Hints of a Pennine Spring


Nenthead mines (c) Duncan Hutt

Nenthead mines (c) Duncan Hutt

Moorland above Nenthead {Spot the red grouse!} (c) Duncan Hutt.

Moorland above Nenthead (Spot the red grouse!)
(c) Duncan Hutt.

The recent snow has lingered in the north Pennines, while winter is in abeyance at lower levels the hills still have the look of tundra about them.  Despite this there are the signs of spring beginning to arrive.  Red grouse are resident all year so their presence on the fell is not unexpected but two golden plover made their presence known with their distinctive whistle as they flew past; their arrival hinting at warmer weather on the way.  A little lower a small flock of lapwing flapped across still saturated prospective hay meadows.

Sandstone quarry near Nenthead (c) Duncan Hutt

Sandstone quarry near Nenthead (c) Duncan Hutt

The River Nent drops down into the village of Nenthead from the surrounding hills, this landscape is scarred and pocked by past mining.  The mines were predominantly for lead though a plethora of other minerals were also extracted.  Out on the hill a sandstone quarry, punched a little incongruously into a landscape of peat bog, shows that this landscape is still being used for the rocks and minerals that it holds.  There is even a hint of mining returning to this already heavily scarred valley.  The mines at Nenthead are an ancient monument, a relic of what made this landscape.  Until recently this was developing as a museum but it is currently closed following the demise of the Trust that ran it.  There are moves to do something about this via the Nenthead Mines Conservation Society.

The hillsides are coated in a blanket of bog: scattered mineshafts and spoil heaps break the carpet of mire.  Little is growing on these exposed hillsides but some colour is still supplied by the tussocks and carpets of Sphagnum mosses.

Sphagnum capillifolium (c) Duncan Hutt

Sphagnum capillifolium (c) Duncan Hutt


About thehutts

The Hutt Family from Northumberland
This entry was posted in Archaeology, Birds, Cumbria, Lower plants and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hints of a Pennine Spring

  1. vivinf rance says:

    The sphagnum moss is really beautiful – so cheering to have a bit of colour at this time of year. I think you’ll still need scarves and hats for a while yet, judigng by the weather forecast.

  2. Loved the photos- well done !!

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