Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Changing times

Ripe Sloes the fruit of the Blackthorn Tree
In the last days of August the natural signs that the seasons will soon be changing are apparent as you walk in the countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds. On our walk yesterday from Nunburnholme we noted ripe Sloes, Damsons, Elderberries and many other fruits ready to fall from the tree. It was also noticeable that the trees and bushes now their work is done for another year are starting to sag as if their energy is spent. Which, I suppose it is.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Kilnwick Percy and the World Peace Cafe

I've known for a few years that Kilnwick Percy Hall has now found a use as a Buddhist Retreat and Meditation Centre. Recently though, I've seen a sign on the side of the road that runs between Pocklington and Warter advertising the Centre's World Peace Cafe. Both my wife and I had said that someday we should visit the cafe. So, today being a bank holiday we decided to do a short walk that would put the centre about half way round and stop and have lunch before finishing the walk. We set off from Nunburnholme walking over Bratt Hill and heading north to Warrendale Farm before looping round behind the hall.

Ah well, this is where the plan came unstuck. We arrived by a track that came to the back of the hall. There was no sign of life about. We saw a sign that directed us to the World Peace Cafe but it was closed; a sign on the door with the opening hours stated that the cafe was closed on a Monday and Tuesday. Buddhists like the rest of us it would seem don't like working on bank holidays. We both vowed that we would return when the cafe was open.

We headed south through the grounds for a short time then picked up the road to Nunburnholme back to the car. This stretch did take in the grave of a record breaking Yorkshire Wolds cow!

Further information on the Buddhist Retreat and Meditation centre is available by clicking here. It includes the World Peace Cafe's opening hours!

Monday, 23 August 2010

A bit higher than round here

A view down on to Thirlmere taken during an ascent of Helvellyn at the weekend.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Message to Glider Pilots - You need better maps!

Yesterday, I was returning from a day out on with the family. In my usual manner I was taking the backroads to see in as much of the Yorkshire Wolds as possible and to avoid the traffic. 

We where heading south along a minor road that heads down from High Mowthorpe to Duggleby when to the right just off the road I spotted a glider in a stubble field. I pointed it out to the family and then we saw a man stood just down the road frantically trying to flag us down. It was the Glider Pilot. He was Ok but didn't know where he was. He produced a map and I showed him where he'd come down. I asked him if a lack of "thermals" had brought him down but he replied "no, a lack of skill".

I wasn't surprised that he was lost. The map he showed me can't have been anything less than a scale of 1:250,000 and really lacked the detail to be able to re-establish your position once you'd lost your bearings. I believe the pilot had ditched his glider in a safe place rather than blundering around the skies not knowing where he was.

As we finished our conversation a 4 x 4 pickup pulled up and I think it was the farmer coming to see why he'd got a Glider in one of fields and whether any crops had been damaged.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Wolds Sunset

Although, the weather this August has hardly been what you would call scorching what we have had is some amazing sunsets. The sky has shown some fantastic colours. 

This picture was taken just east of Lockington. I had to stop the car to get the picture as the colours sometimes only hold for short periods before the sun slips further below the horizon.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Zooming around

Kite Buggy, Beverley Westwood

Whilst walking the dogs on Beverley Westwood I saw somebody using a Kite Buggy. It's the first time I've seen anybody using the Westwood for this pastime; it's more often used for more leisurely activities.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Clear sky - fingers crossed

Hoping for clear skies tonight to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower - looking good at the moment with plenty of bright blue sky visible.

The Yorkshire Wolds are a good place for star-gazing with wide open views from the wold tops and minimal light pollution. I've often spent time staring up into the infinity of space. Marveling at the incomprehensible scale of it all and trying to fathom just how bright something must be to be visible from such distances.

Update - Unfortunately, by 2230hrs the clouds had gathered and I saw nothing!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Roll up, roll up!

Harvested field, Lund
Bales of straw dotted across fields form a distinctive part of the current Yorkshire Wolds landscape.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Yorkshire Wolds Way

This 79 mile route starts at the Humber Bridge and finishes at Filey Brigg and takes in many of the main features of the Wolds. Information on the route can be found here.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Yorkshire Walks Website

Mostly, not about the Yorkshire Wolds but this a great site site for anybody interested in walking in Yorkshire. Obviously, created by someone who has real passion for the County of Yorkshire. The link to the website is here.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Changing landscapes

Often the field patterns on the Yorkshire Wolds remind me of a patchwork quilt cover with the hedges as stitching. Each different crop and the variations in colour providing the pattern. Tonight was the first time this summer that I have seen brown coming back in to the pattern. The crop on a large field near Huggate already has been cut, baled and the field ploughed. As today has been a rainy day, harvesting will have been on hold. On a field already harvested a farmer will have got on with a task that could be carried out regardless of the rain..

Over the next month or two much more of the landscape will turn brown as harvest is finished and the task of preparing the land for next year's crops begins in earnest.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

In full swing

The amount of slow moving traffic on the highways and byways of the Yorkshire Wolds is a clear indication that harvest is in full swing.

Massive combines move from field to field passing down narrow country lanes with inches to spare as I squeeze in to laybys to let them past. Following tractors hauling corn carts back to the grain sheds and returning back to the fields to receive the next load is a daily occurence.

If you visit in the next few weeks patience for all things agricultural will be required as getting crops in dominates life on the wolds.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Around Drewton

Interesting objects and nature were the features of today's walk in the Drewton area. During our 5.7 mile walk we observed two lumps of stone one man made and one not that intrigued us and have required further investigation since getting home. We also spotted a Roe Deer, a Red Kite and a Buzzard. The walk also gave us views across the Vale of York and Humberhead area.

