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Posted on October 3, 2010 by Ash
I went for a wander with my father last week. Here he is, taking a photograph in Oaken Clough. You can tell it’s autumn now. [See this photo in black and white?]
Oaken Clough is a small valley surrounded by moorland. It’s a wonderful and pristine world of beauty.
The stream flowing down the valley is dotted with tiny cascades. [See this photo in black and white?]
This birch was growing out of an exposed rock-face at a brave angle.
Those leaves on the right are proof that Oaken Clough does actually have an oak tree in it! I’ve found two so far...
A fungal selection box. I think the top two belong to the same species, but are at different stages of development. The bottom right mushroom was a big ‘un!
A section of gnarly, lichen-encrusted rowan stem.
This spinning foam cake was freshly baked by the stream.
Posted on October 8, 2010 by Ash
An immature razor strop / birch polypore (Piptoporus betulinus) bracket growing from a branch on a fine birch tree.
This spikey-looking moss is actually soft and strokeable.
Ewden Force! – looking much smaller than when seen in the flesh.
Peering over the main flow of the waterfall (standing on the big stone slab).
Another local river that leads into the River Don is called the Little Don or Porter Don because, like Ewden Beck here, the water is the colour of porter (a dark beer).
The view from Earnshaw Ridge towards Thorpe’s Brow (woodland on the left) and Millstones Wood (woodland in the centre, actually behind Thorpe’s Brow).
Earnshaw Ridge: desolation or splendour?
Posted on October 12, 2010 by Ash
On Sunday (101010) I returned from the wedding of two friends to one of those perfect autumn afternoons. I couldn’t a waste a beauty like that so, spurred on by the best display of mushrooms on our lawn that I can remember, I set off around Langsett Reservoir anticipating a real smörgåsbord of fungi. I wasn’t disappointed!
This is the overflow for the reservoir. The water level is really low at the moment so it’s bone dry.
See how much of the dam wall is exposed!
Some years ago I came to the top of this cliff a few times with my father to try and photograph the perfect sunset. We might have got a few good ones.
Score! A fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) in a pine plantation on the edge of the reservoir.
Quite a big mushroom – some flavour of Lactarius, I think.
Canada geese (Branta Canadensis). Gearing up for migration?
After climbing away from the water’s edge, I joined a path that headed down through the pines to a sparkling reflection of the evening sunlight…
Walking out of the trees I was met with this sight: the receded waters have revealed a stony beach!
Posted on October 17, 2010 by Ash
Last Sunday I returned from the wedding of two friends to one of those perfect autumn afternoons. I couldn’t a waste a beauty like that so, spurred on by the best display of mushrooms on our lawn that I can remember, I set off around Langsett Reservoir anticipating a real smörgåsbord of fungi. I wasn’t disappointed!
This is definitely some kind of Leccinum fungus, identifiable by the scabers (‘scabs’ or ‘small, rigid projections’) on the stem, but to which species it belongs I could not say for sure. My guess is that it’s a foxy bolete (Leccinum vulpinus), a species that forms mycorrhizal associations with conifers. I found this mushroom growing on the edge of one of the pine plantations by Langsett Reservoir.
This mushroom was nearby and probably belongs to the same species; either way it is a definite Leccinum. It is at an immature stage, with the cap not yet having attained full size.
More Leccinum, with one particularly large example (pine cone for scale!)
Only a couple of days after I went on this walk and took these photos, fungi were the subject of The Times’s Weather Eye column, written by Paul Simons:
It has come as a huge relief to be dry again after weeks of rain, but those downpours left a remarkable legacy – a bumper crop of wild mushrooms.
I definitely know what this fella is: an immature fly agaric (Amanita muscaria).
Classic fly agaric. According to Jordan’s Fungi 1, they are “Dangerously poisonous, hallucinogenic, but generally non-fatal.”
The white bits on top of the cap are “velar remnants, readily washed off by rain”. Velar refers to the veil, the “Protective layer of tissue enclosing the emerging fruit body, which ruptures and disperses (sometimes leaving various remnants).” [Definition from Wild About Britain.]
Here you can see the ring on the stem, “white or tinged yellow, membraneous and pendant with double margin”. The ring is another remnant of the veil.
