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Stape and Raindale 50th Anniversary
10th May 2014

led by Gill Smith and Gordon Simpson, report by Ken Hutchinson

Species lists below

We met at Stape village hall for our 50th Anniversary meeting to retrace the steps of those founder members through Raindale and to try and find the rarer plants that they discovered all those years ago. We were delighted to welcome members from the C.M. Rob Society, Cleveland Field Naturalists and Whitby Field Naturalists. We were particularly pleased with the presence of Gordon Simpson, one of our founder members and the leader on that first event 50 years ago. A group of 28 of us set off in our full wet weather gear. Hats off to all of us for braving a weather forecast of prolonged heavy downpours. However, despite some rain it was to be a glorious afternoon with sunshine at times.

Ryenats members on track

Our intention was to walk at a pace through Raindale to the railway line in Newtondale and then botanise in detail on the way back with members also recording other wildlife. However, it just proved too tempting for some and the pace was slow out and snail pace on return. But the rewards were rich. Gordon knew what was high on his list, Intermediate wintergreen Pyrola media. He didn’t waste any time finding it, he remembered the marker and went straight to it. There it was, about three metres off the path just under the trees, on the same small hump from 50 years ago. chickweed wintergreen Pyrola mediaHe admitted that the last time he visited it was in 1970. Well remembered Gordon! It was too early to be in flower and it will be revisited at a later date. [Ed: a later visit in June showed four clumps of Pyrola on the same mound, and on the opposite side of the track were four plants of pepper saxifrage with loads of ragged robin in flower nearby too. Lesser spearwort was seen in the ditch, and plenty of yellow rattle and common spotted orchids in abundance.]

What was also of interest were the three types of horsetail Equisetum, Wood E. sylvaticum, Marsh E. palustreM, and Great E. telmateia, with the latter dwarfing the other two significantly. Again, it will be a few more weeks before they are fully on show.

Some of the species on the original list were not found and we learned that they were further a field than our walk was taking us so we did not pursue them. A total of 169 plants were found which is quite impressive but there will be others later in the growing season.

We recorded a total of 33 birds on the walk with all the anticipated summer visitors present. In Newtondale we watched a House Martin Delichon urbica building a nest under the eaves of the old railway cottages and close by on Pickering Beck a Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea was seen feeding young. High overhead were 10 or more Swifts Apus apus that had recently arrived. A few lucky members were treated to the sight of a Dipper Cinclus cinclus in the lower reaches of Raindale Beck. Insects were not in abundance, perhaps due to the inclement weather, and unsurprisingly for the time of year only a small number of fungi were noted. All the species found on the day were to be placed on the Society’s records.

slow worm We were able to study the activity of a slow worm Anguis fragilis, unfortunately damaged by one of us accidentally standing on it. It shed its tail very quickly as we know it can do but what was remarkable was the consequent activity of the tail. It was about 10cm long and continued to move rapidly despite being totally independent. It even coiled itself round a finger with some amount of pressure being exercised. We monitored it and it continued to move for about 10 minutes although with diminishing effort. We concluded that its nervous system must operate like this as a defensive mechanism, deflecting the predator’s attention from the main body of the slow worm to the shedded tail.

On returning to Stape village hall we enjoyed tea and home-made cake. We had a short discussion on species found and were entertained by Gordon giving us a short talk on how things have changed here in Raindale from 50 years ago.

A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and thanks go to all those who contributed to this special meeting from outside the Society and from those within. Thanks also go to Darlington and Teesside Naturalists' Field Club and Cleveland Naturalists' Field Club for sending congratulatory cards.

