I could have asked for distant church bells and colourful fungi but neither would oblige.
Sunday, 30 September 2007
I could have asked for distant church bells and colourful fungi but neither would oblige.
Friday, 28 September 2007
Could this be what they are looking for?
It may be that the wildlife trusts some time ago were not quite what they are today. There's an impression that they were smaller and less highly structured. Now there's something managerial and industrial about them. Perhaps this is thought to be 'modernising'. If it means that it mirrors national conservation organisations like Natural England with a centralised approach and regional offices then one can see what they are up to. The other area of reservation is the reliance on national grant funding which relegates close local accountability to a secondary need.
Thursday, 27 September 2007
The coldest morning this month and the air filled with birds on a mission. Jackdaws with their 'chyucks' and many smaller birds, frantically flying westwards into the cold northwest wind.
Not easy to work out which are on the way out and which are on the way in. It's likely that many seen today were thrushes from the continent looking for milder weather.
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Now there's been some rain more signs of fungi in the grassland. The one above is a Meadow Waxcap. It's quite an untidy looking thing translating itself into all sorts of weird shapes, with widely spaced gills easily visible even from above. The experts say it is edible and I've tried it and survived. It holds a lot of water so needs little or no oil in cooking. I have to say I found the taste a bit unexciting which is a pity as it's easily the commonest of the waxcaps on Thistle Hill.
The mushroom below, an Agaric, is much more like the kind of thing people will go for if they are looking for a breakfast delight .
This view would have been recognisable to those living at Strawberry Lea Grange in the middle ages when Beauchief Abbey was thriving. The Grange, owned by the Premonstatensian canons was, I believe, just here. The beautiful headland called by the Normans "beau chief" is clearly visible in the centre of the view.
Saturday, 22 September 2007
He does say there are 63 waxcaps in Britain - in the book there are photos of 23 of them.
Friday, 21 September 2007
All around are dead, poisoned birch, punished with the ultimate deterrent because they dared to live where previously grouse moor vegetation had ruled.
Beech is one of the most effective trees at shading out bracken. In fact very little can grow beneath its canopy apart from an interesting variety of fungi.
Saturday, 15 September 2007
That's never concerned me before now. I just love the taste.
This year's crop has been OK but not as splendid as bilberry. There are only a few elder trees on Blacka and those don't seem to have fruited in abundance. My usual source is an overgrown hedgerow (not on Blacka). It's been patchy this year but one tree yielded a pound and a half in 15 minutes.
There is an interesting black mark on each of the photos taken near its right eye. I wonder what it is.
Friday, 14 September 2007
This blog would like to put forward a suggestion for an ambitious project which would enhance the reputation of the city, the PDNPA and anyone else who has the vision and organisational drive to achieve it.
Blacka Moor, Big Moor Burbage and Houndkirk and all other adjoining areas should be united in one large area, all fences removed all farm live stock and the whole allowed to rewild in whatever way nature takes it. Deer and other wild herbivores should be encouraged. Some will see only snags and problems. What about the roads, for instance with wild animals moving freely? An excellent reason for introducing and rigidly enforcing a 40 mph speed limit- good for road safety and good for carbon emissions. And what an example to the rest of the world!
However in the distance I did see one huge red stag with many pointed antlers. As I saw him in focus he was clearly raising his head and roaring in typical body language reminding me of the time of year. I suspect he is one of the key reasons why the five stags often to be seen on Blacka have sought other pastures.
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Monday, 10 September 2007
The abbey's main route to Strawberry Lea was via the bridleway up from Totley. It is sad that so little remains of the original buildings both at the abbey and at Strawberry Lea. It seems to me that the visual link with the past here is invested in the view towards Beauchief more than anything on the ground. This means that everything should be done to maintain the attractiveness of that vista against any intrusive development.
The premonstratensian order of white canons were an educational order begun in Premontre in Northern France. Periodically they were 'inspected' by representatives from headquarters. There are copious records written in medieval Latin now being translated at Sheffield University. At one inspection severe comments were made about the style of tonsures. At another the canons were castigated for falling asleep in the evenings having imbibed too much of the local brew! There is no information about how the golfing habits of the brethren were viewed!
Friday, 7 September 2007
My guess would be that it's a kind of Fairies Bonnet or Coprinus. But why should it be only in the dung? Does it mean that the whole fungus has passed through the animal? Will I ever know?
Thursday, 6 September 2007
"There's too much nature around here!"
*Please note the "m" here. It is not an "n"!! The real definition relates anyway to the flesh creeping feeling we get as if ants are walking all over us.
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
A whole day can be spent just on the inside of the building. The finest part, the Angel Choir behind the high altar benefits from the visitor taking a pair of binoculars, the beautiful angel carvings are so high. I would estimate though that only one person looks at the angels for every 100 who look at the "Lincoln Imp"; which says something about people's preferences for the cute factor before artistic beauty.
In the 14th and 15th centuries spires were in place above each tower. One collapsed and the other two were removed for safety reasons in the 19th century.
Looking west from Lincoln
Will SWT have the courage to approach the Arts Council for a grant to erect spires on the compost heap enabling Blacka to be visible from Lincoln?
Tuesday, 4 September 2007
Monday, 3 September 2007
This is one of the great wildlife sights, all the more enjoyable because of its easy accessibility. Much of the pleasure comes from the personality of the jackdaw, always likely to surprise the onlooker with a sudden swoop and twist apparently just for the fun of it.
To see this at its most excitingly dramatic you need to be here in January at dawn with a strong westerly wind blowing. The jackdaws look on the wind as a challenge and dive down close to the ground flying low sometimes on a level with the cars. Then the confrontation between road and air traffic at Stony Ridge produces scenes that would rival a gladiatorial contest. I'm sure many of the passengers on the 272 bus are unaware of what's happening outside.
Sunday, 2 September 2007
The walk goes straight down the hill following the sign to Shorts Lane through the birch wood. This is delightful on a sunny day with the dappled light coming through the trees.
Towards the bottom the route (a bridleway) gets very wet and muddy in winter, but stands up pretty well in summer.
This spot can become a quagmire. The best way of treating it is not some expensive surface treatment. This would not work. An on-site worker should come around when it gets wet and throw down some bracken litter of which there is plenty around, to soak up the wetness.
Over the stepping stones and on up the path eventually getting to the new cattle gate and barbed wire (ugh!). The next section is unpleasant underfoot because of several failed attempts to resurface the bridleway leaving areas of brick rubble. Emerging from the trees take the path on the left to the nearby summit of Lenny Hill and admire the view.
From Lenny Hill the route goes to the left (north east) and from here follows the perimeter of Blacka Moor, keeping close to the fence. There is a good variety of young trees around here including plenty of oak and even apple.
Looking over the fence the new building can be seen taking shape. Perhaps a flat roof is not intended here, but it will need to be a magnificent piece of architecture to justify the huge scale and visual impact - something like Chatsworth perhaps?
Looking back the way we have just walked towards Lenny Hill
The path slopes down to the river quite steeply close to Shorts Lane. This is crossed and then the route climbs yet again through the trees - many of them elder. There follows a stretch through gorse alongside some old and one or two newer badger sets. This is where shorts wearers begin to regret they did not wear long trousers.
Eventually the path opens out at the Stone Seat offering good protection from east and north winds. Here unpack your refreshments and admire the birds flying above the woodland below your vantage point. In spring and early summer this is a fine place to listen to blackbirds singing. Any sunny day gives fine views of the green belt beyond Totley.
Deer can sometimes be seen in the fields around here and the very lucky may even catch a site of stags running through the woods on returning to the lay by.
Did anyone enjoy that?