Thursday 25 January 2018

SYBG program of Field Meetings for 2018 (VC 63)

With the forthcoming BSBI Atlas 2020 in mind, and being aware that there will only be two more seasons in which to gather records. We hope that members can become more active during 2018 helping to record our local floras, and to learn how to identify a wide range of species. Members and guests are welcome to join with the group on field trips, visiting many under-recorded areas in South Yorkshire. Please do get in touch if you need help identifying areas for recording in your area, contact Louise Hill by email at

It is possible that we shall also arrange for some joint meetings with other local groups, such as the Sorby Natural History Society, Rotherham Naturalists’ Society, Doncaster Naturalists’ Society, Barnsley Naturalist and Scientific Society, Bradford Botany Group and Yorkshire Naturalist Union where their meetings fall within our recording area.

We are also considering a trip up North, well, not too far North, just into Saddleworth Moor where we are lacking any taxa records. This visit is most likely to be in the Holme Moss area, which falls just within the South Yorkshire boundary. Ideally, an outing into these Moors will require a period of low rainfall before hand, and good weather on the day. Therefore, we will require to be informed of those persons who would wish to participate, so that any changes to a planned meeting date can be quickly emailed to everyone.

Field visits can be full days, half days or even evenings, depending on the area to be covered. Full day meetings will usually start at 10am and finish around 4pm, with a break midway for refreshments. Members are welcome to bring along guests to the field meetings, however, please note: Members & Guests attend meetings at their own risk.

Our program of field trips for 2018 is almost finalised for the coming season. Because of the apparent fall-off of interest over the recent seasons, the program is not too ambitious, having just one outing per month, except busy June, when we have included two events. It is hoped that members will once again come and contribute towards Atlas 2020, or just enjoy the flora through the seasons in the company of like-minded botanists, and perhaps learning a little more about our wildlife.

Please let us know if you do intend to attend a field meeting, or send your apologies if you not able to attend via the email address

For details of meetings for 2018 click here

Monday 22 January 2018

Lindrick Golf Course SSSI 14 June 2017

Leader: Les Coe
Attendees: Louise Hill, John Scott, Peter Burton, June Robinson
Apologies: Graeme Coles & Everald Ellis

The group assembled at 10 am in the visitors Car Park of the Lindrick Golf Club.

The survey was concentrated in two of the limestone quarries within the SSSI area of the golf course, sometimes known as Lindrick Common, on the north side of the A57. A reduced group also made a fleeting visit due to time pressures, to another limestone quarry in Lindrick Dale, also within the SSSI.

For recording purposes, the survey passed through three tetrads, SK5582, SK5482 and the SE corner of SK5382.

The route taken did not inconvenience any of the active golfers as it kept, on the whole, to public footpaths, and indeed created some interest amongst some of the golfers as to the purpose of the survey.

We started in the quarry which lies on the opposite side of the A57 from the golf club house. Visitors to the site, rather than crossing the busy A57 road, can make use of two underpasses provided by the golf club to which public access is permitted.

I filled several pages of my note book in this quarry.

Common Cudweed - (Filago vulgaris)

We were surprised to discover Adder's-tongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum) growing in very thin soil which overlaid the limestone rock. They did seem much reduced in size due to the poor soil.

After surveying the quarry, we then proceed through a small woodland dominated by Hawthorne (Crataegus sp.) trees, with Mahonia sp. also being present. Then crossing the fairway by a public footpath, we access an area set aside as a practice field. Here the turf is kept mown like the fairway, but does have some botanical interest which does tend to be rather low growing due to the constant mowing.


On then towards a large grassy area, not used as part of the golf course and which lies within the designated SSSI. Here last years Carline Thistle (Carlina  vulgaris) was seen.

Carline Thistle (Carlina  vulgaris)
Here lunch was taken, and whilst gazing about John Scott spotted Flea Sedge (Carex pulicaris).
Flea Sedge (Carex pulicaris)
There were plenty of Pale St John's-wort (Hypericum montanum) in this part of the SSSI. John also demonstrated an easy method for distinguishing between Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) and Zigzag Clover (Trifolium medium), the former having un-stalked flower heads and the later having long stalks.
Pale St John's Wort (Hypericum montanum
At the end of the day I had a list of 133 species in my note book, and I'm sure Louise had even more.

