Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Up North Part 1: Northumberland

We spent a couple of weekends up north in July and August as well as passing through on our way up to Scotland. We visited a couple of good sites in Northumberland namely Lindisfarne and the Williamston Reserve on the River South Tyne near Slaggyford. We visited Williamston in mid July during the small heatwave, but it was probably the only place in the whole country where it rained. We sat out a long heavy shower in the car before making our way into the now hot, steamy and midge infested reserve which is situated along the east bank of the river. The reserve is one of the finest examples of Calaminarian grassland in the area. Calaminarian means that the ground is rich in toxic heavy metals. The sediment between the cobbles is contaminated with heavy metals derived from former mining activity upstream, particularly lead, zinc, cadmium and barium. An interesting range of metallophyte species occurs, both on the grassland an in the wooded areas.





Alpine Penny-cress - Thlaspi caerulescens


Pyrenean Scurvygrass- Cochlearia pyrenaica


Mountain Pansy - Viola lutea 


Monkey Flower Hybrid - Mimulus sp.

Blood Drop Emlets -Mimulus luteus have been known to grow here but I think these are its hybrid with Monkeyflower.


In the wooded area an orchid called 'Tyne Helleborine' grows.
'Tyne Helleborine' isn't an official name for it and it doesn't have a separate scientific name from Dune Helleborine of which it is a variety (probably) It is basically an inland version of Dune Helleborine and as it is often found along the River South Tyne it as acquired the name Tyne.




Tyne Helleborine - Epipactis dunensis var tynensis.

A week later we were in Northumberland again on our way to Scotland and took the opportunity to  pop over to Lindisfarne (Yes, I know you don't just pop over to Lindisfarne, it's miles out of the way!) because another Dune Helleborine was in flower there. The Lindisfarne Helleborine, which unlike the 'Tyne Helleborine' not only as an official scientific name it has been promoted from a subspecies to a separate species which is endemic to Lindisfarne. Don't ask me why? (although I think it's all in the DNA).



The Lindisfarne Helleborine is small, pale green and blends into the vegetation. It's pretty difficult to find even when you know you're in the right area. We were a little on the late side and could only find one plant which looked in good condition. Unfortunately from a photography point of view the plants' foliage tends to brown off before the flower spikes are fully open.




Lindisfarne Helleborine - Epipactis sancta





Autumn Gentian - Gentianella amarella ssp septentrionalis 




Seaside Centaury - Centaurium littorale.


Northern Marsh OrchidDactylorhiza purpurella


There's an awful lot of the awful Piri-piri Bur. I had to throw my socks away!


The fine sediment between the cobbles is contaminated with heavy metals derived from mining activity upstream, particularly lead, zinc, cadmium and barium - See more at: http://www.nwt.org.uk/reserves/williamston#sthash.69kO9nmC.dpuf
The fine sediment between the cobbles is contaminated with heavy metals derived from mining activity upstream, particularly lead, zinc, cadmium and barium - See more at: http://www.nwt.org.uk/reserves/williamston#sthash.69kO9nmC.dpufand as an interesting assemblege of

2 comments:

James Langiewicz said...
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James Langiewicz said...

We've walked the same paths last year, you're images are amazing and bring back some great memories too

Cheers
Jim&Dawn

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