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2022 Summer FieldMeetings


East Witton  17 May 2022

Twenty members met at East Witton to enjoy a walk down the fields and then on the banks of the River Cover and its confluence with the Ure. It was a warm, often sunny day with Hawthorn blossom scenting the air. A great variety of flowers, over fifty in total were noted , amongst them many Cowslips, Bluebells, Wood Anemone, forget-me-nots, Butterburs, Hairy Violets, Lady’s Smock and Lady’s Mantle, Early Purple Orchids and Twayblade. The lemon-green papery seeds of the Wych Elm trees lit up the riverbanks, as if they were blossom. Butterflies included many Green-veined Whites, Orange Tips, Peacock and a lovely yellow Brimstone. A new member used his sweep net and introduced members to insect species such as spring crane-flies, Red-and-black Froghoppers, Giant Stonefly, Malachite Beetle and Cockchafer. Birds seen were Mistle Thrushes, Sand Martins building nests in the banks of the Cover and Swifts above the houses of East Witton. An enjoyable afternoon finished with refreshments at the Coverbridge Inn. 

By Pauline Hardill


Waitby Greenriggs  27 May 2022

On the last Friday in May a dozen members ventured to Waitby Greenriggs in Cumbria for what turned into a splendid wildlife visit. The yellow of Cowslips, Globeflower and Hawkweed, the blue of large clumps or Germander Speedwell and the pink of perhaps 200 Birds-eye Primrose were among over 30 species of plants in flower. Others in flower included Dewberry (a species of Blackberry), Water Avens, Crosswort, Tormentil, Wild Strawberry and Burnet Rose.

Our small insect specialist Derek Whiteley found some of the first grasshoppers of the year and Yellow Meadow Ant (a Green Woodpecker favourite) among 49 species he positively identified. We saw Green-veined White butterfly, watched a newly emerged male Orange-tip pumping up its wings and the sun was strong enough for rare Dingy Skippers to open their wings for us.

We did even better for orchids. There were Early Purple and the all-green colour Twayblade – a few nibbled by five ponies grazing the site. Then there was just starting to flower Lesser Butterfly Orchid. As we prepared to leave for home site volunteers showed us the first emerging reserve speciality of Fly Orchid.

By Len Shepherd


YNHS walks for the Swaledale Festival  2022

It must be over 10 years since we have offered to contribute nature walks to the Swaledale Festival program. It has proved a fruitful and happy liaison, enjoyed by both sides, and latterly rewarded by donations to our YNHS funds. Once Margie and I paid to go on a SF nature walk from Gunnerside, led by a hired naturalist from Lancashire supported by his wife: we thought that the YNHS could offer the same but better, and for free. He didn’t know everything, neither do we: but they were only two and we could offer a half-dozen or so, interspersed within the group, so most punters would stay within conversation range. This proved popular, but wouldn’t have worked if YNHS members hadn’t loyally supported these efforts: and we have gained friends and new members this way.


I have led maybe 20 of these walks, which means a welcoming introduction at the start, then walking in front, as would a middle-Eastern shepherd, but talking through the back of my head (inaudible): so I stop at intervals to address points of interest. Most SF punters don’t know the differences between pasture and meadow, or hay and silage; but they are avid to learn. And is important that they know the differences, and those between organic and factory farming, that they understand the primacy of biodiversity. Most haven’t heard of mycorrhiza, but they are keen to learn. Most have never even thought to use a hand lens to inspect the detail of flowers. On the whole they are avid students, hungry for knowledge, and excited by gaining some. To my way of thinking this is why we are with them: this is our opportunity: we should be grasping it – so I’m so pleased that YNHS will continue linking with SF, now that it is my time to step down: thank you Jenny, thank you Chris, thank you all who support, without we couldn’t manage, we need you to continue, our missionaries.


In 2022 we led as usual two walks, both ones we have done before: based from Aysgarth Church, and from Richmond Green, starting at 11am, with a break for picnic (and chat). As usual we saw many of the flowers that they had hoped to see, and some of the birds. Some were lucky to watch a family group of five Kingfishers from Easby Bridge: only I was looking the other way! Charged with nature many enjoyed the 4pm linked concerts afterwards. Good for both YNHS and SF: long may we continue together!

By Robert Hall


Bellerby Fields SSSI   7 June 2022

Bellerby Fields SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) extends over four meadows, totalling 2.75 hectares. The fields were notified as a SSSI in 1994, because they are excellent examples of Upland Hay Meadows – now a nationally scarce habitat.

