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meadow pipit

Tarn Hows

Sunday, 22nd July 2001, Cumbria

Tarn Hows THE LAKE DISTRICT seems as popular as ever today. Following the foot and mouth outbreak, huge areas of the fell tops are open to walkers again. Most of the car parks are open too.bog asphodol It's the slopes in between though, the fields where the sheep are grazing, that are still strictly out of bounds. It's very difficult to plan a short circular walk, but we're in luck, because we've planned to visit Tarn Hows, which is open again, although most of the paths leading away from it are closed.

There are orchids with spotted leaves - presumably Common Spotted Orchid, on the wet flush at the far end of the tarn. Growing amongst them is Bog Asphodel, a flower which reminds me of the first trips I made to Scotland, armed with a sketchbook. It has 6-pointed star-like golden yellow flowers. It is a member of the lily family. It's species name ossifragum, means bone breaking, from the belief that cattle and sheep that ate it would develop brittle bones. As bogs are acidic places and low in calcium, there's probably some truth in that.

ducklings Too soon, it's time to head back for West Yorkshire. Not many hold-ups on the way back until we're coming into Gargrave and the car in front suddenly stops. A female Mallard is leading three ducklings across the road. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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