Monthly Archives: October 2018

November’s Indoor meeting

After the AGM and the Recorders Reports there will be a dvd called “A Bird for all Seasons” made by one of our Life Members, Gordon Yates. I think it is one of his best, and not ALL about birds. Members and visitors who want to chat instead of watching the video are invited to do this in the back half of the room.

2018-10-31T11:07:00+00:00October 31st, 2018|0 Comments

Society Walk to Lydgate; some history notes

Adding to Steve’s account of this walk, I have gleaned some info from ‘Flora of Todmorden’ published 1911. This flora was compiled decades after the deaths of Stansfield and Nowell, from records gathered by them in the early to mid 19thC.

But before I go on and in case the following article is not of interest, can I arrest your attention by mentioning a reference to a book by Mr. Stackhouse — Map of Rocks published 1831, in which there are large lithographs and descriptions of many of the major named Rocks in the valley. I can find no reference to this book anywhere and I have searched the internet. If anyone has any knowledge of it I would love to hear.

For the aficionados; please read-on

The Flora of Tod states there is a calcareous grit outcrop in Harley Wood Scout (near to our walk) and “This stratum arrested our attention many years ago, in consequence of finding several calcareous plants growing upon it. These were Wall Rue, Maiden Hair Spleenwort, Carline Thistle and Wood Melic and some others” (pity they weren’t listed). (I have never seen Wood Melic in that area).

On our walk it was mentioned that Frank Murgatroyd had a record for a Filmy Fern; but it seems no one had ever found it and doubts was expressed about the suitability of the habitat where Frank said it was.

I wonder if he was bringing to mind this early record from the Flora of Todmorden where there is a record of Tunbridge filmy-fern being common above Springs at Harley Wood (Lydgate). The book goes on to say this filmy fern was destroyed by the getting of stones for building the Burnley Railway (built in 1840’s). Maybe Frank was passing on this record and perpetuating the plants existence? Although the site he mentioned was not near the stone quarry. Perhaps not all plants were destroyed? The gametophyte is likely to be inconspicuous with a narrow ribbon-like thallus” –Wikipedia.

The walk went past the Orchan rocks. The Flora of Tod gives this info “We come now to the Orken, or Orchan stone: or as spelt in a deed of 1491 Ork-ndstone. The name as pronounced by the inhabitants is none other than the Gaelic word meaning incantation; or in the Irish dialect of the Celtic, ‘Orcain’, a murder or killing. In the ordnance survey the word is spelt Hearkenstone but we apprehend this is wrong. Though the name is applied to the whole group of rocks, the real Orchan Stone is the large, square, isolated block which stands nearly in situ, whilst the others around it have been tumbled down in the utmost confusion. The stratum a few yards to the north of the Orchan Stone, remains in situ and has only been disturbed here and there.”

“Some years ago a number of masons and quarrymen laid siege to this fine mass of rocks, and it was at our earnest request , and from the good sense of the proprietor (the amiable T. Ramsbotham) that this piece of reckless destruction was prevented.”

Mr, Stansfield also refers to ludicrous names given to these stones in the “History of the Parish of Halifax”. Mr. Stansfield has the riposte “His informant must have been some ignoramus of the lowest grade, totally unfamiliar with the district”.  (Todmordians have always been expressive in their opinions)!!


2018-10-28T14:53:00+00:00October 28th, 2018|0 Comments

Society Walk – Todmorden Walk Sat 27th October

The Autumn colour and woodland fungi walk went really well considering the dire warnings from the BBC of cold weather arriving. It should be  “The North Wind doth blow and we shall have sun” (NOT snow – or rarely.)

Fifteen people and two dogs turned up; we were pleased to welcome two ladies from Hebden Bridge with their dog Bibo, who were very welcome, and as usual Peachysteve’s Meg accompanied us.

The mood was light-hearted as we set off, despite the early parts being steeply uphill. The views were amazing, and the Autumn colours rich and satisfying.

At Orchan Rocks we had the spectacle of approx 800 Pink-footed Geese going over in several skeins. The sight and sound was impressive, especially for those who had not seen wild geese migrating before.

We found fewer woodland fungi than hoped for, a single Elfin Saddle being a notable exception, but on the sheep pastures higher up there were interesting species of waxcap, and a group of Caterpillar Clubs, each one attached to an underground moth larva, as we proved by digging one up (and replanting.),

Other birds seen were large flocks of Fieldfares “chack-chacking” as they went over.

After the walk, five of us went  to Jerusalem Farm in Luddenden Dean, to check for fungi, including the rare Date-coloured Waxcap which I once found on a HSS/ Mid Pennine Fungus Group foray, (I was ignorant of its identity and  rarity) but we were unlucky, but did find the fragrant Cedar Waxcap, which smells like pencil sharpenings.

Looking back down into the Calder Valley

Distant view of Cornholme
View from Orchan Rocks

Part of Jerusalem Farm
2018-10-27T20:50:00+01:00October 27th, 2018|0 Comments

Gosport Clough photos – Oct. 20th

The walk was very well attended and led by Peachy Steve whose knowledge and enthusiasm is infectious and inspiring in equal measure.
Despite it not being a classic year for fungi so far a very long list was racked up and recorded for the relevant organisations. My FUNGI highlight was this Spangle Waxcap in appropriate autumn colours.
I tend to only photography fungi new to myself rather than the more showy ones, a point well illustrated here with these Ugly Milkcaps – note the bruised gills dripping with milk.
I was surprised to find I hadn’t recorded these Petticoat Mottlegills before either. The veil remnants on the cap edge being the “petticoat”.
This is one of three Scarlet Caterpillar Clubs we found. I couldn’t resist excavating it to find the host just below ground level – a moth larva.
And the dissected larva full of mycelium.

