Saturday, 7 January 2012

A visit to Thor's Cave

6th Jan 2012

Today was Jordans last day off school before returning after the xmas period (I know, it's late isn't it? Teachers obviously didn't feel like seeing any kids this week I guess!) so we spent the day in the Manifold Valley with a walk down the river from Wetton Mill to Thor's Cave. The weather had abated to a mild cloudy day with only a slight breeze and we enjoyed the beautiful scenery at this lovely spot, as well as some good birds and fascinating geology!

This first photo shows Thor's Cave as viewed from the river, and this photo to the right shows how big the cave actually is! It was formed by an underground river dissolving the limestone in that classic rounded shape, before being exposed by uplift of the land surface, and then the rest of the surrounding limestone being eroded away.

 Jordan on the Manifold bridge, there was Dipper on the river behind him! First for the year...

We found this mushroom in a small clump with some other growing nearby, I think it was growing on Hazel (?). If anyone knows what it is, I'd be glad to receive an id.

This is the fabulous view over the Manifold Valley from Thor's Cave. The rocks here are Carboniferous Limestone dating back to 280-330 million years old. Incredible to think that I was stood in the same spot as cavemen used to stand whilst looking out for deer to hunt, or bears to run away from!
Anyway, onto the birds? To start with, the small cottages near Wetton Mill had some feeders and held good numbers of tits, with Great, Blue, Coal and Willow, plus the years first Nuthatch. As already mentioned 2 Dipper were found on the river south of the car park and as we continued south towards the Cave, a Raven flew along the valley top. From Thor's Cave a Peregrine flew along the valley and came to rest at Ossam's Crag (the rocky crag on top left of the photo above). We also picked up Goldcrest, Mistle Thrush and Fieldfare on the return.

Year Total = 57

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