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YNU Meeting at Hawnby 9th August 2008

This was a YNU VC62 meeting. Unfortunately the weather was unkind, with heavy cloud at the start of the day which thickened to give us cold rain (and abysmal light, which is why there are so few pictures....). We met at the village hall at the bottom of Hawnby village where we were given maps and guidance on where we could explore – we had been granted access to the privately owned Hawnby Estate, an area extending from Arden Hall to Murton Bank, taking in Coomb Hill, Sunny Bank and Dale Town, Gowerdale, Noddle End and Peak Scar.

Herb paris Paris quadrifolia berry
Herb Paris (Paris quadrifolia) berry

A small group of keen botanists set off on a loop past the church then headed west to Spring Wood, returning via Gowerdale and Dale End and the footpath to the bottom of Murton Bank and then back down to the village, where we joined the others for a very welcome cup of tea in the hall and the more formal part of the meeting.

The area around Hawnby is an interesting mixture of deep valleys, mixed woodland and pasture, with springs giving rise to small becks running down to the young Rye. Some of the valley slopes are rocky, with outcrops of both sandy beds and limestones. Despite the weather we had an interesting day, finding many plants (see partial list below). Stone bramble Rubus saxatilis berry The star as far as I was concerned was stone bramble (Rubus saxatilis) in fruit, in Spring Wood (right: I have included the picture even though it’s blurred as the plant is so special). [See below for a picture of the same plant taken 23rd August in better weather, but after the berries had been eaten / fallen off.] I had previously seen it in flower on the roadside at Murton Bank within a mile or so, but never the red fruits. We found at least five plants with ripe fruit. In the same part of the wood was a colony of a dozen or so plants of Herb Paris (Paris quadrifolia), also in fruit. I was a little disappointed not to find Baneberry (Actaea spicata) here too.

Emerging from the wood we found species such as Quaking Grass (Briza media), Burnet Saxifrage (Pimpinella saxifraga) and Small Scabious (Scabiosa columbaria) – all lime-lovers. As we climbed up towards Noddle End we found a wonderful limestone bank with marjoram, wild thyme, musk thistle, hawkbits and a tall hawkweed – to be identified later! There were also two plants of the extraordinary Great Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), although no rockrose or carline thistle, both of which might have been expected in such a habitat. On the footpath down to the foot of Murton Bank we passed through damp grassland with meadowsweet and a little Marsh Ragwort (Senecio aquaticus), a rather more attractive plant than its common relative which was also present; worryingly I did not see a single cinnabar moth caterpillar on this – normally it would have been covered in these black-and-orange larvae.

As we returned into the village we noticed a spread of a pink bindweed, which turned out to be Calystegia pulchra, a plant new to me. I was also pleased to see that most of the white bindweed was the native C. sepium not the invasive C. sylvatica.

Plant list

This is not a complete list, I only noted the “interesting” species!

Angelica sylvestrisAngelica
Athyrium filix-feminaLady Fern
Briza mediaQuaking Grass
Bromus ramosus (Bromopsis ramosa)Brome, Hairy
Calystegia pulchraBindweed, hairy
Calystegia sepiumBindweed, hedge
Campanula rotundifoliaHarebell
Carduus nutansThistle, musk
Chamaenerion angustifoliumWillowherb, rosebay or Fireweed
Cirsium arvenseThistle, creeping
Cirsium palustreThistle, marsh
Cirsium vulgareThistle, spear
Epilobium hirsutumWillowherb, great
Epilobium montanumWillowherb, broad leaved
Epilobium obscurumWillowherb, short fruited
Epilobium parviflorumWillowherb, hoary
Festuca giganteaFescue, Giant
Filipendula ulmariaMeadowsweet
Heracleum sphondyliumHogweed
Hieracium speciesHawkweed
Hypericum hirsutumSt Johnswort, hairy
Hypericum perforatumSt Johnswort, perforate
Hypericum tetrapterumSt Johnswort, square stalked
Hypochaeris radicataCatsear
Juncus acutiflorisSharp-flowered Rush
Juncus bufoniusToad Rush
Juncus effususSoft Rush
Juncus inflexusHard Rush
Leontodon autumnalisHawkbit, autumn
Leontodon hispidusHawkbit, rough
Ligustrum vulgareWild privet
Myosotis laxaForgetmenot, tufted
Origanum vulgareMarjoram
Paris quadrifoliaHerb Paris
Phalaris arundinaceaReed Grass
Pimpinella saxifragaBurnet saxifrage, lesser
Prunus padusBird cherry
Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticumWatercress, common
Rubus caesiusDewberry
Rubus fruticosusBramble
Rubus idaeusRaspberry
Rubus saxatilisStone bramble
Rumex crispusDock, curled
Rumex obtusifoliusDock, broad leaved
Rumex sanguineusDock, wood
Scabiosa columbariaScabious, small
Senecio aquaticusRagwort, marsh
Senecio jacobeaRagwort, common
Stachys officinalisBetony
Stellaria uliginosaStitchwort, bog
Succisa pratensisScabious, devilsbit
Thymus polytrichusThyme
Torilis japonicaHedge parsley, upright
Trifolium mediumClover, zigzag
Verbascum thapsusMullein, great
Stone bramble plant Rubus saxatilis
Stone bramble (Rubus saxatilis)

© Gill Smith August 2008. Pictures © Gill Smith & Jane Smyth 2008

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