There was a good turnout of over 20 YNHS members to see this site, previously unvisited by our Society. We were there with kind permission from the owners of Bellerby Fields – Steve and Claire Wilkinson, who accompanied us on our walk. They are doing a great job of managing the meadows in the traditional way, to maximise species diversity and look after the special features of the site. 


It was a bright, hot and breezy June day – the perfect weather to see these wonderful meadows in all their glory. To avoid trampling the hay crop, the group walked round the edges of the fields in single file, with information about plant species being passed from person to person, potentially leading to some comical mis-communications, in the manner of ‘send three-and-four-pence….’  Insect specimens were captured in sample tubes and also passed down the line to our resident insect specialist (Derek), who was following at the back, having been detained by a particularly entomologically interesting manure heap. Later insect finds went unidentified, because Derek had, alas, vanished (to take his daughter to the train station).


There was something for everyone. Flowers and grasses galore in the meadows themselves and along the field margins, hedgerows full of native trees, archaeologically interesting ridges and furrows, insects aplenty, a spider or two (for Andy) and even a Fox.


We were joined by Linda Robinson from the BSBI, who (with Deborah) compiled a comprehensive plant list, totalling about 75 species.  Stand-out favourites included a bank covered in Rest Harrow and Field Scabious, an unlikely finding of Wild Radish and a splendid patch of Meadow Saxifrage. Chimney Sweeper moths were in abundance and a Silver Ground Carpet (moth) was spotted. Derek was delighted to find several Slender-footed Robberflies (Leptarthrus brevirostris) and many Orchid Beetles (Dascillus cervinus), both seldom recorded in VC65. An excellent day and a great privilege to be allowed access to this lovely site.

By Anne Readshaw


Redmire Scar  16 June 2022   

Members of the Society started their walk auspiciously, with two Buzzards circling overhead as we assembled to walk along Redmire Scar. Beautiful weather meant we could appreciate stunning views over Pen Hill and Wensleydale. The contrast between the busy, noisy, dusty, working quarry and the profusion of flowering plants was interesting. 


Over 37 flowering plants were noted, including Mountain Pansy, Stork’s-bill and Hairy Lady's-mantle. Some of us managed to learn the difference between Heath and Limestone Bedstraws. We noted how quickly plants were colonising the unpromising quarry waste with Weld, Figwort and Wood Sage amongst others. Following the path onto moorland we saw striking patches of Leadwort (Spring Sandwort) outlining the track of the old ruined smelt mill chimney. The highlight of the day was finding a small colony of the rare Northern Brown Argus butterfly on its food plant, Rock-rose which was flowering in profusion. Small Heath and Large Skipper, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Speckled Wood and various white butterflies were also seen.  Notes were shared over excellent refreshments at the Three Horse Shoes at Wensley.

Jennie White                     

Other interesting invertebrates included the flower beetle Ischnomera sanguinicollis known from only two sites in the whole of Yorkshire. A very handsome black and orange beetle previously recorded at Preston Scar. It breeds in dead wood and the adults feed on pollen. Also the uncommon hoverfly Paragus haemorrhous typical of sparsely vegetated short cropped vegetation. 

By Derek Whiteley


Thornton Rust  2 July 2022

Surprisingly twenty members of the Society met in Thornton Rust to learn about dandelion-look-alike flowers with Deborah Millward. Having discussed the 250 plus species of dandelion the first look-alike examined was Goatsbeard, otherwise known as Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon. It being well past noon all flowers were firmly shut, but the salient features were still evident. Wandering up the lane the two species most closely resembling the dandelion, Catsear and Rough Hawkbit, conveniently grew virtually side by side. Members soon learnt how to separate them, with or without a hand lens. The next species was everyone’s favourite. The red backed, lemon coloured petals of Mousear Hawkweed with their very hairy leaves was unmistakeable. A break was taken to enjoy the flowers in the quarry and a strikingly beautiful green spider. The return to the village was paused to allow a Song Thrush to deal with its snail, before members set off again to look at two more yellow compound flowers. Altogether nine species of this difficult group were examined and the consensus was that the English names, involving cats, mice, goats and many hawks, were no help in trying to identify them. After two hours of fairly intense learning most departed, but four members continued in a third direction to look for a Northern Hawksbeard and discovered, yet again, what a difficult group they are.  

By Deborah Millward


Horsehouse, Coverdale   9 July 2022

There was a surprisingly good turnout for this walk, considering that the weather was so hot that there was a real risk of getting heat stroke. The meadows and pastures of Horsehouse were wilting a bit. None-the-less, about 20 stalwart Society members took part in a short botanical survey of ‘Miss Paton’s’ field and environs. Floral diversity had suffered slightly, because of changes in the grazing regime allowing coarser grasses to increase. An incursion of Rabbits had not helped. Most of the usual species were found, however, although it seemed like we had to look harder than in previous years.

