Wednesday, 28 July 2010

27.Wednesday 28th July 2010

With other people away on holiday, or busy with other projects, it was just me today – here to carry on with the botanical survey. The skies were grey all day, with intermittent drizzle and light showers all morning and well into the afternoon. I managed to cover about a third of the site on the Reservoir side of the wall, before I decided to go over to the moorside and see if the sundews were still flowering on the moorside. They weren’t but I did find a couple of white thistles which was rather nice. The bracken is now very high, and it will be impossible to finish off the field survey in this area for quite some time now. I continued the botanical surveying around a couple of the mill ponds,

About 2.30 the skies became very dark, and I decided it would be best to seek shelter in the car. As I reached the car park the heavens opened and it seemed a good time to go home.

Apparently Ruth was on her way through the rain, and drove up to the reservoir very shortly after I left. She had a quick look at the mill features on the foreshore, and checked out the water levels.

Jane Lunnon, UWHG Archivist.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

26. Wednesday 21 July 2010

We have been absent from Whitfield for a few weeks because we have been involved in the excavations of the Romano-British site at Chapel House Wood near Grassington (see our blog for the dig at:, an annual summer dig for many of us.

Three UWHG members returned to Whitfield today, having recovered from the aches and pains of digging, to monitor the water levels at Embsay Reservoir. We found even more of the foreshore exposed, revealing a little more of the stone foundations of the mill buildings and old field walls.

Low water levels at the reservoir reveal more of the mill site © Jane Lunnon

Alan spent much of the day taking the opportunity to take technical photographs of these rarely revealed features, while Ruth checked over some details of our gazetteer of features and drawings, to assess how much more work we need to do here. She also measured and drew in the features newly exposed on the edges of the reservoir.

Alan photographing mill site features uncovered by lowered water levels

© Jane Lunnon

Jane focused on the botanical survey, and started the July checklist of flowering plants around the site, with the invaluable aid of Heather Burrow.

We were very saddened to see that one of our favourite parts of the mill site has been unexpectedly robbed out and covered with gravel. At the eastern end of the long boardwalk footbridge, where the footpath reaches the mill site, there was formerly the clear foundation of a short but interesting section of a double skinned field wall – solidly built, it was one of the few remains still evident of the old field boundaries which once divided Embsay Pasture, and could be seen on the 1847 tithe map. It is now inexplicably gone, the large stones shoved to one side, as a sad remnant of Embsay’s history.

Jane Lunnon

Thursday, 1 July 2010

24. Wednesday 30 June 2010

Another very hot day with temperatures well in the 80’s! We have been so lucky with the weather, only having one wet Wednesday, since our delayed start.
Having finished the surveying of the sheep-wash area & the stream, David undertook a walk-over to investigate the western end of the field, being regularly interrupted by interested passers-by. It is getting very difficult to distinguish these ‘lumps and bumps’ now as the vegetation is getting so high.

Jane continued with her survey of the wild flowers, while Vera, Peter and Ruth completed a gazetteer of the area now exposed by the lowered water level of the reservoir.

Completing the gazetteer on the exposed foreshore © Jane Lunnon

Following a leisurely lunch, during which we chatted with curious walkers, and Peter lost his sandwiches to two eager dogs who quickly sneaked in behind him, work continued. Peter wore a different metaphorical hat as acting site photographer, photographing the exposed structures on the foreshore and in the cottage area. We were very excited to see the outlines of the cottage walls now showing up very clearly as scorch marks in the grass, after all the dry weather. Ruth continued to assist Jane in continuing to record more of the flora.

White foxglove © Jane Lunnon

At 4pm we all decided that we were too hot and exhausted to continue – all we needed was a shower and a long cold drink

Ruth Spencer, UWHG Chairman