October 2000

Sunday 1st October – Winscar – The reservoir high on the moors reflects the blue sky. An autumnal coolness pervades. Meadow Pipits pipe. Smoke rises from a chimney in the small group of houses below the dam at Dunford Bridge. The moors, conifer plantations and pastures are multi-hued greens. A Moth, probably one of the yellow-underwings (it, unhelpfully, does not expose its underwing) is feeding energetically on a thistle.

Friday 6th October – Barnsley Canal – A bright chilly autumn morning. Grass is drenched with dew. Pinking Chaffinches call from either side of the canal. A family of Dunnocks chase around bramble thicket. Hips and Haws are shiny red, awaiting the winter thrushes to disperse their precious seeds. A plop and a few ripples marks the departure of a Water Vole from the bank into the green surfaced canal. In the shade of an Ash, the grass is whitened by a hint of frost. A Willow Tit searches the interior of a Hawthorn, calling incessantly. Water Speedwell is in flower in the canal.

Saturday 14th October – Barnsley – A charm of Goldfinches feed on the heads of Teasels by Redbrook industrial estate.

Ingleton – A village on the route from Yorkshire to the English Lake District. It lies on the confluence of two Pennine Dales’ rivers, the Twiss and the Doe. The Twiss drains Kingsdale and the Doe drains Chapel-le-Dale. The floors of these dales end high above Ingleton, so the rivers plunge down through gorges to the village. A walk takes one up the Twiss to Kingsdale and then down the Doe back to Ingleton. Inevitably it is raining. In the car park are clumps of Honey Fungus, which gets cropped later for dinner. We set off up Swilla Glen. Dill the Dog is hyperactive, chasing around the wet grasses and getting gloriously muddy. The River Twiss is coloured like strong tea from the peat on the dale. The surrounding gorge is early Carboniferous limestone, which is folded and tilted. A fallen tree is studded with coins hammered into the wood – a strange piece of sculpture. There is then a great fault, the North Craven Fault, in the rocks and it becomes Ordovician Shale. A bridge crosses the rushing waters and another fault and the rock is now a mixture of Ordovician slates and sandstones. The difference in the erosive qualities of these rocks results in spectacular waterfalls – the Pecca Falls. The waters thunders down the gorge frothing like Guinness. The country now opens out with high dale sides above and scree lining the steep grassy slopes. The path leads to Thornton Force. Here the upper part of the cliff is horizontally bedded Carboniferous limestone, whilst the lower part is vertically bedded Lower Ordovician slates. At the junction of the beds, the slates have been planed off and the limestone rests on a level surface. This is called an unconformity because the beds above and below the erosion surface have a different angle of dip. This results in a 14 metre waterfall.