Gait Barrows NNR

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Rob Petley-Jones ( Second from right
Despite the dreadful weather forecast and the downpours we experienced driving north the Gail Barrows we enjoyed an almost rain free day with on and off sunshine. We were met by Rob Petley-Jones, area reserves manager for Natural England, who had opened the access gate to allow us to park in the centre of the reserve. After a brief introduction Rob escorted us round the site pointing out many of the specialities growing in the deep fissures, grimes, of the limestone pavement. Even the car parking area was a mass of Rock Roses and Wild Thyme  were White-tailed bees were foraging amongst the flowers. 
As a positive tyro to the world of botany I stand back in awe at the breadth of knowledge within the group, not only flowers but mosses, grasses, sedges, butterflies, moths and birds are readily identified. Many recognised instantly but field guides were on constant use during the day to separate similar species. David Earl, BSBI Recorder for Lancashire, was leading the remainder of the walk which took in the area surrounding Hawes Water and shared his extensive knowledge and encouraged novices such as myself to work through the various indicators to identify species new to us. 
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Rock Rose & Wild Thyme
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This Dark Red Helleborine Epipactis atrorubens growing in grike of limestone pavement was just one of the many species seen including Wood Sage Teucrium scorodnia, Heath Speedwell Veronica officinalis, Hairy Violet hirta, Pale St John's-wort Hypericum montanum.

The next field trip is shared with the Wild Flower Society to Yarrow Valley Country Park in Chorley and will be led by Julie Clarke.