Saturday, 8 June 2019

Top O'th Slate photo

Nice old photo showing the Top O'th Slate (Click over to enlarge)
Kindly shared to us by Michael Mullaney

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Cridden the Hill of Stags

Cridden guards you from the East,
It was that Hill of Stags,
A beacon fires to Hameldon,
But walk o-er bridge upon a Cloud,
To a point that tips the Crown
Before you came to Play the Deer,
Down and ordered Back – Up again,
No Stags upon them hills away,
No antlers hung by Stags heads 
For riches lie within thy peat,
Hazel shouts whilst birches shine like silver,
Sides with Pinner-ed becks and Cavern’s drip,
Slate-d tunnels of catacombs, and shafts to echo grand,
Breached flatts with peppered pits
Where such lonely wretched moor grass sits
Vibrato cries with Curlew’s mourn,
Gruffs and Roding beats of drumming snipe,
This time when honeydew rushes ripe,
Along this god forsaken place. 
Those becks that sent that gin to bloom,
That helped to power many a loom,
So precious to the marigold,
And sparkles to the stickleback
I can breathe, I can sip, I can swim, I can rejoice,
To a place what’s given this town its voice

16th Feb 2015.

(Explanation if preferred) 
The general area to where the poem relates is in the main the hill to the East/NE of Haslingden in Rossendale, Lancashire which are high grounds and part of the Pennines.

Photo: Cribden Hill is the hill shown in the photograph above and it's summit is around the 1317ft (Triangulation Point)

Relates to Cribden or Cridden or Keirudon = The Hill of Stags in Haslingden or (Hazeldene), 
Beacons Lit on Cribden to signal: Hameldon, Pendle, Thievely Pike and Blackstone Edge.
Then walk over the top of Cribden and across to Clowbridge, (Bridge upon a Cloud)
Onward to the top of Crown Point (Point that tips the Crown)
Then further up still to Deerplay, where the deer played and played and played,
And they played all the way down into whats now Bacup,  and soon came (Back up) again.
Staghills, Stacksteads (Relevant Deer (Stag) naming areas closeby to Bacup)
Peat should include historic Stags, Deer, Silver Birch and Hazel Trees.
Reference to local Cribden topography and local landmarks upon its sides eg: Pinner Caves, Top O'th Slate Caves and Mining Shafts on the head of Cribden now smothered in its Moor Grass.
The haunting calls of Curlews and summer drumming snipe, that lovely sweet smell from the fields below. The waters from Cridden gave the first food to thirst, then it powered the industry in the vale, and freshened flora and fauna alike.  Haslingden  or (Hazeldene) was built on the sides of and lived by the fruits offered by Cridden.

At one time I worked in the Duckworth Clough Quarry which was blasted out for its fine Millstone Grit.  The quarry was later used for "landfill" purposes.  I remember on a couple of occasions being told by reliable persons that there was a preserved fossil of a Red Deer somewhere in the sedimental layers of stone within that area.  Never checked it out at the time!! SHAME.......

Cribdens “Iron Watter”

Dose them sties with iron watter lad,
It’ll shift them quickly I know!
Those were the words uttered by my father,
All them years ago, in fact sixty two years ago
And off we’d go o’er Sherfin to find that Brown stuff,

A calls it Brown Stuff or iron watter,
But being honest It was something magic,
And it always worked within twenty four,
It took them sties away and before long
I never had to go no more….

(this is purely another nice memory I have of the past and although the iron water did work for me, I am not advocating that anyone else should try it.")


Friday, 29 April 2011

Periwinkle success at Top O'th Slate

Just a flying visit yesterday (April 28th 2011) and had time to visit the site of the rare Periwinkle flower which is present at Top O'th Slate. To my suprise it was now flourishing after many years struggling and today it had 9 flowering flowers (really superb specimens (see photo) and lots more spreading... (Click over photo to enlarge)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Charlies Spring Photos

Charlie Payne has kindly sent in these two photos of early Spring flowers now showing at Top O'th Slate 1) A Wild Pansy on disturbed land and 2) Coltsfoot

Friday, 25 September 2009

White Ermin Moth Caterpiller

Charlie had this "White Ermin" Moth Caterpiller today (Fri Sept 25th 2009) at Top o'th Slate.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Contributions to Blog always welcome, thanks....