Gprdon and Nan
“100 years’ expertise”: Gordon Simpson & Nan Sykes

Species list (plants)

Latin nameEnglish name
Acer pseudoplatanusSycamore
Achillea millefoliumYarrow
Ajuga reptansBugle
Alchemilla xanthochloraLady's mantle
Alliaria petiolataHedge garlic or Garlic mustard
Allium ursinumRamsons
Alnus glutinosaAlder
Anemone nemorosaWood anemone
Angelica sylvestrisAngelica
Anthoxanthum odoratumSweet vernal grass
Anthriscus sylvestrisCow parsley
Arrhenatherum elatiusFalse oat
Artemesia vulgarisMugwort
Athyrium filix-feminaLady fern
Bellis perennisDaisy
Betula pendula × pubescens (B. × aurata)Hybrid birch
Betula pubescensDowny birch
Blechnum spicantHard fern
Brachypodium sylvaticumSlender false brome
Calluna vulgarisLing
Caltha palustrisMarsh marigold
Capsella bursa-pastorisShepherd's purse
Cardamine flexuosaWavy bittercress
Cardamine hirsutaHairy bittercress
Carex flaccaGlaucous sedge
Carex nigraCommon sedge
Carex remotaRemote sedge
Carex sylvaticaWood sedge
Centaurea nigraCommon knapweed
Cerastium fontanumCommon mouse-ear
Cerastium glomeratumSticky mouse-ear
Chamaenerion angustifoliumFireweed or Rosebay Willowherb
Chrysosplenium oppositifoliumOpposite-leaved golden saxifrage
Cirsium arvenseCreeping thistle
Cirsium palustreMarsh thistle
Conopodium majusPignut
Corylus avellanaHazel
Crataegus monogynaHawthorn
Cruciata laevipesCrosswort
Cytisus scopariusBroom
Dactylis glomerataCocksfoot
Dactylorhiza fuchsiiCommon spotted orchid
Deschampsia caespitosaTufted hair grass
Digitalis purpureaFoxglove
Dryopteris affinisGolden-scaled male fern
Dryopteris dilatataCommon buckler fern
Dryopteris filix-masMale fern
Epilobium montanumBroad-leaved willowherb
Equisetum palustreMarsh horsetail
Equisetum sylvaticumWood horsetail
Equisetum telmateiaGiant horsetail
Eranthis hyemalisWinter aconite
Erica cinereaBell heather
Eupatorium cannabinumHemp agrimony
Fagus sylvaticaBeech
Festuca rubraRed fescue
Filipendula ulmariaMeadowsweet
Fragaria vescaWild strawberry
Fraxinus excelsiorAsh
Galanthus nivalisSnowdrop (garden escape)
Galium aparineCleavers
Galium palustreMarsh bedstraw
Galium saxatileHeath bedstraw
Geranium robertianumHerb Robert
Geum rivaleWater avens
Hedera helixIvy
Heracleum sphondyliumHogweed
Holcus mollisCreeping soft grass*
Hyacinthoides non-scriptaBluebell
Hypericum perforatumPerforate St Johnswort
Hypericum tetrapterumSquare-stalked St Johnswort
Hypochaeris radicataCatsear
Ilex aquifoliumHolly
Juncus articulatusJointed rush
Juncus effususSoft rush
Juncus inflexusHard rush
Juncus subnodulosusBlunt-flowered rush*
Lamiastrum galeobdolon ssp. argentatumYellow archangel (garden escape)
Lamium albumWhite dead nettle
Lapsana communisNipplewort
Larix sp. (L. decidua)Larch
Lathyrus linifoliusBitter vetch
Lathyrus pratensisMeadow vetchling
Leucanthemum vulgareDog daisy or Ox-eye daisy
Lotus corniculatusCommon birdsfoot trefoil
Lotus pedunculatusGreater birdsfoot trefoil
Luzula campestrisField woodrush
Luzula multifloraHeath woodrush
Luzula sylvaticaGreater woodrush
Lysimachia nemorumYellow pimpernel
Malus sylvestrisCrab apple
Matricaria discoideaPineapple weed
Meconopsis cambricaWelsh poppy
Mentha aquaticaWater mint
Mercurialis perennisDog's mercury
Molinia caeruleaPurple moor grass
Mycelis muralisWall lettuce
Myosotis sylvaticaWood forgetmenot
Orchis masculaEarly purple orchid
Oxalis acetosellaWood sorrel
Picea abiesNorway spruce
Pinus sylvestrisScots pine
Plantago lanceolataRibwort plantain
Plantago majorRatstail plantain
Polygala serpyllifoliaHeath milkwort
Polygonatum multiflorum x odoratum (P. x hybridum)Garden Solomon's seal
Potentilla anserinaSilverweed
Potentilla erectaTormentil
Potentilla reptansCreeping cinquefoil
Potentilla sterilisBarren strawberry
Primula vulgarisPrimrose
Prunella vulgarisSelf heal
Prunus padusBird cherry
Prunus spinosaBlackthorn
Pteridium aquilinumBracken
Pulmonaria officinalisLungwort (garden escape)
Pyrola mediaIntermediate wintergreen
Quercus sp.Oak
Ranunculus acrisMeadow buttercup
Ranunculus bulbosusBulbous buttercup
Ranunculus ficaria = Ficaria verna ssp fertilisLesser celandine
Ranunculus flammulaLesser spearwort
Ranunculus repensCreeping buttercup
Rhinanthus minorYellow rattle
Ribes uva-crispaGooseberry
Rosa arvensisField rose
Rosa caninaDog rose
Rosa mollisDowny rose
Rubus caesiusDewberry
Rubus fruticosusBramble
Rubus idaeusRaspberry
Rumex acetosaCommon sorrel
Rumex obtusifoliusBroad-leaved dock
Rumex sanguineusWood dock
Salix capreaGoat willow
Salix cinereaGrey willow
Salix repensCreeping willow
Sambucus nigraElder
Sanguisorba minor = Poterium sanguisorbaSalad burnet*
Senecio jacobeaCommon ragwort
Saxifraga x urbiumLondon pride (garden escape)
Senecio vulgarisCommon groundsel
Silene dioicaRed campion
Sorbus aucupariaRowan
Stachys officinalis = Betonica officinalisBetony
Stachys sylvaticaHedge woundwort
Stellaria alsineBog stitchwort
Stellaria holosteaGreater stitchwort
Stellaria mediaChickweed
Succisa pratensisDevilsbit scabious
Symphoricarpos albusSnowberry (garden escape)
Taraxacum sp.Dandelion
Trifolium mediumZigzag clover
Trifolium pratenseRed clover
Trifolium repensWhite clover
Tsuga heterophyllaWestern hemlock*
Typha latifoliaCommon reedmace
Tussilago farfaraColtsfoot
Ulex europaeusGorse
Urtica dioicaNettle
Vaccinium myrtillusBilberry
Valeriana dioicaMarsh valerian
Valeriana officinalisCommon valerian
Veronica chamaedrysGermander speedwell
Veronica serpyllifoliaThyme-leaved speedwell
Viburnum opulusGuelder rose
Vicia sepiumBush vetch
Viola palustrisMarsh violet
Viola reichenbachianaEarly dog violet
Viola rivinianaDog violet