Again I’m not sure, but I think this clavaroid fungus may be a golden clavaria or golden coral fungus (Ramaria aurea). It was like a tiny bonfire in the leaf litter.
Posted on October 22, 2010 by Ash
The Sunday before last, I returned from the wedding of two friends to one of those perfect autumn afternoons. I couldn’t a waste a beauty like that so, spurred on by the best display of mushrooms on our lawn that I can remember, I set off around Langsett Reservoir anticipating a real smörgåsbord of fungi. I wasn’t disappointed!
So Yorkshire Water are clearfelling a lot of conifers from the North America Plantation on the south-west side of Langsett Reservoir.
[From one of Yorkshire Water’s information boards at Langsett, under the title ‘Reversing Woodland Bird Decline – East Midlands Woodland Bird Project’:]
There was a monster sleeping in the plantation, hidden amongst the trees. See it?
’Twas a big, bad forestry forwarder (a John Deere 1410D Eco III, in fact). This beast transports all the logs cut from the felled trees to a stacking area where they can be loaded onto a lorry and taken away for processing.
A whole load of razor stop or birch polypore (Piptoporus betulinus) brackets jutting from a dead downy birch (Betula pubescens) stem.
Here a living downy birch grows beneath a canopy of larch. Are they for the chop too?
Just upstream of where the Porter or Little Don River enters Langsett Reservoir at its most westerly point, I took this photo looking over the tree-tops from Brookhouse Bridge. Golden light and creeping shadows.
As I neared the end of my walk the Sun had almost set, but with its last golden rays it illuminated the lower stems of a group of Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris) in a resplendent display of aesthetic magnificence. Two days after I took this photo – another perfect autumn evening - I rode around Langsett on my bike and just so happened to be passing by these same trees at near enough the exact same time (almost as if I’d planned it or sommat). I was lucky enough to be granted an encore.
Twilight over Langsett.
Posted on October 31, 2010 by Ash
After a night in town dressed as a zombie steel-pirate, I required a dose of fresh air to purify my brain. There’s an old barn I found photographs of on Flickr that I’ve been wanting to visit for a couple of weeks now, so that’s where I headed: Swinden Barn. It was a very foggy day.
My eyes were drawn by a young field maple (Acer campestre) standing out from the misty gloom with an impressive display of yellow autumn leaves.
This auld track goes by the name of Badger Lane. It is home to a rather haphazard avenue of oak trees.
Each cobweb drooped under the weight of a thousand tiny jewels.
Part of Badger Lane is lined with some really strange trees that look as though, at some point in the dim and distant past, they were trained to become a hedgerow. But these trees aren’t the species to make a hedgerow: downy birch (Betula pubescens), horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). What is the story here?
This sycamore grows immediately to the right of the one in the previous photo. They might well be the same tree. Viewed as a whole, it is one long tree.
Swinden Barn. It is the only remaining building of Swinden Farm, which was apparently occupied until the 1930s or 1950s and demolished in 1991. The barn is in good condition. It’s hard to see from my photograph, but the end wall on the left shows that a smaller building was once attached to it. The end wall on the right, which cannot be seen at all in my photograph was very interesting in that it is covered with another wall built of uncut stone in the style of a dry stone wall. It didn’t look as though this was once the end wall of another building, so what was it built for? Another wall close by the barn has stone shelves built into it. A very interesting place indeed – how I wish I could see how the place looked when the whole farm was there (working time machine required). From the Peak District National Park Education Website:
Farms in the water catchment area of the reservoirs were seen as a danger to the purity of the water… The water catchment area was ‘sterilised’ by eliminating any cattle from the land around. Sheffield Corporation Waterworks therefore allowed a policy of depopulation of the farmed land around the reservoirs to control pollution of the water catchment area.
In this part of the woods fallen larch needles had coloured the floor a strange butterscotch hue. This photo doesn’t do it justice.
After descending down a steep slope I was pleasantly surprised to come out on the banks of the Little Don River, only a few hundred metres upstream of… (To be continued).
Grid ref: SJ26463768 (http://www.ancient-tree-hunt.org.uk/...)
Thanks Ash, where abouts is the tree?
Yes Darren, the oak stands beside the road and a path runs right by it.
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