Roche Abbey 22 April 2017 (part two)

The Abbey ruins lie in a beautiful wooded valley where two water courses meet, Maltby Dike and Hooten Dike. Capability Brown had been hired by the 4th Earl of Scarborough to develop this landscape.
The substantial remains of the Gatehouse, parts of which are built into the rock outcrops so typical of the area, was where the group took lunch before resuming the survey. It was noticed that a Pellitory of the Wall (Parietaria judaicawas) indeed living up to it's name, growing at the base of one of the Gatehouse walls.

Pellitory of the Wall (Parietaria judaica)
A tour was made around the Abbey grounds, and amongst the rocky outcrops was spotted Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys).
Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys)
The group then proceeded along the footpath through Quarry Hills towards Maltby. Crossing Gypsy Lane a detour was made, to the banks of the Maltby Dike where a search was made for the Yellow Star of Bethlehem (Gagea bohemica), without success. However, we did find the Green Hellebore (Helleborus viridus) now in seed, growing at the waters edge.
Green Hellebore (Helleborus viridus)

Green Hellebore (Helleborus viridus)

This detour had caused many smaller groups to form and scatter into Nor Wood. Robert & Everald Ellis found on a rocky outcrop above Gypsy Lane the Fingered Sedge (Carex digitata). Thanks to Louise Hills direction, I was able to return to the site to photograph it at a later date.
Fingered Sedge (Carex digitata)
Fingered Sedge (Carex digitata)

Richard Campbell kindly provided me with his records for this site, too. Which were Greater Chickweed (S. neglecta), Leopard's-bane, Mountain Currant, Green Hellebore, Creeping Buttercup, Lesser Periwinkle, Thyme-leaved Speedwell, Small Nettle, Oxford Ragwort, Yellow Archangel (the native variety), Fingered Sedge, Field Mouse-ear, Rue-leaved Saxifrage, Spurge Laurel, Lily-of-the-Valley and Field Pansy.

If anyone has photos or plant identifications from this meeting, we will be pleased to include them in this blog, Send to

Saturday 20 January 2018

Sandbeck Park near Maltby 22 April 2017 (part one)

I was eager to visit Sandbeck Hall and Park as my great grandfather had worked there as a gardener, and met his future wife there, my great grandmother. The 1871 census details him as living in the gardener’s shed with four other gardeners, all single men aged between 18 and 27 years. It was fascinating to visit the old walled garden, a place he would have spent many hours growing the food that was to be on the table of the Lumley family.

This was to be a two-part meeting, with the afternoon being spent at Roche Abbey. We were met at the entrance to the Sandbeck Estate and guided to our rendezvous within the park, security being a concern for the estate staff. There were a total of 27 people attending, being members from Bradford, Rotherham, Sheffield, and Doncaster natural history societies, the leader was Louise Hill.

Walled Garden, Sandbeck Hall

Some time was spent within the walled kitchen garden, which is not currently performing that function, thus wild flowers are allowed to intrude into this once working garden where weeds would not have been tolerated. We were joined and welcomed by the present Earl of Scarborough, who showed great interest in our recording activities.

Parkland, Sandbeck Hall
Blossom, Sandbeck Hall
Outside the kitchen garden a great deal of new landscaping was underway, reshaping the park to meet a new scheme.

The Lake, Sandbeck Hall
We advanced around the lake, examining the Glaucous Sedge (Carex flacca), and admiring the Fritillary’s, both white and red varieties, growing in abundance.

Mistletoe, Sandbeck Hall
At the end of the permitted walk, we could see a large number of mistletoe growing on the group of trees close to the hall.

I enjoyed meeting Richard Campbell of the Bradford group, who was very knowledgeable regarding grasses and sedge. He kindly provided me with his list of species as follows. Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum), Few-flowered Garlic (Allium paradoxum), Cuckoo Pint or Lords-and-Ladies (Arum maculatum), Spring Squill (Scilla verna), Spiked Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum pyrenaicum), Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca), Lesser Pond Sedge (Carex acutiformis), Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris), Solomon's Seal (P. multiflorum), Bugle (Ajuga repans), Anemone sp. (thought to be A. appenina), Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem (which had 'gone over'), Red Clover, Mistletoe and Crosswort.

