SETTLE and District Churches Together has been introducing children to the wonders of nature on our doorstep through eco-explorer workshops.

Over the last three days of July, Eco-explorers mornings were held at Lower Winskill Farm, Langcliffe.

Judith Allinson, of Churches Together said: “Would you like to find the names of our common Dales wildflowers in bloom, try out using binoculars we provide, follow a geology trail, and compete with other children to find coloured wiggly worms?

“These are just some of the fun activities enjoyed by children and adults at the three July Eco Explorers workshops run by Churches Together at Lower Winskill Farm, with 14 families attending for one or two of the three days.

“These mornings are to be repeated with extra new activities on August 28, 29 and 30.”

Judith, a local botanist, ran wildflower, lichens and tree activities.

She added: “Keith Waterson ran geology trips to see the fossils and glacial erratic “Samson’s Toe” along the lane from the farm.

“Les Chandler who has formerly worked for the RSPB ran some run-around nature games for the children and adults, and binocular activities.

“Sally Waterson organised colouring sessions and other indoor activities, which fortunately were mostly not needed as the rain had been avoided.

“After the joint activities and two workshop sessions we gathered together, sat down on rugs and chairs in the barn and Sally led a session with action songs and a reading from “Open the Book” about God creating the world.

“Then we had a sandwich lunch - prepared with the help of volunteers and some of the mums and grandmothers.

“The group is grateful to farmer Tom Lord who owns the farm for allowing us to use the premises, with its meadows and limestone pastures, beautiful flowers and exhilarating views.

“He explained a little about the farm. He has managed the fields nearby, by reducing grazing in spring and summer, so that they are so good for wild flowers and butterflies.

“There are toilets and a small newly painted white walled meeting room with sink, and also a large barn available for indoor events should the weather turn wet.

“We are now advertising a second club, 28-30 August, ”Eco Explorers 2”, with different bird activities with Les Chandler, and bee watching and moth collecting activities, plus the sessions we had in July, but with different flowers and trees and lichens.

“One grandmother had enjoyed it so much she asked: ‘Do you do similar activities for adults?’.

“And Ella (aged 2) is reported to have been going round Settle pointing to each tree saying: ash?.

“It was delightful to accompany the children as we walked through the field full of red and purple flowers - magenta coloured betony, Midland-Railway-red greater burnet, mauve small scabious, shocking-pink herb Robert, crimson red clover, pale pink yarrow, maroon wild-thyme and purple bush vetch.

“When we come back at the end of August these will be replaced with purple knapweed and pale-blue devil’s-bit scabious, and lots of blue harebells.

“It is great to be able to share the names of our local plants - and that’s not even telling you about the yellow flowers!

“We hope enough children and parents will be interested enough to come to “messy church” sessions in autumn to be held on the third Sunday of each month starting at 4pm at St John’s Church Hall, Settle, and maybe including some outdoor sessions in the local churchyard, and school playing field.

“We are grateful to the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust/Stories in Stone/ Heritage Lottery Fund who gave a donation towards the cost of the premises and Settle Rotary Club who gave a donation towards costs.”