This Blog covers nature sightings and related news in the Calderdale area.
It includes all groups - Plants, animals and fungi with links to specialist sites.
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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Fern Leaved Beech

Fern Leaved Beech, Fagus sylvatica 'Asplenifolia', is a grafted tree first cultivated in 1804 that often has both the common beech leaves and the cut-leaved 'fern' shaped ones on the same tree. 

You may know the one in the park at Todmorden but my photos also show one near Dobroyd Castle. It was planted about 1869 by Edward Kemp (who probably planted the one in Todmorden park). Notice the huge bulge near the base where the tree was grafted.

                                                Dobroyd, Todmorden

                                        Centre Vale Park

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Tree inscriptions

Many of you will have noticed names and dates etc scribed into the bark of trees, particularly Beech because of its smooth and thin bark.

I discovered this on a Beech in Todmorden and if you look closely it says "Charter Day 1896" and obviously celebrates the town gaining status as a Borough Council in that year. It's in an area away from the public so I doubt anyone has ever seen it before. Amazing that 118 years later it is still readable.

Can anyone beat that date for an earlier inscription? Maybe it should be on a local Notable Tree Register.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Change of Venue for the Tuesday 14th Oct Talk

The library is unavailable due to industrial action, so I have booked the Fire Station Community Room at Skircoat Moor Rd. King Cross, Halifax, usual times 7.00pm - 9.30pm.. Postcode HX3 1JF

It's opposite Wainhouse Tower.

The speaker is William Varley on the subject the Rocks and Landscape of the English Lake District.
Will is from West Yorkshire Geology Trust.

Walk to see Rock Art form Prehistoric times. Weds 8th Oct.

David Shepherd, our Archaeologist member, is leading us on an informal walk at Withens Clough Res tomorrow at 10.45am from the Res Car Park. ( Off Cragg Vale, Mytholmroyd.)

All welcome, no charge. Waterproof boots and a bit of lunch would come in handy. Over-trousers might be useful  too. The walk is easy/ moderate, and not a great distance.

This was postponed from the summer due to severe thunderstorms being predicted at the time.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Ash Trees

As a follow-on from the Ash disease posting, here is a very large Ash by the side of the canal towpath at Luddenfoot. It must be one of the largest girth maiden Ash we have locally and probably is as old as the canal. I hope someone is looking after it. We need a local Notable Tree Register to document these 'forgotten' specimens.

Luddenden Foot

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park at Bretton Hall has trees that hold my interest more than some of the sculptures. This Ash is individually fenced and is fantastic. It appears at first to be a complete tree until you look at the other side to see it is only a third of its original diameter. It must be approaching 6oo years old and the only reason it is this old is because of past management as a pollard. Not one other passer-by even glanced at it.

Pollarding is out of fashion and misunderstood by many people in the tree profession but look at this photo to see that as long as there is functioning sapwood, trees can survive. Pollarding rejuvenates the tree and re-sets the clock.

Ash looking 'whole'
Showing outer skin of sapwood

The tree is still pollarded regularly

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Ash Dieback Disease

This serious threat to Ash trees caused by the Chalara fraxinea fungus is getting closer; see this Craven Herald report

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Velvet Shield - Park wood.

I went looking for the Parasitic Boletes today in Park wood, Elland, without any luck but did find some nice fungi. Pick of the bunch I think were these Velvet Shields (Pluteus umbrosus).

The caps had a lovely, velvet appearance and the gills were pinkish, dark-edged and free. I feel confident on the ID but if anyone knows different please let me know.