Ribblehead Quarry, 1st August 2018
Our day started with Colin Newlands giving us a brief history of this quarry. Colin is Natural England’s Senior Reserve Manager for the Ingleborough NNR, and we were delighted that he had offered to lead us for the day. In 2000 English Nature (now Natural England) took over the care this former limestone quarry, which had been worked from 1943 until the 1960s. Since then the quarry has been managed as a Nature Reserve, with minimal management and tree planting, in order to watch over the progress of natural regeneration.
We were quickly absorbed by the diversity of plantlife at our feet and, as usual, had not moved far from the parked cars by lunchtime. In many areas the soil was thin, yet numerous species seemed to be thriving: from tiny Autumn Felwort (Gentianella amarella) to sizeable stands of Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) reaching 70-80 cms in height. The recent rainfall had replenished the ponds and Colin pointed out the Northern Spike Rush (Eleocharis mamillata) (Nationally Rare), growing with the Common spike rush (Eleocharis palustris). Towards the western edge of the quarry, with nesting ravens ‘croaking’ at us, we found Rigid Buckler Fern (Dryopteris submontana), a single Rustyback Fern (Asplenium ceterach), numerous Bird’s-eye Primrose (Primula farinosa), and Mountain Everlasting (Antennaria dioica) to name but a few species found.
By the end of the day our plant list totalled 157 species. We had a great day and certainly benefitted from Colin’s knowledgeable leadership. The trip was a very enjoyable way to celebrate ‘Yorkshire Day’.