Hutton Roof from Plain Quarry – with Forest Bug Sequence

Hutton Roof Trig Pillar

This used to be a favourite walk of mine: park at the long disused Plain Quarry, walk up to the top of Hutton Roof Crags, down to Hutton Roof village (by one of several different possible routes) and back below Park Wood (a National Nature Reserve). Then Cumbria Wildlife Trust bought Hutton Roof Crags, many trees were felled and if I remember right, access to the quarry was closed off for a while. It’s obviously a long time since I’ve been this way, because the quarry had a make-over several years ago and is now an official car-park complete with interpretation boards and public sculpture.

On this occasion we needed a shorter walk, so up and down by the same route was deemed sufficient. The upper slopes, as the path approaches the top, are still rather unkempt and bleak with some cut logs still piled about and many small tree stumps still jutting up. TBH was quite critical; I think she was put in mind of a Paul Nash painting of a Flanders battle field. No doubt that will soften over time as new vegetation is established, and the lack of trees does mean that the panorama opens up before the summit is reached, and what a panorama it is with Ingleborough dominating to the south east and clockwise from there the Forest of Bowland, Morecambe Bay, the Lakeland Fells, the Howgills and the quiet hills of the western edge of the Pennines. (It wasn’t the clearest of days but there are pictures from a previous walk here.)

Only S was with TBH and myself – his siblings were spending the week doing exciting outdoor activities with Dallam School: canoeing, caving, climbing, ghyll scrambling and kayaking. Lucky them.

When I stopped to photograph this moss…


…growing from one of the remnant tree stumps, S discovered that the wood was soft, rotten, and could be kicked, or pulled apart quite easily. His excavating revealed…


..this large, and not entirely unattractive slug, with it’s tiger-striped sole. I can’t identify which sort of slug it is, so if anyone can help….?

I can’t identify this very pale bee either…

Pale bee on herb robert

S was very taken with the limestone pavements and enjoyed scrambling, and alarmingly, running over them. Next time we visit a more extensive exploration of Hutton Roof Crags is on the cards.

Limestone pavement playground 

Like buses, forest bugs seem to come in twos – having seen and photographed one for the first time a couple of days before, I saw one again on this walk. I tend to think that bugs, like me, are plodding earth-bound creatures, but this one came whirring over my shoulder, and like a trapeze artist landed grasping a grass stalk.

Forest bug on grass seedhead

I watched  with admiration as it…

 Forest bug again

…turned itself about…

More forest bug action

…and headed down the stem…

Forest bug - going down.

Almost there...


Down! the ground.

Lady's mantle with water

Celestial water.

Medieval alchemists collected the dew from lady’s mantle at dawn and used it in their experiments to manufacture gold from common metals. They called it ‘celestial water’, for obviously it has strange properties: lady’s mantle leaves bore big pearls of dew when all the other leaves had none. The reason for this is a process known as guttation. It occurs in conditions of high humidity when water cannot be lost from the leaves as vapour, and lady’s mantle forces water out of the tiny leaf-holes through which it ‘breathes’.

Reader’s Digest Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain

If you are interested in walking on Hutton Roof Crags, or the neighbouring Holme Park Fell (which is Farleton Fell as far as I am concerned) you might be interested in this leaflet, jointly produced by the many conservation groups which own some of the land here.

If you are venturing onto Hutton Roof Crags be warned that the attractive map on the leaflet isn’t much use for navigation and, unusually, the OS map isn’t a great deal better. But this map, produced by the Whittington Website, is superbly detailed, it’s only a shame that it doesn’t extend to show Dalton Crags or Lancelot Clark Storth.

Hutton Roof from Plain Quarry – with Forest Bug Sequence