Wild Ingleborough Project

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Access the Dales is privileged to be involved in the Wild Ingleborough project to connect people with both visual and mobility impairment with the nature within this area of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. 

 

As a result of our work with Sight Advice South Lakes, we have been able to put together a multi sensory walk which is suitable for people with visual impairment. As the walk is also stile free, it is suitable for people with mobility difficulties who have access to a sturdy all-terrain wheelchair.  

 

The route was tested by a couple of volunteers from Advice Sight and then came the day when we led our intrepid adventurers, all who had different visual impairment, from total blindness to tunnel vision. 

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Picture of a man sat on a wall. In his hand he is holding a white and red cane, which indicates that he has both sight loss and hearing loss. 

Ingleborough Nature Reserve 

 

 Despite its small size, Salt Lake Quarry Nature Reserve is a diverse and complex site, with several fragile habitats. Consisting of limestone grassland, quarry cliff faces, pools, fen, flushes and willow scrub, the nature reserve supports a rich flora with several nationally scarce plants. 

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The image is of the quarry at Ribblehead. The floor of the quarry is grey from the limestone with patches of green grass. In the middle of the photograph is a cliff face made up of grey limestone rock. The top of the cliff is lush green grass stretching up into the hill which is the backdrop of the image.  

There are few designated walking trails here in the reserve and they mostly consist of difficult rocky uneven terrain.  Within the quarry there is loose slate underfoot and further out into the reserve there is uneven chalky grassland. The area is famous for its abundance of rare species. The area is also treasured for its distinguished expanses of the Great Scar, a limestone rock which was formed by glaciers 300 million years ago. This is an excellent example of limestone pavements, along with the other limestone features such as clints and grikes.  

Our first stop is by the gate into the Nature reserve. This is wide enough for an all-terrain wheelchair to pass through. Here we central to the Yorkshire three Peaks.  

On our left we have the smallest of the three peaks; Pen-y-gent at 2,277 ft  Ingleborough is in front of us and stands at 2,372 ft, and on our right is the tallest peak in the Yorkshire Dales- Whernside, standing at 2,415ft  

The 3 peaks walk is a 25-mile circular route and the challenge is to complete the walk in less than 12 hours .  

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A group of walkers passing through the field gate at the start of Ingleborough Nature Reserve.

There is a short stroll to the bench. This is a long a level, stony path.  

 

The back rest of this bench is a stone wall built of the layers of the surrounding area. It is possible to feel the different layers of the types of stone used to build this wall. The bottom layer is slate. The second level is limestone and the top layer is millstone grit. 

 

The quarry is a small and fragile site with cliff faces and scree slopes. There is a small waterfall straight ahead from us coming out of the cliff face. 

 

There are different types of flowers that you may spot in this area, including Hart's tongue fern and Bird's-eye primrose 

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In the photograph are the waxy curled leaves of the Hart Tong Fern. 

Hart’s tongue fern is an evergreen fern with rosettes of leathery leaves. It can grow inbetween the rocks.  

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The photograph shows a close up of the Bird's Eye primrose. One one stem is a delicate bouquet of lilac coloured flowers each with a yellow 'bird's eye' centre.  

The walk continues on. Ahead of us is very short but challenging area to pass but this uneven surface soon changes to a grass surface. There are a couple of deep pits to watch out for.  

 

Now out of the quarry and on upland chalky grassland with blue moor grass, which only grows in a very few places. Flowering plants of interest include Wood Cranesbill, Hare’s-tail Cotton grass and Ox-eye Daisy, along with several species of orchid such as the early Purple Orchid.  

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A close up photograph of the purple flower of the Wood Cranesbill a small purple flower that blooms in spring.  

The path we are taking is a mixture of grass and rocky terrain. To orientate you to your surroundings Pen-y-ghent is still on our left and Whernside on our right, and we are walking closer to the base of Ingleborough which is in front.  

The wildlife to look out for are Meadow pipit and Curlew plus Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar and Stoats  

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A group of walkers walking towards the base of Ingleborough. The group are in pairs with each of the visual impaired walkers holding the arm of their guide. 

During the breeding season the Meadow pipit makes its nest on the ground in upland moor areas.

 

Our route passes along the side of an ancient dry stone wall which was built 800 years ago and it supports an impressive number of mosses and lichens such which are a complex life form of two separate organisms, a fungus and alga. 

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A small, brown, streaky bird, the meadow pipit is stood on top of the dry stone wall.  

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Three men are stood in front of the dry stone wall. The wall is taller than the men and you can see the grey stone which is covered in white lichen. which make interesting patterns on the rocks.  

Ancient settlements and field systems, burial cairns, medieval walls and old lime kilns have been found in the reserve. Since 2012 excavations by the Ingleborough Archaeology Group found a structure in Upper Pasture to our right which, was the first 7th Century building to be positively identified in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. 

We continue on chalky grassland, home to blue moor-grass and common rock-rose. The slightly deeper soil supports less lime-loving species such as common bent grass, self-heal and meadow oat grass.

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The tiny yellow flower of the Common Rock Rose which grows in the limestone grassland. it grows very close to the ground. it is good for bees, moths and butterflies. 

Across the field on our left is a good example of a limestone pavement made up of clints and grikes of limestone. The clints are the slabs of limestones and the grikes are the deep gaps between the slabs, which are formed when it acidic rain washes away the limestone. The terrain is very uneven and getting to the limestone pavement is a sprained ankle waiting to happen so we will be turning around and heading back the way we came.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to the support of the Occupational students from Hallamshire University, Jonathan Smith from Where 2 Walk  

Sight Advice South Lakes and the Wild Ingleborough project. 

'I can't see where I am but I can feel the vastness of the space. I can feel the wildness of the surrounding'. Holly