Thursday, 19 April 2018

Spring in Worsbrough Country Park

14th April 2018
Joint Meeting of South Yorkshire Botany Group with Barnsley Naturalists’ and Scientific Society Leader Gordon Bristowe, with assistance from Geoff Jackson & Ken Balkow

Attendees: -
Barnsley Nats
    Gordon Bristowe
    Peter Roberts
    Annefie Roberts
    Geoff Jackson
    Anely Young
    Michael Winder
    Gill Richardson
    Adam Lawrenson
    Les Coe
    Ken Balkow
    Apologises from Louise Hill

On a dull and overcast morning, the party assembled in the car park adjacent to the Trans-Pennine Trail. With introductions having been made, we were shown two varieties of Alder growing in the car park by Ken; our native Alder (Alnus glutinosa) and another Alder which could be either Grey Alder (A. incana) or Italian Alder (A. cordata), it being difficult to differentiate between the latter two without reference to leaves which had not yet sprouted. Reference was also made to the size of the cones and catkins that had fallen from both trees.

With a warning that the paths were going to be muddy around the reservoir, the party set off, initially admiring the blossoms of the path side trees, Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera), Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) and Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa). A dead Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) was still standing and looking rather forlorn, reminded us of what we were now missing throughout countryside.

Alongside the footpath there were last year’s Wood False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum), characterised by seed heads which bend over to one side, Hybrid Bluebells (Hyacinthoides sp.), Harts Tongue Ferns (Asplenium scolopendrium), Celandine (Ficaria verna) and Lords & Ladies (Arum maculatum) well into leaf but not yet showing any signs of a hooded spathe.

Along the edge of the reservoir we were shown how erosion control mats had been installed to stabilise the bank resulting in unsuitable species being introduced. On the sloping banks of the reservoir we could see Butterbur (Petasites hybridus), Bulrush (Typha latifolia), and Ramsons (Allium ursinum) in the lower section, while higher up were Broad Leaved Dock (Rumex obtusifolius) and Curled Dock (Rumex crispus) and also a hybrid of these two species, and last years Clustered Dock (Rumex conglomeratus), a typical waterside species. A good showing of introduced Primrose (Primula vulgaris) added a splash of colour, and a pink form could also be seen. Five fresh flower heads of Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis) were on view, with the promise of more to come.

Many plants appeared only in their vegetative forms, including Brooklime (Veronica beccabunga), Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare), Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Knapweed (Centaurea sp.) and the Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea), which did have flower buds present.

Along the reservoir wall we found Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis) in flower, Hairy Bittercress (Arabis hirsuta), Wall Speedwell (Veronica arvensis), Whitlowgrass (Erophila verna agg.), Sticky Mouse Ear (Cerastium glomeratum), lots of Indian Balsam seedlings (Impatiens glandulifera), Prickly Sow Thistle (Sonchus asper) and Ragwort (Senecio sp.).

Whitlowgrass (Erophila verna agg.),

Alongside the old Mill race were Marsh Marigolds (Caltha palustris), Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), Opposite leaved Golden Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium) all in flower, and Soft Shield Ferns (Polystrichum setiferum) growing amongst the Dogs Mercury (Mercurialis perennis).

Members of Barnsley Nats

In the woodland at the far side of the reservoir, a number of now well-established Portugal Laurel (Prunus lusitanica) lined the footpath. Geoff, with his wealth of local knowledge, was able to show us Common Polypody (Polypodium vulgare) on fallen trees in the Willow car, Soft Shield Ferns under the trees, and Wood-sedge (Carex sylvatica) appearing alongside the paths though not yet come to flower. Moschatel (Adoxa moschatellina) was also well established in the woodland, along with non-flowering Red Campions (Silene dioica), and Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), both awaiting some warmer weather. Geoff took the party along a woodland path to show us an area containing a nice showing of Early Dog Violets (Viola reichenbachi).

Early Dog Violet (Viola reichenbachi). 

Back on the main path the leaves of Common Bistort (Persicaria bistorta) were beginning to show, and alongside a ditch Pendulous Sedge (Carex pendula) was flourishing and threatening to extend its range. An odd Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scriptus) in flower shared space with non-flowering Nipplewort (Lapsana communis), Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris), Wood Dock (Rumex sanguineus) and Garlic Mustard (Allaria petiolata).

Geoff Jackson

Here the group split, with early leavers departing whilst the remainder carried on towards some agricultural fields. Ivy Leaved Speedwell (Veronica hederifolia ssp. hederifolia) was found at field edges along with Common Speedwell (Veronica persica) and Cut-leaved Cranesbill (Geranium dissectum). The sun at last made an appearance bringing out the Brimstone and Comma butterflies, with temperatures now well into double figures.

Ivy Leaved Speedwell (Veronica hederifolia ssp. hederifolia

A coffee break was then taken when more of the group deciding to depart. On entering a marshy area Marsh Thistle (Cirsium palustre) appeared path side along with Hard Rush (Juncus inflexus) and Soft Rush (J. effusus), distinguished by the former having a ribbed stem, with Great Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) shoots in the more wetter areas. Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea) had new shoots emerging from the previous year’s dead strands, also Square-stalked St John’s Wort (Hypericum tetrapterum) and Prickly Sow Thistle (Sonchus asper) flourished.

Further along beside the stream were a pleasant patch of Marsh Marigold with a Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) beginning to establish itself. Also, in the water was Flote Grass (Glyceria fluitans) with Water Starwort agg. (Callitriche sp.) in attendance. At the waters edge, growing amongst the Ramsons were many Butterburs in full flower.

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)

With the circumnavigation of the reservoir almost complete, and along a final muddy path, Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) was encountered, the leaves having a rather pungent smell when crushed.

We were entertaining throughout this spring walk by the songs of Blackcap, Chiff Chaff, Wren, Great Tit, Nuthatch, with Greater Spotted Woodpecker hammering away and Buzzard calling from up on high. However, the Willow Warbler was conspicuous by its absence. The Reservoir had many Coots nesting in the margins, while Great Crested Grebes patrolled the deeper waters.

Report by Les Coe, SYBG

What was initially thought to have been a ladybird found in a crevice in the bark of a standing tree, I now suspect was a False Ladybird (Endomychus coccineus) which emerges in April and lives under bark, usually of dead timber.

Thanks to Michael Wilcox for pointing out that the Ivy-leaved Speedwell Veronica hederifolia is in fact Veronica hederifolia subsphederifolia.

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 Adders 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 trees, with Mahonia species 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 and Criss-cross Clover, 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.