We parked in a layby at the top of Beverley Road, South Cave and set off west down Swinescaife Lane before turning north and down a short dale which brought us to the course of the dismantled Hull - Barnsley Railway Line. We crossed the old line and then walked parallel to it on a wide track through mature woodland before the track branched away to the north and followed the bottom of a wooded dale. It was along this track that we came across the first of the intriguing lumps of stone. By the side of the track stood a stone about two foot high; it was inscribed on both sides. One side read "Southern end of Hunsley Fence" (pictured) and the other "Northern end of Drewton Fence". Further along the track we also noted two other inscribed stones that on opposing sides simply had a "D" and a "H". I've been unable to find any  information on when or why these stones were placed.

We carried on through the woods and came to a sharp climb that led out of the dale and on to the wold top. Soon after we cleared the trees we were confronted with a magnificent view which stretched through 180 degrees. To the north we could see as far as Garrowby Hill and the Howardian Hills beyond and to the south east right across the area which contains Thorne Moors known as the Humberhead Levels. We followed the path up the edge of an arable cropped field all the while taking in the view.  The path soon joined the B1230 and we headed west for a short distance staying close to the road edge as cars came racing by.

We ignored the first public footpath to head back south in the direction of Drewton as we needed to take the second one. This was the way to a feature I'd noticed on the map and our second intriguing lump of stone of the day or as we were to discover more approriately in this case rock. What I'd seen written on the map was St Austin's Stone and I had no idea what this was. The path soon turned west and joined a woodline and we followed it peering through the trees for sight of the Stone. After a short while I sighted what looked like a small lump of stone but was in fact the top of a twenty or so foot high outcrop - a rare sight on the wolds. Some internet research suggests that the name derives from a corruption of St Augustine who tradition has it preached from the top of the outcrop. You can find much more information on the Yorkshire Holy Wells website.

After looking at the stone and wondering why it was so named we set off back down the track and this was where we had our first nature encounter of the day. As we approached a gap in a hedge a Roe Deer sprang on to the track not ten metres in front of us and darted off down the track until it disappeared from sight round a bend some fifty metres distant. I tried hard to bring my camera to bear and take a photo. But my lack of ability with my new camera and speed of the deer made this impossible. We continued down the track peering in to the woods to try and get another glimpse of the deer but to no avail.

On previous visits to the Drewton area I had seen Red Kites and was hoping that on this walk I would again get to see these magnificent birds. Red Kites are re-colonising the Yorkshire Wolds and I have observed them right across the area. Soon after our encounter with the deer the track turned south and descended towards the dale bottom. We came out in to a wide flat open area and as we looked to the open sky this afforded us a view across the dale and we could see a Red Kite high in the sky; identifiable by it's characteristic forked tail and the way it patrolled the land below. It soon drifted from view and we carried on across a small stream and then passed by the rear of Drewton Manor.

The footpath joined a quiet (private?) road and we turned east following it for a couple of hundred metres. We followed the path as it veered off to the right taking us back to the dismantled line and over it on a large brick bridge. Carrying on east we soon came to the point where we needed to re-trace our footsteps back to the car. Walking south back up the dale (which would take us back to the track and then east to the lay-by) we could see through the trees a Buzzard carving lazy circles in the sky as it soared on the afternoon's thermals.

We arrived back at our car about two and half hours after starting. It had been a good walk with some steep inclines to stretch the legs and we'd seen plenty to stimulate our conversation and minds on our visit to the Drewton area.

Half Moon Inn, Acklam

Half Moon Inn, Acklam
Often on a summer's evening we'll drive across the Yorkshire Wolds take in the views and then visit one of the village pubs. Last night we decided that our destination would be Acklam.

Acklam is a small village which sits on the western edge of the wolds occupying a small ridge halfway down the slope. Steep climbs in to and out of the  village ensure that anyone cycling or walking to this pub would have certainly earned their refreshments.

When we arrived at about 7.30 the pub was quiet with a few locals at the bar and a couple of tables of diners but soon after we arrived the pub started to fill up. On entering you stepped straight in to the large bar which also serves as the main dining area. The bar area was pleasant, clean and tidy. It didn't contain the vast selection of memorabilia, bits and pieces and assorted junk that is often found in many places today. Most tables were dining tables but we settled on a low corner table with armchairs.

A selection of beers were on offer and I opted for a pint of "Guzzler" brewed by York Brewery which was light and fresh and certainly as the name suggests you could guzzle a few. To support local brewers I always try to drink a locally brewed beer rather than a mass market offering. The food on offer was no frills pub food with the menu offering Steak, Scampi, Gammon, Homemade Steak and Ale Pie and the like. I settled on the Pie and my partner had Scampi. The food soon appeared. The pie was good with a thick pastry crust, large chunks of steak and a tasty gravy. The Scampi was served with a freshly made salad in addition to the Chips and well cooked vegetables. I still had room for more and asked for the dessert menu. Traditional puddings were on offer and I selected Apple and Raspberry Pie served with Cream. A generous slice of pie soon arrived and I made short work of cleaning my plate of this tasty offering. All the food was served quickly and efficiently by friendly staff.

The Half Moon Inn falls in to the category of traditional village pub. Fine dining it was not but the food served was well made and tasty and the Beer was very drinkable. If we need refreshment when visiting this part of the wolds in the future then the Half Moon will be on the list.