Some members wisely retreated to the cool of the Thwaite Arms at this point. Others walked on to Arkleside bridge, where there were good examples of Nipplewort and Wall Lettuce, growing side-by-side. Those of us who’d been on Deborah’s Yellow Compositae Training Day were very pleased that we could remember the difference! 

Further up the side of the Dale, towards Brackenrigg, a sloping field edge hosted a nice display of Melancholy Thistles. A reward for climbing the hill in the heat was supposed to be a large colony of Common Spotted Orchids, noted on the recce visit the afternoon before. However, in a cruel twist of fate, the heads of every single one of these had in the meantime been munched off, by a pair of errant sheep. Even crueller – the Thwaite had closed by the time we made it back to Horsehouse.

Anne Readshaw

There was a good range of common invertebrates including the Iridescent Centurion Sargus iridatus a pretty metallic bluish-green soldierfly that breeds in rotting grass and compost. Striped Slender Robberfly Leptogaster cylindrica, (a species associated with good grassland that appears to be quite uncommon in the Yorkshire Dales) Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper, Chimney Sweeper moth, Straw Dot moth, Common Green Grasshopper Omocestus viridulus, Green Dock Beetle Gastrophysa viridula and a small pretty picture-wing fly Herina frondescentiae which appears to be a second record for VC65 and is associated with upland wet rushy habitats, so probably under-recorded in our area.

By Derek Whiteley


Waitby Greenriggs  20 July 2022

A second visit this year was made to this very special reserve and what a difference two months makes in the wild flower world. Following the UK’s all time hottest temperature, the day was overcast and a more manageable 20 degrees C. We had come, hoping to see Marsh Helleborine. They did not disappoint but we did feel numbers were reduced on previous years. Star of the show to my mind was Saw-wort. Many still tightly budded, “like the London Gherkin” one visitor observed, others opening and emerging into truly beautiful specimens. Over 50 different species were seen in flower. The Shetland Ponies we had seen earlier in the year continue to graze here. Buzzards mewed overhead and we enjoyed good views of a Treecreeper. Brown Hare and Stoat were also seen.        

By Caroline Stott and Ann Luxmoore


Harmby Railway Bridge up Quarry Lane 26 July 2022

21 of us set off on a lovely sunny afternoon. It was a bit of a slow start as some members who haven't been able to attend for a while were able to join us so lots of chattering and catching up to do. Good to have such a big turnout. I do this walk regularly for exercise so don't always take my time but needed some help (as always but I am getting better) in identifying flora and fauna in particular the trees. I often see Brown Hares, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Skylark, Wren, Goldfinch, thrushes and occasionally a Grey Heron. Odd times I have seen shrews, mice and a hog-let that sadly didn't make it.


We were able to identify 19 trees, 48 flowering plants and 15 others including birds, bees, butterflies and two ladybirds close together one had seven spots the other too many spots to count. As we appreciate we don't have time to identify everything as we wouldn't get past the first few metres. There were many grasses, flying bugs and insects not documented. The sunshine brought out Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Small and Green-veined Whites, one Red Admiral and a clear view of a Small Skipper. Not many birds with it being a hot afternoon. A Moorhen was making its presence be known in the quarry which was totally covered in some sort of algae, one Swallow some Jackdaws, pigeons and the odd Blackbird.


As usual some of our plants can cause long discussions with the aid of magnifying glasses and books we were able to identify the pretty pale blue Peach-leaved Bellflower. As expected some plants had suffered with the dry and intense heat of late.

The majority of the trees were within the first half of the walk. Plenty of Sycamore, Elder, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Hazel and Bird Cherry The odd Holly, Ash, Oriental Beech and Yew. We didn't get as far as seeing the Larch and Rowan which is close to the Cow Close caravan park. We finished off discussing a cypress, the consensus of opinion was it was difficult to identify specific species and it was where it was due to either bird or animal dispersal. For a short walk it was a productive and enjoyable few hours.  

By Liz Barron


River Ure, Askrigg    20 August 2022     Members can see more detail in the Flower Recorder’s Report on page 22 of our Annual 2023 Members Bulletin.