Having now moved to Cumbria, it has now become almost impossible for me to continue with the "Top O'th Slate Nature Site Blog" on a regular basis however I may still be able to contribute from time to time. If anyone has any contributions they would like to make "to keep it alive" then please contact me at the following email address: Thanks....

Friday, 12 June 2009

Insects: Turquoise Weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus), Dancing Fly (Empis tessalata) (See below left).

Flowers: Columbine (introduction) (See photo below centre). Hybrid of Jacobs Ladder (Polemonium) (See photo below far right)...

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Clouded Bordered Brindles plus lots lots more.....

On Tuesday last June 2nd 2009 we were again mothing at Top O'th Slate and we (Charlie Payne, Arlene Harris and me) had the following species which came to light: (Photo: A Peach Blossom and a Angle Shades by Arlene Harris)

8 different species which included:

Clouded Bordered Brindle - approx 30 specimens.

Peach Blossom (5)

Angle Shades (5)

Flame Shoulder (1)

Scalloped Hazel (3)

Small Phoenix (1)

Herald (1)

Clouded Silver (4)

We also had: The largest true fly - Crane Fly (Tipula Maxima) A female specimen, and Ophion Luteus

If you would like to look at the identification photos please click here

This photo above I took earlier in the week of Hawthorn blossom and notice the many micro moths "Glyphipterix simpliciella" (thanks to Brian Clegg for identification of moths)

Monday, 1 June 2009

Painted Ladies..

Today at Slate there was very little birdlife showing, a pair of Linnets, 3 singing Willow Warblers, Blackbirds, Blue Tits but no Whitethroat or Blackcap.
A couple of Painted Lady Butterflies (one well worn - see photo), several Large Whites and a couple of Green Veined Whites.
Lots of flowers were showing eg: Bistort, Herb Robert, White Clover, Pink Clover, Dames Violet, Red Campion (see photo below right), Ladys Mantle, Thyme-leaved Speedwell (See photo above right), Lesser Trefoil, Cow Parsley, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Common Mouse-Ear, Common Vetch, Bluebell, Hairy Bittercress.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Hebrew Character, Common Quaker & Clouded Drab Moths.....

Yesterday evening we were mothing at Top O'th Slate, starting off at 2130hrs..and there were four of us decided to brave it.. we caught up to about a total of 8 moths (3 species) before it went very cold, the winds were still coming from the East but had increased in strength, and after 2200hrs we were catching nothing and decided to give up by 2230hrs. However we managed to catch one or two Hebrew Character and a couple of Common Quaker and one Clouded Drab....

Top left is Hebrew Character,Top Right: is a Clouded Drab moth, Bottom left is Common Quaker. Thanks to Brian Clegg and Steve Palmer for help with identifications...

Saturday, 18 April 2009

View from Dr. Eugenie Cheesmond's Memorial Seat

Here are some photos of the lovely memorial seat in rememberance of Dr. Eugenie Cheesmond - the first one above, actually shows the view as if you are sat on the seat which directly overlooks Hutch Bank and also Eugenie's house at No.2 Deardengate.....

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Great Periwinkle beginning to show at Top O'th Slate

Today I checked on the Great Periwinkle and it is currently showing a small cluster with at least 3 separate flowering heads. Here is a photo showing its current status. Also there is at least 4 Willow Warblers singing from various point on the Top O'th Slate and a further bird singing from the Slate Farm/Duckworth Clough area. A new lichen found at TOS which is shown here (top right) and is called "Physcia tenella"... also another photo of the lichen " xanthoria parietina"

Click over photos to enlarge..

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Rossendale Shoe Trail at Top O' th Slate.....

Rossendale Shoe Trail – Coming Spring 2009! Published by Rossendale Borough Council on Tuesday 24th March 09 This is an exciting project that takes inspiration from Rossendale’s historical links with the shoe and brick industry. The Shoe Trail will direct people from Rawtenstall town centre, through the Rossendale Valley and up to the Halo Panopticon at Top o’ Slate using giant footwear designs as way markers. (See artist immpression above right hand side - courtesy of Mid Pennine Arts...)