And anyone who knows me will know that this was my highlight of the trip – a Barred Sallow resting by day, appropriated enough on a Beech leaf – it’s foodplant. One of a group of autumn species well marked to blend in with fallen leaves.

2018-10-22T11:32:00+01:00October 22nd, 2018|0 Comments

Invitation to October 27th Walk – Report on the recce we did today : Autumn colour and woodland fungi in the Harley Wood area of Todmorden

 Hopefully it will be dull, calm and misty. This is when the Autumn colours really smoulder and look so fabulous; far preferable to bright and garish  New England !

All these images taken on the way back downhill. On the way up we pass the Orchan Rocks. There are some longish steep lanes to get up there, but we will go at the speed of the slowest.

To my eyes the most scenic area of Calderdale; deep drops and spectacular but uncrowded tree views

Our route is on safe footpaths all the way, but a little nimbleness may be needed on some rocky downhill paths

From Lydgate on the Burnley Rd we go up as far as Hartley Royd on the Todmorden Centenary Way, then back down a different route.

Our phones told us we walked about 4 km, but I don’t know if this allows for the  undulations.
We should be back by 3.30pm easily.

We sat under beech trees to eat our picnic when the drizzle threatened to penetrate. Lovely real outdoor weather!         Birds seen included Kestrel, Goldcrest, Fieldfare, Brambling (1).
Meet 10.30 at Lydgate Post Office (beyond Centre Vale Park, just after a car wash.) Park on Church Street, or on Burnley Rd.
If coming by bus I’ll meet you at the fish shop just over the river bridge at Tod Bus Station. Let me know what time your bus gets in. Two spare seats at the moment. 0771 500 5379

2018-10-21T20:41:00+01:00October 21st, 2018|0 Comments

Bradley Wood

I was given a splendid tour of Bradley Wood by Mick Harrop. It is ancient woodland containing bell pits showing a former use by digging for coal.

The woodland is an interesting mix of tree species as a result of planting over recent decades by the Scout Camp and Activity Centre. But when you filter these out an older landscape emerges, which includes large Hazel coppice stools and many fine Oaks.

One of my photos is of a Beech which is large in both height and girth and looking remarkably healthy. It could easily be 200 year old, an age which is rare for this species in our area. Notice the graffiti carved in the bark high up the trunk.

A most intriguing tree is a large multi-stemmed Oak growing from an old coppice stool. Just how old is it? Looking at the width of the base and how it could have spread outwards with each coppice cycle is it fanciful to think in terms of 400 years old?

There are also some American Red Oaks (Quercus rubra), with leaves showing the natural variation in shape which caused me confusion when trying to identify them.

Before we went to Bradley Wood, Mick showed me an Oak in the middle of a field near Warley Town. It is the kind of tree that stands out in the landscape; with its spreading branches being evidence for it always having been an open grown tree.

To keep this Oak from losing its character and help it live longer, it is important not to let it become part of a woodland. If pollards were created from the young Oaks nearby—their present branch structure being ideal for doing this—both young and old would benefit. The many burrs contain dormant buds, which are just waiting for the right conditions to enable new shoots to grow. This is an Ancient Tree of the future.


                                                       
                                                          Ancient Oak of the future

                                                        Beech tree at Bradley Wood

 
                                                      Beech tree at Bradley Wood

                                                       How old is this Oak coppice?

                                              Wide variations in leaf shape on Red Oak

2018-10-07T16:50:00+01:00October 7th, 2018|0 Comments

Larinioides cornutus, Bradshaw

Lovely to find this female Larioides cornutus near Bradshaw Lane this Sunday, shown roused from its weather-proof ‘silken retreat’ by a gentle poke from a pen nib.
The retreat is closely woven with an entrance near the bottom.
A smaller spider is using the same dried stem, probably a Dictyna which tend to haunt the dead heads of plants
Both common species but amazing beasts. The cornutus often live near water, sometimes climbing beneath the water surface to escape danger.

2018-10-02T21:08:00+01:00October 2nd, 2018|0 Comments

At Blake Dean

Very impressive Beech and measured round the girth gives a possible 200 year old tree. The whole group of trees here is very attractive and the sheltered position will have helped them grow. I wonder who planted them.

On the other side of the little footbridge there are a few isolated trees; the illustrated Oak is difficult to age but has character. The bulge at the base is probably decades of adventitious buds trying to grow but constantly eaten by sheep. It produces a complex pattern of cell growth distinct from the normal tissue.

                                              

                                                 Hmmm; I wouldn’t stand there too long.

                                                             That branch is remarkable

                                                               Characterful Oak

                                                       Blake Dean pocket of trees

2018-10-01T15:43:00+01:00October 1st, 2018|0 Comments

Hardcastle Crags fungi

Seen near Gibson mill on discarded remains of a pine footbridge. Peachy Steve has helped by suggesting it could be Antrodia xantha. There is a record of this a couple of years ago in the same area, possibly the same piece of wood!

Very attractive fungi and with imagination has a Mount Rushmore head on the left, possibly Theodore Roosevelt.

2018-10-01T14:55:00+01:00October 1st, 2018|0 Comments
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