Malham Field Studies Centre: Walk around reserve

Leader — David Tayler — 30 June 2015
 JOURNAL 
 2016 
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

We met on a hot day near the Quarry Car Park start of the trail around the reserve at Malham Tarn, to be introduced to the excursion on the board walk on the National Trust reserve by David, who has previously worked at the Field Studies Centre and is now Deputy Director of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. He explained the geology of the Tarn and how the reserve was formed after the ice age and how it was affected by control of the water outlet from the Tarn. Thomas Lister of Gisburn, the 18th-century owner, later becoming Lord Ribblesdale, operated the estate commercially, including the nearby mining of calamine (zinc carbonate/zinc silicate - not as used in calamine lotion which uses zinc oxide and iron oxide); calamine was used to make brass. The reserve is currently actively managed to maintain diversity of flora and fauna.

Dr Judith Allinson has produced a leaflet Flowers of Malham Tarn Fen and Bog in June which is an excellent guide with 38 coloured photographs of plants in the several different zones of the reserve. This was most helpful and instructive in identifying species and made the walk so enjoyable to all. Some of us needed help from David in locating the plants, since in some cases the size was either much smaller or much larger than we expected. One of the plants, star moss, was used in the First World War in the absence of proper wound dressing, and it was discovered that infection was less when the moss was used, probably because the moss is slightly acidic.

We proceeded to the house built by Walter Morrison in about 1852, now used as the Field Centre, on a guided tour with a leaflet about the house. The house was donated to the National Trust in 1947 and is leased to the Field Centre. We started in the cellar with a blocked mullion window and stone floor which became integrated into the 18th century later structure. This is thought to be the remains of a small two-storey hunting lodge. The house is older than at first it seems. The house has a long history in a landscape with a mesolithic site on the edge of the reserve and bronze age mounds on nearby hilltops. The room used by Charles Darwin overlooking the Tarn is most attractive.

An excellent day out with an excellent leader.

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David Tayler
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Bogbean (Menyanthes Trifoliata)



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David Tayler


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Bogbean (Menyanthes Trifoliata)