The giant, ceramic shoes have been designed by school groups from All Saints High School and Haslingden High School in Rossendale. The students worked with artist Julie Miles to produce designs that could be recreated using clay. Each of the way markers is hand carved to provide a truly unique way of guiding people into the beautiful Rossendale countryside.

The giant shoes will be positioned on the top of dry-stone walling and other key sites at regular intervals along the Trail. They will be placed at sites where trail users can admire the view or examine points of specific interest.

Rossendale Valley is famous for its shoe industry, but in the early part of the 20th century the area was also a major contributor to brick making and manufacture. The Shoe Trail aims to recognise this 'forgotten' industry by using clay to produce the way markers. Top o' Slate was once a clay pit for the brick factories of Heys and Duckworth, Haslingden Brick and Tile Co. and R. Holding Pike Law Patent Brick works making the ceramic way markers even more important in celebrating the area's heritage.

The Shoe Trail will start and end with carved relief brick plaques produced by artist Julie Miles. At Top o' Slate the plaque will depict the historical industry of the area from felt making, block printing, carpet printing through to the production of slippers, brick making and the railway. A similar plaque will be worked into the ground outside Rawtenstall station. This piece will be carved with images that celebrate the town's heritage as well as pictures that represent the Rossendale landscape.

A carved image of the Halo Panopticon will be included to encourage walkers to visit Top o' Slate. These plaques have also been designed with the help of school groups.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Meadow Pipits parachuting - Back on Territory....

Signs like this have been put up letting us know of the Shoe Trail Installation which is currently taking place (see tomorrows blog for more details).

The Meadow Pipits where coming through on a regular basis probably every 3 or 4 minutes, usually in singles and heading straight through in the direction of Pendle (Ribble Valley)... there where also some Pipits back on territory at TOS and you could see them doing the parachute display has other birds came overhead. Skylarks have been back on territory for some time now and they where happily singing away...

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) and Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) have started to appear. Also this miniature Daffodil was present in the disturbed soils. Gorse, Chickweeds and Mouse-Ear is also beginning to show up..

Friday, 6 March 2009

Life is beginning to spring back into th'owd place..

Certainly one of the best days of the year so far and life is gradually springing back into th' owd place... with a couple of white and several yellow crocus on the disturbed land quite close to the actual panopticon. Also daisies are beginning to show. This Stonechat was on the walls closeby, and a Bullfinch piping from their usual haunt quite close to Slate Farm.

A new tree lichen for TOS (shown in photo - Xanthoria parietina)..

Friday, 26 December 2008

Billy Suet's Song by Major David Halstead....

Bodle un Mischief un Poncake un me
One Setthurday mornin’ went out for a spree;
Four lasses we met uz were goin’ up th’ Slate-
Thur wur Sarah un Mary un Martha un Kate.

They lived wi’ the’r feyther up on th’ Cribden Side,
He’d work’d up o’ th’ farm whol the’r shuttle they plied,
“They’s all hev the’r looms,” th’ owd feyther said,
“When they leave Cribden Side for to goo un get wed.”

Well, aw needed a loom, un aw needed a wife,
For aw’d getten reifth stauled ov a bachelor’s life;
Un Mischief un Bodle un Poncake all said
They’d bin long enough single – they’d goo un get wed.

“Well, Sarah,” aw sed, “aw’m beawn to ha’ thee”;
“Aw’m too fond o’ Mischief,” sed Sarah to me,
“Un aw’m promis’t a good pair o’ looms when aw wed” –
“By gum, Sal, aw’ll tak’ un un thee,” Mischief sed.

Well, then aw axed Martha if hoo’d cooart wi me –
“When tha hesn’d a Bodle to bless thisel wi!” –
Soa Bodle took this uz a hint to propose;
An’ a foine pair o’ looms un Martha aw lose.

