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Monday, 24 September 2012

Extra walk took place

This was a casual walk, not in the printed syllabus of HSS.

It was a chill wind, but a fine day that  accompanied the 5 of us up to Hoof Stone Heights.
Some of the others considered the carving to be nearer an arrow shape than a hoof.

The vertical mark, which I see as the "frog" of the hoof-print, points straight at the summit of Pendle Hill, way off across the valley. Pendle is the most prominent landmark looking west.  A way- marker in times of low visibility? Part of the system of lay-lines some people say exists? Dave decided it had been done with an iron chisel, not with a small stone.

It wasn't clear enough to recognise any distant landmarks, except the feint shape of Pen-y-Ghent to the north.

On the way down we passed the Wolf Stones and pondered on the name. (I've read the last English wolf was killed in the Yorkshire Wolds, and by gun, so not that long ago - I think it was in the 17thC.)

Later, Dave ( Dr Dave) took us to Bridestones, and a bit past and below them, to Golden Stones. There he showed us a massive slab that has been levered up about 2 ft (60cm) and propped under one end with a smaller boulder. These occur throughout the Pennines ( about 7 of them, right up to Cumbria,) but no one knows why they did it. Some indistinct carved grooves are often to be seen on the rock below, as they are here.

These historical features may seem more the stuff of Antiquarian Society investigations, but they are the evidence of our ancestors who shaped the landscape and which now supports our particular wildlife.

A pair of peregrines was watched circling over Staups Moor, a snipe flushed near Bridestones, and several red grouse seen flying; noticeably silent at this time of year.

Very few flowers were out, and no insects. Only tormentil, a little heather, a few hawkweed flowers.

Fungi are beginning to show. There were two very different Mycaena, one black, another pale and very like common bonnet, but in totally the wrong habitat, and several magic mushrooms, also once known to past generations as liberty caps, Psilocybe, which the law has recently forbidden us to gather. Welcome to the free world.

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