* probable id
170 spp. including garden escapes and trees.
The wintergreen is assigned to P. media as Gordon has seen it here in flower. The burnet might have been very young leaves of Greater burnet.

Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus - “Springy Turf-moss”
Rhytidiadelphus loreus - “Little Shaggy-moss”
Hylocomium splendens - “Glittering Wood-moss”


  1. Herring Gull
  2. Kestrel
  3. Willow Warbler
  4. Great Tit
  5. Common Swift
  6. Barn Swallow
  7. Blackbird
  8. Wren
  9. Yellowhamer
  10. Carrion Crow
  11. Chaffinch
  12. Chiffchaff
  13. Song Thrush
  14. Mistle Thrush
  15. Robin
  16. Goldcrest
  17. Coal Tit
  18. Bullfinch
  19. Grey Wagtail
  20. Pied Wagtail
  21. Blackcap
  22. House Martin
  23. Woodpigeon
  24. Hedge Accentor
  25. Blackcap
  26. House Sparrow
  27. Starling
  28. Whitethroat
  29. Linnet
  30. Greenfinch
  31. Siskin
  32. Dipper
  33. Lapwing

We also saw a slow-worm, a frog, a newt, green-veined white and orange tip butterflies, wood ants and a wolf spider.

© Ryedale Natural History Society 2014, Photos © Jayne Smith 2014 Back to the Home page