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Brimham Moor

Friday 10th August 2001, North Yorkshire

Brimham Moorpurple moor-grass IT'S THE PERFECT fresh, sunny afternoon to take a walk around Brimham Rocks, near Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire. The Bilberries are ripe (although bilberry-pickers have been busy, so you'll have to search for them) and Heather is in bloom. Purple Moor-grass is in dark purple flower by the sides of the paths.

heatherbilberryThe National Trust manage Brimham Moor without any of the traditional burning off of old heather which you'd find on a grouse moor. Instead clumps of heather are left mature naturally. They become bushy and die off in the middle, collapsing outwards and producing a bare area in the centre which is colonised by mosses, lichens and ferns. Even so, every few years, parts of the moor are flailed to clear them of old heather plants. This form of management may not produce conditions that support huge numbers of grouse, but it does result in a more varied flora.

cow-wheat Common Cow-wheat a scrambling plant at the grassy edge of the path has twin tubular yellow flowers. It is semi-parasitic on other plants.

Mining Bees

mining bee colony There's what at first sight looks like swarming honey bees along a sandy, gritty stretch of the path. They're actually Mining Bees, Andrena. The path is peppered with their nest holes. Although I crouch down and watch them for a minute or two I don't see a single one enter a hole, although several are closely investigating the ground. They seem more interested in chasing after one another, so I wonder if these are males watching out for the females which, presumably, are the nest-builders.

mining bees This species is probably Andrena fuscipes;
Most of the (mining bee) species appear in early spring and can be sen on willow catkins, forsythia and other spring flowers. However, this species is not seen till August-September and then almost exclusively in heather districts.

mining beeLief Lyneborg (edited by Arnold Darlington in the English Edition) Dune and Moorland page

Related Link

There's more about Brimham Rocks at Daelnet ' . . . the internet gateway for the dales'. The recently re-designed site now features regular news updates from the Yorkshire Dales.

The National Trust.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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