Sat 13 May Killhope Leader Susan Hepworth
Meet at Abbey Road at 9am
Killhope will provide an amazing introduction to the lead mining which has
been so important to Teesdale and the North Pennines.
**It would be extremely useful if members could let me know if they intend
to come along. **(please contact Susan direct at the address below)
If there are enough of us, I can organise our own tour of the mine. (If not, we
simply infill onto tours with members of the public – the guides go down at
approx 30 mins intervals throughout the day).
I attach a brief background note on the local lead industry, Roman fecundity and
the Killhope venue itself. I will provide a less tongue-in-cheek note on the
geology next week – including stratigraphy maps and the chemical composition
Getting to Killhope means enjoying one of the most scenic drives in the North
East. I recommend you drive along Teesdale to just beyond Langdon
Beck. Then turn right, (past the black grouse lekking dancefloor which many of
you will know) over Chapel Fell to St John’s Chapel. When you get to St
John’s Chapel, turn left up Weardale to Killhope (bearing left at
Cowshill). From Darlington its about an hour to Langdon Beck, then a further
20-25 mins to Killhope from there. Allow about one and a half hours.
**Please aim to get there for 10.15am so that we can go into the mine before it
gets too busy. **Killhope has interest for historians, wildlife enthusiasts and
botanists as well as geologists. I recommend you google the centre’s website
and do not miss out by assuming its of only narrow interest. Killhope – Lead
Some key points:
– Entrance to Killhope is currently free of charge
– There are excellent parking, cafe and toilet facilities
– It is open from 10am. **Please aim to arrive to meet me in the Killhope car
park at 10.30am. (NB: This means leaving Darlington at 9am rather than
the previously indicated 9.30am.)
– Those of you who want to go into the mine, must REMEMBER TO BRING
YOUR OWN KNEE HIGH WELLIES
– Killhope will provide hard hats and lights.
– It is not scary. There is no going down a shaft. We simply plodge through
water into the hillside for a few hundred yards with an excellent guide.
– This trip is suitable for older children with long wellies. But not for small
children who are not allowed in the mine for safety reasons.
– Killhope has a team of excellent guides and informative exhibits.
Tues 16 May Gainford South Lynne Heslop
This walk along the river at Gainford will be a repeat of last year’s where we
recorded over 140 plants and trees with special mention of the Western
Hemlock- spruce Tsuga heterophylla, a rare sight in our area. Birds, fungi,
insect galls and insects were also in abundance. The walk is mainly flat apart
from a very short, steepish section.
Those who do not wish to go to Abbey Road can meet at the derelict Care
Home on the right as you approach Gainford from Darlington where there is
room to park.
Sunday 21 May Saltburn Carole Sobkowiak
We are joining up again this year with The Cleveland Naturalists’ Field Club
again this year after a successful visit to Saltburn in July 2022 and Jo Scott will
be their leader.
Wear suitable footwear for exploring the rock pools and bring a small bucket
and fishing net if you have one. I will provide the books and other information
Here are the details:
1. Leave Abbey Road playing Fields at 9-30 am
2. Meet at Cat Nab car park for around 10-30am . This is down the steep
winding hill leading to the beach where there is a café and toilets. The
cost is £6-00 to park all day
3. Low tide is at 11-34am and so shall make our way down to the low
shore by the Hunt Cliff and work our way back up with the incoming
tide. It is important to get to the low shore as this is where the red
seaweeds can be found.
4. After a picnic lunch we shall walk along past the pier and beach huts and
visit a wooded area where last year we found some interesting plants as
well as those in the sand dunes.
5. We shall return to the carpark and have tea at the café
It will be good to meet up with Jo and her friends again as she is very
knowledgeable about marine species.
Looking forward to seeing you all.
Tuesday 23 May Botanical Survey Steve Gater
This has been arranged by Steve with a farm in Weardale. Our Section leaders
will be key for this survey – further details will follow.
Sat 27 May YNU – Ripon Derek Risbey
Meet at Abbey Road playing fields at 9am.
10.30am at the meeting place below.
Meeting Place: at SE300699 at the entrance to the sports fields half way along
Hell Wath Lane. Accessed via Whitcliffe Lane HG4 2JN. Roadside parking at
the sides of Hell Wath Lane nr SE300699 near the Sports Ground.
Tea and Meeting: This will be at 4 pm in the red brick ‘Pavillion’ at the
playing fields. There will be a modest charge for tea. There are toilet facilities.
Tues 30 May The Whinnies Sue Weston
Meet at Abbey Road Playing Fields at 1.30pm.
Cars need to be down to a minimum due to the limited parking space near the
Nature Reserve. We will follow the track to the pond and spend sometime in the
grassland beyond that has lots of wild flowers. I saw lots of Tadpoles in the
pond on my recent visit although the ground was water logged due to the recent
rain. Hopefully this will be better by the end of May!
This former iron works site is now an attractive 5 hectare Local Nature Reserve
(LNR) situated between the famous Darlington to Stockton railway line
The reserve comprises a series of species rich grasslands with small ponds,
secondary woodland and scrub habitats. The western meadows consist
of species-rich calcareous grassland which has colonised an area of basic slag
with typical species being red fescue, quaking-grass, yellow-wort, fairy flax,
common bird’s-foot-trefoil, fragrant orchid, cowslip and agrimony. They attract
many butterflies including dingy skipper, common blue, small and large skipper
and small copper.