We were very lucky with the weather when we visited Salt Lake Quarry and Ashes pasture. It stayed dry and we had warm sunshine in bursts. Salt Lake Quarry is a lovely spot, overgrown with wild flowers and a sheltered spot to have our lunch. You can see the quarry face at the back and in parts the soil is thin, other parts are damp, so plenty of different habitats.

There were many Fragrant Orchids, some still to come out.

Eye bright - Euphrasia
Eye bright – Euphrasia

There was a large clump of bright yellow Iris, plenty of daisies and common plants like Vipers bugloss and Eye bright. We identified the rather insignificant looking Hairy rock cress.

Bugloss is Greek for ox’s tongue, referring to the rough tongue shaped leaves.

Vipers bugloss- Echium vulgare
Vipers bugloss- Echium vulgare
Hairy rockcress - Arabis hirsuta
Hairy rockcress – Arabis hirsuta

Hairy rock cress ( Arabis hirsuta) has hairy leaves adpressed up the stem.It is native and it’s habitat includes grassland and rocks on lime, which is where we found it in the quarry.

Liz with an eye for minute ferns spotted Adders tongue ( Ophioglossum vulgatum). The leaf of which is sporeless, oval, blunt with no midrib, it has a narrow pointed spore-bearing spine on a stalk. A rhizome.

Adders tongue Fern - Ophioglossum vulgatum
Adders tongue Fern – Ophioglossum vulgatum

In the meadow we found Bog Asphonel (Narthecium ossifragum). This has yellow star like flowers and spreads via creeping rhizomes and seeds. It is loved by pollinators. The word ossifragum means bone breaker. It was thought that the livestock which grazed on it got brittle bones, while in fact this was due to the calcium poor pasture.

The real show stoppers were the orchids. We were lucky to find the Bee, Common Spotted,Frog,Greater Butterfly,Heath Fragrant,Heath Spotted,Northern Marsh and Common Twayblade!

Bee Orchid- Ophrys apifera
Bee Orchid- Ophrys apifera
Fragrant orchid - Gymnadenia conopsea
Fragrant orchid – Gymnadenia conopsea
Greater butterfly orchid-Platanthera chloantha
Greater butterfly orchid – Platanthera chloantha
Frog orchid - Dactylorhiza viridis
Frog orchid – Dactylorhiza viridis

We had a fantastic day with lots of plants to see in beautiful Ribblesdale. Our next trip is to Bishop Middleham Quarry on Tuesday 16th July lead by Jane. I hope you can join us.


photos Paul and RJ