A beautiful sunny morning greeted the 9 of us as we met in the car park of Stephen Smith's Garden Centre for today's walk. It was wonderful to have Joan out with us once more and even though she could not stay for long her presence and knowledgeable input was much appreciated by all. We started our walk on the path above the woodland where the delights of the season were all around us. There were large patches of wood sorrel, greater stitchwort and wood anenomes looking resplendent in the morning light. Shining cranesbill was in evidence as was three-nerved sandwort. There was much honeysuckle which would scent the air in a few weeks time. Birch, oak, ash, sycamore and goat willow were all in flower and grasses were starting to make an appearance with meadow foxtail, cocksfoot, sweet vernal and wood melick being noted. Further into our walk pendulous and wood sedge were seen as well as field and great wood-rush.
Lunch was taken by the side of Harden Beck where we could enjoy the sound of the many woodland birds that inhabit this area. The fast flowing beck provides a wonderful food source for grey wagtail and dipper and both of these were seen on several occasions. Three of us went back to see the waterfall and were rewarded with an excellent view of dippers flying into their nest site at the back of the fall. Other bird sightings included jay, tree creeper and song thrush. Green veined white and speckled wood were seen with male, lady and hard fern as well as broad buckler and field horsetail being noted. As we reached the end of our walk we passed an area which looked stunning with its swathe of bluebells, the epitomy of spring. However one last treat awaited - on our walk up the lane back to our start Alice saw a wild arum with spadex. A fitting finale.
Our thanks must go to Alice for organising this outing and also to Stephen Smith's Garden Centre for allowing us the use of their car park,