We had planned eleven meetings in all this year, but two of those had to be cancelled because of poor weather. The number of members participating in our outings varied between five and 16.
The sites we visited ranged from those close at hand: Kilnsey Park; Grass Wood; Moor Lane, Grassington; Sleets Gill at Arncliffe; the River Wharfe around Linton Falls; to those further afield, where we were able to explore habitats other than those known locally. These sites were Latterbarrow, a Cumbrian Wildlife Trust Reserve on limestone which we contrasted on the same visit with Meathop Moss. Here we followed the board walk over the wet habitat.
High Batts Reserve at North Stainley, is located on the banks of the river Ure. It comprises 32 acres of mixed woodland with open clearings. The reserve lies on Magnesian limestone which creates an abundant and diverse flora within a range of habitats including stream, mixed woodland of birch, ash, alder, willow, hawthorn scrub and calcareous grassland clearings.
Townclose Hills at Kippax, near Leeds, also on Magnesian limestone, gave us one of our most enjoyable field trips in
lovely sunshine. The site comprises a steep-sided grassland plateau with woodland, wildflower meadows, and extensive scrub.
In very different weather, the Sefton coast enabled us to view plants along the Ainsdale dunes before the event was rained off.
Plants of particular interest were False Oxlip, which is the hybrid between the Cowslip Primula veris and Primrose P vulgaris, seen at Kilnsey and in Grass Wood where we also spotted Herb Paris Paris quadrifolia, the emblem of the Society.
At Moor Lane we were delighted to see the Spring Sandwort or Leadwort Minuartia verna, a plant found on the old lead workings.
At Latterbarrow our attention was drawn to the Greater Butterfly Platanthera chlorantha and Fly Ophrys insectifera Orchids and the lovely drifts of blue Aquilegia Aquilegia vulgaris, along with the startling form and colour of the Round-leaved Sundew Drosera rotundifolia at Meathop.
At High Batts it was really the management of the whole Reserve which impressed us and we enjoyed being taken round by the warden.
We were pleased to find Sea Plantain Plantago maritima at Sleets Gill at Arncliffe, but the wet conditions were not conducive to identification and recording! We were better blessed at Townclose Hills where the whole site was full of lovely colour: the deep blue of the Clustered Bellflower Campanula glomerata, the pinks of the Common Knapweed Centaurea nigra, and the Greater Knapweed C. Scabiosa and the yellows of many different species, with the straw colour of the fading grasses adding to the enchantment.
At the Ainsdale dunes we recorded Parsley Water-dropwort Oenanthe lachenalii, an Umbellifer not unlike Cow Parsley, which was a first for the group.
Finally, after our very pleasant meander through the area around Linton Falls we ended up at Kilnsey to see the Grass of Parnassus before tea and cake.
Report: Christine Bell. Photos: Christine Bell and Peter Kerr