Soa Mary un Kate were soon left by thersel,
One day we see’d Kate fotchin’ wayter fro’ th’ well,
Then Poncake un me booath together did strike:
“Aw ne’er cared for Suet, but Poncake aw like!”

Well, Moll un her looms they wur booath still to let,
Un id worn’d very long afore Mary aw met;
Aw wor twistin’ a warp in th’ owd spinnin’ rooms;
Neaw aw’ve getten th’ feawst lass un th’ wo’st pair o’ looms.

This poem/song was performed by a great late friend of mine from the 60s Harry Boardman of Middleton and he included it on the Compilation album "Owdham Edge"...

Nearby Cribden = "Cridden" = (Hill of Stags)

Walk on Laund Hey and Cribden.. Photos show: 1) a moss on Cribden side. 2 & 3) Traditional "Haslingden Flag" stone fencing on Laund Hey - this type of fencing has always been a uncommon type of fencing, which has been used in these parts and would have been made from the local flagstones available from the nearby quarries - some of these are at least 6ft x 5ft in size, (and thats whats showing above the earth, so there is probably another 2ft plus below ground). I can only think of one other other example of this type of fencing around these parts which are situated on Helmshore Road opposite York Avenue, but I am sure there are lots of other examples within Rossendale. 4) This photo is showing the damaged "Beacon" which has long since fallen over and is placed at the very end of Cribden. 5) This is a Cladonia type of lichen found on the sides of Cribden found closeby to the moss already shown in photo 1. 6) This pond is on top of the Cribden Hill, and I have flushed many a rare bird from within its margins.. the last bird I had here was a Green Sandpiper about three years ago..

Tramping on this Hill will always bring back some happy childhood memories, when on one occasion over 50 years ago, I remember coming back over the Cribden Hill from either a days fishing on Pinner Lodge (above Crawshawbooth) or birdwatching in Brooks Wood, can't remember which but it was certainly becoming dusk and whilst on the Haslingden side of Cribden, all at once there seemed to be such a "explosive" cackle from under my feet which frightened the living daylights, and a Red Grouse flew off from that very place, followed by about 12 little grouse chicks which seemed to be running off in all directions. I quickly made my exit..

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Repairs to Panoptican

1200hrs - 1330hrs..... They where carrying out repairs to the Panoptican today (See Photo)..

The only birds I had today were: 4 Meadow Pipits, 1 Pied Wagtail flying over, and a couple of parties of Starlings feeding in the fields on the way up to Slate...

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Going quiet at Slate......

Yesterday I had a few bits and bats as follows: Starling: 4NW, Pied Wagtail: 1, Siskin: 1, Meadow Pipit: 25 plus another 80 blogging, Goldfinch 30 blogging party, Chaffinch: 3, Skylark: 1, Greenfinch: 1, BHG: 53, Mistle Thrush: 2, Stonechat: 2, Great Spotted Woodpecker: 1......

Things have been going quiet at Slate, after all its that time of year once again. Also most other stuff, especially the flora now seems well I will be turning the bulk of my attention to the Haslingden Grane to register counts of migratory thrushes over the next few weeks, has they past through on a East - West corridor.. So I would now expect very little will be recorded on the Top O'th Slate site for a while, although I will try and get some photos on from time to time.... Please keep checking...... thanks... (photo: Spent Rosebay Willowherb - click on photo to enlarge)... If in the meantime you want to check out the Grane site please click on this link:

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Brambling - First one of the year.....

Last 2 or 3 days no count because of thick fogs etc. Today just managed one hour before thick fog yet again came rolling in and stopped play. 0700-0800hrs. Movement South unless stated. Wind: South 5mph. My first brambling of Autumn - no Thrushes yet! Meadow Pipit: 46 (plus 10 blogging), Pied Wagtail: 1, Chaffinch: 6, Brambling: 1 Reed Bunting: 1, Starling: 3, Mistle Thrush: 1, Linnet: 2NW.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Still fairly quiet on the bird migration front...

Tuesday October 7th 2008 0700HRS-0800HRS.. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OVER ONE HOUR....

