A limestone dale

New Mills Natural History Society walk along a limestone dale on the 11th June

We started our walk at Upper Dale, and made a gradual ascent on a stony bridle track to Brushfields Hough, returning through woodland into Monsal Dale, to return along a short stretch of the Monsal Trail.

On the way we saw some excellent examples of limestone flora, as well as a couple of day flying moths.

We saw the common spotted orchid in a species rich neutral grassland that we passed on the way up. The bee orchids were seen in the calcareous grassland at the top of the daleside.

As we reached the top of the dale, we saw flowers in species rich calcareous grassland, including fairy flax, wild thyme, crested hair-grass, mouse-ear hawkweed and salad burnet.

Some of the insects seen were several chimney sweepers and a (I think!) common white wave.

View across the dale

Before heading back down we took a small detour to see mountain pansies growing on the remains of an old lead mining area (known as a lead rake).

As we started the walk down, we passed a natural rock garden with common rock rose growing around limestone outcrops.

Other plants seen on the way down, where the calcareous character was less obvious.