Bilberry Flowers on the Moors

All over the Peak District moorlands bilberries are now in flower.  The berries will ripen in August and are delicious!  Bilberries are known in other parts of the country by other names such as Whinberries or Whortleberries but they are the same thing. Continue reading Bilberry Flowers on the Moors

Bluebells in the Dark Peak

We saw our first Bluebells of the year on Tuesday in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District, just coming into flower.  They are often a little later here than further south in the country. Native bluebells are protected against sale by law.  That means it is illegal to dig up the bulbs from the wild in order to sell them, and if  you don’t own the land it is illegal to dig them up for any purpose. Some estimates suggest the UK has up to half of the world’s total bluebell population.  They like damp places without too much sunlight, so … Continue reading Bluebells in the Dark Peak

Catkins

We saw our first catkins of the year today. A sure sign that spring is on its way! These are the catkins of the Common Alder Tree. Each tree bears both male and female flowers. The male catkins are dark yellow-brown in colour, and are around 4 cm long when they are fully open. The female flowers are much smaller in size, and cone-like in shape. In this photo you can see the male catkins, and the old woody cones of last years female flowers. Continue reading Catkins

Fantastic Fungi

At this time of year, walk into any woodland in the Peak District and you are likely to find a wide variety of fungi.  Here are a few of the specimens that we found today amongst the trees and grassland on the side of Woodlands Valley near to Ladybower Reservoir. We have attempted to identify some of the fungi, but if there are any experts out there who could help us by identifying, clarifying, or verifying, your comments would be most welcome!  Continue reading Fantastic Fungi

The wonders of Stanton Moor

Yesterday we enjoyed a short walk onto Stanton Moor from the village of Birchover.  As well as being carpeted in beautiful purple ling heather, there are also a wealth of interesting features on the moor to marvel over.  Stanton Moor is believed to have once been a very special place to our ancestors.  In Bronze age times the landscape would have been very different with fertile farmland, and timber roundhouses scattered over the area.  Evidence has been found all over the moor of field boundaries, burial mounds, and stone circles.  The best known stone circle is the Nine Ladies.  Local legend … Continue reading The wonders of Stanton Moor

Three types of heather on the moors

This morning our ‘Nature Walk’ took us onto the Peak District moorland along Burbage Edge and across the beautiful Burbage Basin. It is a wonderful time to be walking on the moors as the heather is just beginning to come into flower.  It will be a few weeks yet however before it is at its best. There are three types of heather in the Peak District.  Ling Heather is by far the most common and it is the Ling Heather that gives the impression of our hills and moorlands being carpeted in purple.  Less common is the Bell Heather which has … Continue reading Three types of heather on the moors

Spring Flowers in Deepdale

Yesterday was our first ‘Spring Flowers’ walk of the year and what a treat we had in Deepdale and Great Shacklow Wood! Deepdale is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the rich variety of flora that thrive in its limestone soils.  It is owned and managed by the charity Plantlife International.  There are said to be over a million Cowslips in the dale.  We didn’t count them yesterday!  Having seen the carpet of delicate yellow flowers up the side of the valley though, I can well believe it. Early Purple Orchids were also out, and other pretty … Continue reading Spring Flowers in Deepdale

A wonderful walk!

Eyam Moor Every year the Peak District Tourist Board organise a two week long walking festival in the Peak District and today was our first walk in the 2011 festival.   On a beautiful sunny day we walked from Hathersage, over the stepping stones over the river Derwent where we saw some newly hatched ducklings.  Then up onto Offerton Moor and Smelting Hill, with a wealth of spring flowers to see on the way, including at lower levels bluebells, wood anemones, celandine, and wild primroses.  As we got higher onto the moorland, the bilberries were in flower along with cowberries and of course gorse … Continue reading A wonderful walk!

Heather Burning

They have started burning the heather on the peakland moors.  It has been customary for centuries to burn small patches of heather during the early part of the year.  This started in the days when grouse shooting was important to the local economy.  To thrive, Red Grouse need a mixture of different heights of heather and low growing plants.  They nest in the older deep heather and feed on the new shoots of young heather.  As these birds never travel very far from their birth place, the buring of heather in small patches ensures that they always have the right mixture of … Continue reading Heather Burning

Autumn Berries

View Full Album   There is an old wives tale that says if there are a lot of berries on the trees in then we are in for a bad winter.  In autumn 2009 the trees and bushes in the Peak District were quite literally hanging with berries, and the winter of 2009/1010 turned out to be the worst that we have had for 20 years.    This year there again seems to be a lot of berries on trees such as Mountain Ash, Elderberry, Holly, Hawthorne, and on the wild roses.  Does that mean we are in for another … Continue reading Autumn Berries