Autumn Walk, Swinithwaite   1 November 2022  

This was our last 2022 field trip. A couple of dozen members enjoyed a marvellous morning weather window to explore the pastures and river bank below Swinithwaite, though all got wet feet from the stream overflow into the lane. This humpy ex-glacial dump with marvellous drumlins must be useless for mechanised industrial agriculture, so is only grazed, and that lightly: no ploughing, no chemicals: only native growth. A cornucopia of mycelia must have lived here for generations – we were entranced by the abundance and diversity of fungal growth. Damp kneeling was needed for detail, masterly explained and identified by Chris Meek. A vigorously flowering clump of Musk Thistle relieved the dearth of flowers. Down by the swollen river autumnal leaf colours made a glorious display in bright sunlight as we ascended the flood plain, covered in old anthills. Green Woodpecker and Mistle Thrush called as we gathered Horse and Field Mushrooms. A Grey Squirrel must have been enjoying the abundant Beech mast. Then along the terrace in the wood, with its view of the pools below to Redmire Force, to admire the Ure back to normal flow, before up the fields to share splendid grub at Berry’s. Bliss.  

By Robert Hall


Nice to find a new location for the Lapidary Snail in a wall, and also the Craven Door Snail Clausilia dubia and Tree Door Snail Balea sarsii, all rather special - Derek Whiteley


Fungi identified on the Swinithwaite meeting 1 November 2022 by Chris Meek


English Name

Scientific Name


Blackening Waxcap

Hygrocybe conica

Starts red or yellow. Turns black with age

Candlesnuff Fungus

Xylaria hypoxylon

Common tiny black and white fungus

Cedarwood Waxcap

Hygrocybe russocariacea

Whitish waxcap smelling of pencil shavings

Crested Coral

Clavulina coralloides

White coral with spikes on end

Dung Demon

Deconica coprophila

Tiny brown fungus grows on dung

Dung Roundhead

Stropharia semiglobata

Also grows on dung: creamy colour

Dusky Puffball

Lycoperdon nigrescens

A dark brown small Puffball 

Field Blewit

Lepista saeva

Large fungi that had brown cap and purple stem

Deceptive Earthtongue

Deceptive Earthtongue 

Tiny black tongue-like fugus in unimproved grassland

Golden Spindles

Clavulinopsis fusiformis

Tiny yellow, flattened spindles.

Golden Waxcap

Hygrocybe chlorophana

Yellow waxcap-unimproved grassland. 

Honey Fungus

Armillaria mellea

A parasitic fungus as well as feeding on dead wood( saprobic)

Horse Mushroom

Agaricus arvensis

Huge fungus with black gills, eaten by Gaby

Field Mushroom

Agaricus campestris

Collected by Robert for the pot

Jelly Ear

Auricularia auriculae-judae

On a twig. Ear shaped and pinkish brown

Sordid Blewit

Lepista sordida

A violet blewit, much more delicate than Field Blewit

Lilac Pinkgill

Enteloma porphyrophaem

Grassland species with noticeable bump (umbo) in centre

Magic Mushroom

Psilocybe semilanceata 

Tiny mushroom with nipple-like top. Hallucigenic and possibly illegal to use

Meadow Coral

Clavulinopsis corniculata

A tiny yellow coral found in unimproved grassland

Meadow Puffball

Vascellum pratense

Looks similar to Common Puffball, but different internal structure

Meadow Waxcap

Hygrocybe pratensis

An orange - pale apricot waxcap

Mosaic Puffball

Handkea  utriformis

The large brown puffballs near the ant hills

Moss Bell 

Galerina hypnorum

Tiny yellow-orangy brown fungus in moss in meadow

Orange Mosscap

Rickenella fubula

Another tiny moss lover with a darker orange centre


Macrolepiota procera

Large with scales on and a noticeable ring 

Parrot Waxcap

Hygrocybe psitticina

Small waxcap with green showing at the top of the yellowish stem

Petticoat Mottlegill

Paneolus papilionaceus

A  brown-capped dung lover with a lacy petticoat on young specimens

Scarlet Waxcap

Hygrocybe coccinea

Common red waxcap with red gills edged in yellow

Shaggy Bracket

Inonotus hispidus

Part of black bracket that had fallen from an ash tree

Snowy Waxcap

Cuphophyllus virgneus

Common white waxcap of unimproved grassland

Turf Mottlegill

Paneolus fimicola

Dark brown fungus with dark speckled gills

White Fibrecap

Inocybe geophylla

Poisonous white fibrous fungus with brown spore print

Yellow Brain

Tremella mesenterica

Brain-like fungus on a fallen branch.

Yellow Club

Clavulinopsis helvola

Tiny yellow clubs poking out of the  unimproved grassland

Beech Barkspot

Diatrype disciformis

Black spots on a fallen Beech branch

Common Jellyspot

Dacrymyces stillatus

Yellow jelly-like spots on a fallen branch found by Derek

Wrinkled Club

Clavulina rugosa

White at left side of steps as we climbed up from waterfall



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