Field meeting reports
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.
I have recently joined the New Mills Natural History Society. They hold field meetings to look at wildlife.
We visited Old Dale, a limestone dale managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust between Buxton and Bakewell on the Monsal Trail. This was an enjoyable walk, especially for a botanist, as the slopes of the dale support a rich and varied flora. We saw two different orchids, Jacob's-ladder (Derbyshire's county flower), several species of St John's-wort, Flea Sedge, Mossy Saxifrage, Green Spleenwort and typical grasses of calcareous grasslands such as Meadow Oat-grass.
The first two photographs above are Common Twayblade (Neottia ovata). This orchid is shown in older textbooks as Listera ovata, but more recent molecular phylogenetic studies have shown it is closely related to Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis) and the genera have been combined.