Today Wednesday October 8th 2008 0700hrs-0900hrs... Pied Wagtail: 16 (2NW), Meadow Pipit: 56 & 20+ blogging, Chaffinch: 7, LBBG:6, Goldfinch: 1N, Linnet: 5W, Greenfinch: 7, Common Snipe: 5 (one party N), Lapwing: 30 off Cribden Flatts SW probably local.. Stonechat: 2, Woodpigeon: 5, 1N, Blackbird: 1 Reed Bunting: 1 BHG: 17 moving S down below at Carrs (presumed local) Carrion Crow:5, Raven: 2 W, Redpoll: 2, Cormorant: 1 SW Siskin: 1

Monday, 6 October 2008

A Late Swallow today -

Vismig - 4th,5th & 6th October 2008 Both Saturday and Sunday was very poor... never ever known it to be so quiet at this time of the year in my 20+ years of vismigging (visible migration of birds)..

Saturday 4th October: Goldfinch: 6, Meadow Pipit: 14, Linnet: 2, Chaffinch: 1,

Sunday 5th October: 0700-0900hrs BHG: 121 moving down at Carrs, LBBG: 11, Meadow Pipit: 12, Chaffinch: 13, Siskin: Audible only one party, Kestrel: 1 local....

Today Monday October 6th 2008

Wind: SE 6mph 0700hrs - 0900hrs Movement South unless stated otherwise. Meadow Pipit: 147, Pied Wagtail: 15 (1N) one party 11, Siskin:2, Swallow: 1, Chaffinch: 10, Greenfinch: 1, Goldfinch: 27 (one party at 10,12), Starling: 8 (one party 5, first migrant Starlings), Cormorant: 1, LBBG: 3, Carrion Crow: 1, Kestrel: 1 presumed local/

Photo: The Red Sky this morning looking East... click over photo to enlarge..

Friday, 3 October 2008

Probably the worst day in many a year......

0700hrs - 0830hrs Wind: very strong and cold NW 15mph All movement South unless stated otherwise. Today was dire! in fact I would go along with saying probably the worst day in many a year... Meadow Pipit: 6 (3NW) Chaffinch: 2 Lapwing: 25 (wintering on Cribden Flatts-local) BHG: 2 LBBG: 13

Thursday, 2 October 2008

3 Unidentified Slim/slick gullish dark grey phase birds....

0700hrs-0830hrs, Wind: NW10-15mph Movement: South unless stated otherwise. Still very quiet with little moving... Meadow Pipit:28, Pied Wagtail: 4 (2N), Starling: 1NW, Woodpigeon: 2, Chaffinch: 2, Greenfinch: 1, Sparrowhawk:1 (probably local), Kestrel: 1 (probably local), Carrion Crow: 4, Goldfinch: 2, LBBG: 25, BHG: 13, Goose Species: 4 NW (too far away over North Blackburn to identify), Linnet:3, Lapwing: 12 on Cribden Flats (probably now local having reached their Winter destination), Siskin (audible only), Goosander:1, and the possible stars of the day remain unidentified - 3 party, they where similar in size to BHG but very greyish (darkish and dirty throughout - reminded me of the colouring similar to Fulmar, but far slimmer than Fulmer, could they possibly have been Black Tern?) in appearance, on the route East to West...

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Chaffinch - lots missed going extremely high ...


Today was OK with birds moving steadily up until about 0830hrs then it just died. The party numbers where very good today (pipits) eg: 23,26,19,80 etc. Lots of Chaffinches where being missed as I could hear parties going high overhead but could not see..

Meadow Pipits: 416, Pied Wagtail: 13 (6W), Chaffinch: 25 (1W) but lots missed... Goldfinch: 10 Siskin: audible only Blackbird: 1 Greenfinch: 8 Redpoll: 1 Linnet: 2 (1W) Kestrel: 1L Woodpigeon: 1

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Pied Wagtail increasing & nice to see Snipe..

0645hrs - 0900hrs

Wind SE 10-12mph and decreasing.. most movement finished by 0815hrs.

Today Pied Wagtails in better numbers and Snipe showing.

