us up to Hoof Stone Heights.
Some of the others considered the carving to be nearer an arrow shape than a hoof.

The vertical mark, which I see as the “frog” of the hoof-print, points straight at the summit of Pendle Hill, way off across the valley. Pendle is the most prominent landmark looking west.  A way- marker in times of low visibility? Part of the system of lay-lines some people say exists? Dave decided it had been done with an iron chisel, not with a small stone.

It wasn’t clear enough to recognise any distant landmarks, except the feint shape of Pen-y-Ghent to the north.

On the way down we passed the Wolf Stones and pondered on the name. (I’ve read the last English wolf was killed in the Yorkshire Wolds, and by gun, so not that long ago – I think it was in the 17thC.)

Later, Dave ( Dr Dave) took us to Bridestones, and a bit past and below them, to Golden Stones. There he showed us a massive slab that has been levered up about 2 ft (60cm) and propped under one end with a smaller boulder. These occur throughout the Pennines ( about 7 of them, right up to Cumbria,) but no one knows why they did it. Some indistinct carved grooves are often to be seen on the rock below, as they are here.

These historical features may seem more the stuff of Antiquarian Society investigations, but they are the evidence of our ancestors who shaped the landscape and which now supports our particular wildlife.

A pair of peregrines was watched circling over Staups Moor, a snipe flushed near Bridestones, and several red grouse seen flying; noticeably silent at this time of year.

Very few flowers were out, and no insects. Only tormentil, a little heather, a few hawkweed flowers.

Fungi are beginning to show. There were two very different Mycaena, one black, another pale and very like common bonnet, but in totally the wrong habitat, and several magic mushrooms, also once known to past generations as liberty caps, Psilocybe, which the law has recently forbidden us to gather. Welcome to the free world.

2012-09-24T17:47:00+01:00September 24th, 2012|0 Comments

Meadow Re-seeding

Email from  

Charlotte Weightman

Dear All

Fancy walking up and down fields close to the moorland edge in our spectacular countryside, broadcasting wildflower seeds from a bucket?  We are working with farmers in Calderdale to restore hay meadows next to the moor land edge to provide food sources for the endangered little Pennine Finch, the Twite.   [More info] 

2012-09-24T17:23:00+01:00September 24th, 2012|0 Comments

Extra Scientific Society walk

There will be an extra walk other than those on the printed programme of rambles.

I will be leading a shortish but boggy walk to look at an old carving I found on a rock at Hoofstone Heights, which I’m sure is the source of the name.

It is a hoof-like shape with apparently a way-marking purpose. Come along and see where it points !

These rocks are said to be the highest point in Calderdale. You can see Blackpool Tower if the air is clear below the clouds. (Too hazy on a sunny day.)

We will be parking on the Long Causeway above Todmorden, but meeting up, perhaps to share cars, at Russell Deans car park, Mytholmroyd.

Dr Dave Shepherd, the archaeologist who is presenting a talk in October for us, has said he would like to attend if he can, but it isn’t a lecture or tutorial, just a “walk with conversation”.

If there is time, we may pop in to the Bridestones on the way back, which are very near the road, and bog-free. They may also have some archaeological secrets.

SUNDAY 23rd SEPTEMBER meet Mytholmroyd 10.30am for 10.45.
Bring a drink and packed lunch if you want.

2012-09-20T23:09:00+01:00September 20th, 2012|0 Comments

Stop the Badger cull

Original post from Andy Kiz
The government has now issued licenses for the culling of badgers, despite scientific evidence given to them that culling would not stop the spread of TB but would in-fact increase it.

Please sign this petition and share wherever you think you can. We need 100,000 signatures to try get this decision reversed and we are a third of the way there.   Sign the Petition here: 

‘I think the most interesting observation was made to me by a senior politician who said, “fine John we accept your science, but we have to offer the farmers a carrot. And the only carrot we can possibly give them is culling badgers”.’
Professor John Bourne  (Chair of the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) on bTB)

2012-09-20T08:59:00+01:00September 20th, 2012|0 Comments

Old Hairy Legs

Probably Tegenaria duellica

Old Hairy legs has been living in my cellar for awhile now-don’t know what he finds to eat?

Pictures & post – Michael Sykes.

Coprinus micaceus

The fungi and acorn were seen in North Dean on September 14th. There are very few fungi in the woods apart from earth balls. Never seen it so sparse. 

2012-09-18T16:12:00+01:00September 18th, 2012|0 Comments
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