Yorkshire fog, bent, and dog’s tail ? What are they? They are all types of grass, and just three of the very many varieties of grasses, sedges and wild flowers we were shown in our walk up to Long Preston moor with Edward Wilkinson, local Farmer and Lecturer in Landscape Management.

Twenty one interested walkers accompanied Edward on what turned out to be a lovely sunny afternoon. They were fascinated to discover that this small area of moorland was home to about 50 to 60 species of plant; including about 20 different grasses and about 10 sedges.

 A Walk on Long Preston Moor
was held on Saturday 13th September 2008
to discover the landscape delights on our doorstep.

Grass of Parnassus

Edward explained how the soils were formed from the three layers of rock which make up our landscape. At the base, pre-cambrian rocks form an alkaline soil when they are exposed, at the top, limestone produces an acid layer, giving rise to peat and heather moorland. In between, the shales can be either acid, or alkaline, or neutral. The PH dictates the types of plant which inhabit an area and the wildlife which can be seen, as well as the type of cultivation needed for agriculture. As farm machinery has grown it has become impossible to get into the lower fields around the village to keep them as hay meadows, so we have lost a lot of the diversity of wild flowers which once upon a time flourished in these meadows.

Further up, however, the uncultivated moorland edge has a broad range of vegetation because the soil types meet and in one area a limestone ‘uprising’ gives rise to an alkaline spring which encourages plants such as Solomon’s seal, and in the early summer, primrose. It was fascinating to have a walk in the company of one who works the landscape and has come to know its grasses and wildflowers so well. Thank you, Edward, for a thoroughly enjoyable walk. We will now see the landscape with new eyes when we walk up to the moor.