Meadow Pipit: 252 (2W), Chaffinch: 13 (2W) Pied Wagtail: 27 (3W and best party 8) Siskin: 20 (14,6) Goldfinch: 4 Linnet 11 (9W) Reed Bunting: 1 Common Snipe: 3 (2,1) Carrion Crow: 3 Jackdaw: 6 Kestrel: 1 probs local..

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Meadow Pipits flying through sideways in strong winds...


Wind: NE 15mph and weakening by 0830hrs. Very strong birds coming through sideways on... All Movement South unless stated otherwise.....

Meadow Pipits: 269, Linnet: 8, Pied Wagtail: 5 (4,1), Goldfinch: 1, Chaffinch: 1, Kestrel: 1, LBBG: 2

Monday, 22 September 2008

Lapwings on the move today...

0645hrs - 0845hrs Birds:

Meadow Pipit: 127 (6W), Pied Wagtail: 1, Linnet: 3 (1W), Siskin: 10 (6,4), Chaffinch: 7 (4W), Greenfinch: 1 NW, Goldfinch: 1W, Mistle Thrush: 2, Lapwing: 11 plus a very large party to the North West over Oswaldtwistle area, Stock Dove: 3, LBBG: 3.....

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Migration still in limbo with very little showing....

0645hrs - 0830hrs

The movement never got going again today, although there was some wind though light SE 3 mph. Chaffinch looked like they where picking up..

Birds: Meadow Pipit: 96, Pied Wagtail: 9 (1W), Chaffinch: 15 (1W), Linnet: 19 (7W), Twite: 10 NW, Siskin: one party audible only, Goldfinch: 2, Greenfinch: 4 (2NW), Mistle Thrush: 2 (1NW), Reed Bunting: 1 NW, LBBG 3 (2NW), BHG: 49 below in Carrs, Magpie: 2, Golden Plover: Audible only, Magpie: 2, Woodpigeon: 1..

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Panopticon is one year old today.......

The Panopticon is one year old today... sadly it is still not working on account of the recent fire damage.

(This is the flyer which was given out last year to announce the official opening - click on photo to enlarge ) If you want to see the reverse of the flyer Click Here...

0630hrs-0830hrs, Wind: Variable 3mph, movement South unless stated otherwise... Again today it never really got going and by about 0730hrs the main movement was over with....

Birds: Meadow Pipit: 225, Pied Wagtail: 9 (2W), Grey Wagtail: 2, Chaffinch: 16 (4W), Goldfinch: 3, Linnet: 31 (one party of 20), Siskin 6 (3 pairs), Greenfinch 1, Wheatear:1 (came within one metre), Swallow: 2, Stock Dove: 1, Woodpigeon: 1, BHG: 11 down at Carrs heading South, Starling: 1

Friday, 19 September 2008

Cormorants on the move today.....

0645hrs - 0845hrs Wind SW 3mph - Movement South unless stated otherwise. Very murky with fog building at times at 200 metres visability... The passage today never got going with just trickles of birds throughout watch.... Meadow Pipit: 163 (9W), Pied Wagtail: 5 (1W) Grey Wagtail: 1 Chaffinch: 11 (4W) Siskin: 11 House Martin: 7 (6 & 1) Very high and only picked up through hearing them.. Swallow: 11 (3 & 8) Goldfinch: 3 (1W), Linnet: 12 (1W) Redpoll: 6 (5NW) Greenfinch: 1 Cormorant: 5 Woodpigeon: 10 Herring Gull: 2

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Sunrise behind the mast.....

Sunny, but murky to South and West... bird movement had finished completely by 0830hrs...
0645hrs-0830hrsWind: variable 3mphMovement: South unless stated otherwise...
Meadow Pipits: 306, Pied Wagtail: 10 (3W), Grey Wagtail: 1, Goldfinch: 2, Chaffinch: 6, Reed Bunting: 1, Starling 5 (1NW), Linnet: 13 (4NW), Greenfinch: 3, Magpie: 7 (5,2), Swallow: 17 (5,5,7), House Martin: 9, Twite: 9, Siskin: 2 audible parties, Common Snipe: audible only, Skylark: audible only...