The group than reassembled for the trip to Roche Abbey (see next report).
Les Coe

Friday 19 January 2018

Whitwell Wood, Derbyshire on Sunday 8th May 2016

Leader: Graeme Coles
Attendees: Ken Balklow, John Scott, Stephen Dixon, Sue Glasscock, Les Coe & John Brown

Seven of us gathered for the walk round Whitwell Wood; we couldn’t have wished for better weather and as it turned out it was clearly peak flowering time for the bluebells, early purple orchids and wood anemones. The season, as many people have noticed, is very late this year so that ransoms and yellow archangel were only just starting to flower, this did however mean that early wood violet and toothwort were still at their best and flowers could even still be found on the spurge laurel. Altogether it was a very colourful and enjoyable day.

Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria)
Of the wood's specialties, the Bird’s-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), which can usually be seen at this time of year, was nowhere in sight, although last year’s stems were still clearly visible, while the Service Tree (Sorbus domestica) and Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) were just coming into leaf. Common Gromwell (Lithospermum officinale), with its characteristic porcelain like seeds still on the dead stems, was abundant, but not yet in flower. Columbine (Aquilegia sp.) which usually lines the rides in May and June was just coming into flower in one or two spots. There was not much to be seen of the grasses apart from the frequent tufts of False-brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) and last year’s stems, there were also many less easily identifiable clumps of grasses which were the subject of the usual debate. The Mountain Melick (Melica nutans) was found, but there was no sign of Wood Barley (Hordelymus europaeus) at the spot where it usually occurs. At the Ginny Spring SSSI, which is a Bryophyte covered seepage mire, there was only Marsh Valerian (Valeriana dioica) to be found of the site’s rarities, but this was hardly surprising given the early date.

It would take too long to mention all the species seen, but I was delighted to be able to add a new one to my own list for the wood, Hairy Wood-rush Luzula pilosa) which Ken Balkow spotted. This is an insignificant plant with a fairly short flowering season and indicates that in the past I haven’t spent as much time as I should have done on my hands and knees!

While our exploring was confined entirely in Derbyshire we did catch sight of South Yorkshire a few yards away across the Bondhay Dyke, the stream at the north end of the wood, so it could be said that we didn’t entirely desert the county for the day.

Below is my take of the days events from my notes. (Les Coe)

Whitwell Wood is semi natural ancient woodland on the limestone belt. However, a lot was clear felled in the 1930's and replanted with both conifers and broad leaved trees. On the northern side of the wood, there is a freshwater spring known as the Ginny Spring which is designated as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

This was my introduction to the SYBG, and being a botanical novice I greatly appreciated the advice and guidance provided by Graeme Coles, John Scott, Ken Balklow and Steven Dixon.

Graeme Coles & John Scott

Sue Glasscock, Ken Balkow, Graeme Coles, John Brown

Just off the main forest track, we were led to a small group of Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), but only last year's stems were on display, which was a first for me. A return visit later in the year produced the photo below.

Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis)
Close by was a Wild Service-tree (Sorbus torminalis), with many saplings growing around it, where we spent time examining the leaf shape for future reference.

Proceeding to the small pond we noted Broad Buckler-fern (Dryopteris dilatata), Golden-scaled Male-fern (D. affinis), a Cowslip/Primula hybrid, Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus) on the way, and there found Wood False-brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum), Early-purple Orchid (Orchis mascula), and Sweet Violet (Viola ordorata).
Returning to the main track, we noted Yellow Pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum), Hairy Brome (Bromus ramosus), and then some non-flowering Common Gromwell (Lithospermum officinale), which still had last years white seeds attached.

Common Gromwell (Lithospermum officinale)
We then wandered into the woodland finding Mountain Melick (Melica nutans), Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana) and Early-dog-violet (Viola reichenbachiana) and Black Bryony (Tamus communis). Further on we spotted the parasitic Toothwort (Lathraea squameria) at the base of a tree by the side of the path, Yellow Pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum), Sanicle (Sanicula europaea) and Woodruff (Galium odoratum). A Hawthorn Tree was examined as to the possibility of it being the Midland Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata): It seems that we were undecided.

At the Ginny Spring we found Broad-leaved Cottongrass (Eriophorum latifolium)), Marsh Valarian (Valeriana dioica), Hairy Woodrush (Luzula pilosa), Black Bog-rush (Schoenus nigricans) and White Beak-sedge (Rhynchospora alba).

Hairy Woodrush (Luzula pilosa)
Returning along the stream-side footpath we noted Hard Shield-fern (Polystichum aculeatum), Wood Melick (Melica uniflora), Tufted Hair-grass (Deschampsia caespitosa), Lady-fern (Athyrium filix-femina), and then Spurge Laurel (Daphne laureola) on reaching the main forest path again.

A most enjoyable day in such knowledgeable company.