The Amethyst Deceiver. The Candlesnuff. The words alone conjure up magical and extraordinary images. But these are the names of some of the wildlife that live alongside us in Calderdale. Blink and you’d miss them. But the Halifax Scientific Society (HSS) – a natural history society which was founded over 140 years ago – wants to introduce as many people, young and old, to the wonders which share our countryside, often unnoticed except to the trained eye.

The HSS holds monthly talks on natural history and science for pleasure in the Halifax Central Library on the second Tuesday of the month starting at 7.15pm. Light refreshments are included, plus a roundup of local natural history news. Talks cover a wide variety of topics – from bee sting allergies to learning more about trees – and are given by a range of fascinating experts in a way which can be understood to both those with experience and those who just want to come along and see what it’s all about! Members and non-members welcome (members £1 per meeting, non-members £3.) The May talk on Tuesday 9th   at 7.15pm will be given by  Hugh Firman, Calderdale Council’s Conservation Officer, on ‘Biodiversity, Brexit, bats and bits and bobs’.

The group does carry out some local conservation work – you may have seen them out with buckets in the evenings in May as they carry toads safely across the roads to their breeding grounds to prevent them getting squashed by cars. They also hold regular weekend walks and trips to look at the natural history of Calderdale, led by experienced naturalists who can informally introduce walkers to the fascinating landscape we live in. Walks may last for a couple of hours or most of the day for those with more time. Amongst other things, they look for wild flowers and listen for birds, examine local geology sites and, in the autumn, search for fungi such as the aforementioned Amethyst Deceiver and the Candlesnuff on Fungus Forays. The walk on Saturday 6th May will be to see the native daffodils and the Little Owls in Ripponden (meet at Mill Fold Car Park, Ripponden at 10.30am) – but be warned, both can be very elusive! On Saturday 17th June there will be a birdwatching ramble in the Rishworth area (meet at Heathfield Preparatory School at 10.30am). Look out for monthly listings of walks and talks in Go Local’s What’s On Guide.

With spring here why not get in touch with nature? Either go to an evening talk or go for a walk through beautiful countryside out in the fresh air, hear the birds singing and discover glorious wild flowers. They are a friendly group and look forward to meeting you.

More information on or contact Steve Blacksmith on 0771 500 5379 (texts only please) or Christine on

Charlotte Weightman, President, HSS :