Thursday, 30 September 2010

A trip away from the Yorkshire Wolds to the Eden Project - Pt2

As we left Frampton on Severn we decided that on our journey deeper in to the south west that we should try and see as much of the area as possible. So, we planned that as soon as we got to Exeter to get off motorways and dual carriageways and head cross country.

High Street, Moretonhampstead 
We left the main road and headed off on the B312 towards Dartmoor and soon started twisting and turning around country lanes. We were soon upon Dartmoor and the road climbed steeply and as soon as we broke out on to the moor we were greeted with the sight of some iconic Dartmoor Ponies. We took a casual drive across the moor taking in the "Tor" scenery. Before long we'd arrived at Moretonhampstead and we stopped there to buy some lunch. It must be an upmarket area as there was a new Rolls Royce parked outside the Co-op!

We pressed on across the moor to find somewhere we could pull off the road and take in the scenery. It's testament to the popularity of Dartmoor that we had to travel some distance to find a suitable spot that wasn't already taken; finally getting beyond Princetown and it's brooding prison when we stopped. As the picture shows it was a fine day and you could see for many miles. We both vowed one day we would return to walk on Dartmoor.

As we didn't want to get back on to the main roads (I still, at this point, did not know our final destination just that it was close to the Eden Project) we elected to cross Plymouth Sound using the Torpoint Ferry. The journey was short but interesting as the route goes through the Naval Base. Even better the ferry appeared to be free when heading westbound. We then headed on to Looe, parked up and had a stroll round this coastal town. We walked along the harbour taking in the sights and commenting how busy it must be at the height of the season and being slightly relieved that we weren't there then. We idled at the harbour entrance for a while taking in the view down the coast and out to sea and admiring the view some houses would have perched on the cliff side.

Little Egret
As we walked back along the harbour side we noticed a small white bird expertly hunting small fish. I thought it may be a Little Egret and a quick bit of research on a smartphone when back at the car confirmed that this was correct. Apparently, they have only recently colonised the south of England. They must have been successful at it as we'd seen three more before we got back to the car.

Polperro Harbour
We seemed to have got the ferry bug and decided that we should cross the River Fowey by ferry and we headed off from Looe towards Boddinick to get the ferry on the last leg of our journey to the St Austell area. On the way we drove past Polperro and got a short way past then decided that seeing as we were in the area that we shouldn't pass up the opportunity to visit. So, we did a quick U-turn and headed back. Polperro is a small village that sits along the bottom of a small narrow valley. We walked through the narrow streets with the usual mix of cafes, galleries and art shops which were just beginning to pack up for the night. The narrow streets twisted down to a small harbour and on another day when we had more time it would have been a good place to idle.

Stephengelly Farm
We soon set off again for the ferry but when we caught it we weren't quite as lucky this time as you had to pay going west. I still hadn't been let in to the location of that nights accommodation and my wife guided me through ever narrower country lanes until we finally reached Stephengelly Organic Farm - - just a few miles south of Bodmin and a few miles from the Eden Project. The setting was far more rustic than the previous nights with the old farmhouse tucked away down a country lane with no close neighbours. It was clear that the owners had put some effort in to creating a comfortable space for their guests. If we'd wanted they would have shown us around the farm and explained what was going on; we declined this chance as my wife is a farmer's daughter and we've seen plenty of farming. Breakfast in the morning was served in their conservatory overlooking the farmhouse garden. Our breakfast was accompanied by two varieties of home produced apple juice; a nice touch. It was a comfortable night that refreshed us from our travels and set us up for the days visit to the Eden Project.....

A trip away from the Yorkshire Wolds to the Eden Project - Pt1

Ever since the Eden Project opened my wife has been wanting to visit. So, recognising that however great the Yorkshire Wolds are, sometimes there are other parts of the country to see we decided to make a whistle stop tour to the South West to see this "wonder of the world" as it's sometimes described. 

Village green (England's longest) - Frampton on Severn
We had from Saturday lunchtime until Tuesday evening to do the visit and decided that we should break the journey in to manageable stages. Recognising the environmental impact of our long driving journey all our accommodation selected was to be organic and have decent environmental credentials. My wife was in charge of accommodation booking and choosing the locations. We set off at about one on Saturday and as we drove to the south west I was given clues as to where the location of our first night's stop was to be. I didn't get the name of the place but after many clues did guess that the place where we were to stay has the longest village green in England.  That place is Frampton on Severn and the green runs to some 22 acres in total. The area around the green is a conservation area with some fine houses including Frampton Court and is well worth a visit if you should happen to pass-by or need somewhere to break up your journey like we did. 

Evening sun - Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
Arriving earlier than planned we decided that we should try and take in a little of the surrounding countryside. Between the village and the River Severn is the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal and we followed the towpath along this substantial canal. The walk was pleasant with river traffic to watch and views across what once would have been marshes to the river and beyond. We turned back after a mile or so but had we had the time just a bit further up the towpath is the famous  Wildfowl Wetlands Trust site at Slimbridge. 

We turned back as time was getting on and day was fast turning to evening and we needed to get to our accomodation for the night. The place chosen was the True Heart Guest House - The name wasn't chosen because it had been set up as some special venue for young lovers to have their trysts but as it was the name of the pub that this house was converted from in the 1960's. Also fitting in with our plan to be as green as possible the property is featured in  "Alistair Sawday's "Special Places to Stay: Green Europe""

The True Heart is a smart whitewashed double fronted house with a small parking area and garden to the front. Veronica our host showed us to our room and separate private bathroom. Our room was a twin and needed to accommodate two separate beds but had we been staying for anything more than one night it would have been a little on the small side for me with no real room to stretch out. We were staying in a room at the front of the house and had no real view other than the front garden. The room and bathroom were impeccably clean and we soon decided to freshen up and go see what food the local pub had available. We decided with our hosts help that we would try the Bell. 

Frampton on Severn
The Bell stands at the very end of the one end of the green and with us staying on a quiet road beyond the other end we took a pleasant stroll past many of the period properties standing along the edge of the green. I can confirm that having walked up and down the green it is long. The pub was packed and we had no chance of getting a table in the restaurant area; we would have to take our chances in the bar. The local football team had just arrived and whether they were celebrating a famous victory or drowning their sorrows I shall never know but the volume of the good natured banter was high. We managed to find a table amongst the crowd. Not ideal but we were pushing our luck on a Saturday night. to find anywhere to eat that wasn't already full. Volume aside I enjoyed a couple of pints of a local bitter and a good Steak and Ale Pie with my wife having a good plate of stuffed peppers.

After the meal we wandered back along the darkened green to the guest house as street lights are not a major feature in Frampton on Severn. In the morning breakfast was served in a small dining room at a single table with the other guests, who, it turned out were from Yorkshire too. The breakfast was good with high quality local produce clearly featuring and our host was attentive to our needs. We packed and left straight after breakfast as we were eager to start part two of our journey. The True Heart and Frampton on Severn had been good choices for a stopping off point. I left there wondering whether my wife had chosen as well for the second night. To be continued........ 

Fabulous Fungi - Anyone Identify?

It looks like going to be a good year for fungi. Whilst out and about I've seen some fine examples. Including the couple of examples below. Can anyone identify; seen any other fine examples?

Woodland Fungus in East Yorkshire

Woodland Fungus in Somerset

Friday, 24 September 2010

Getting all your ducks in a row

Ducks in a row at North Dalton

Ducks lined up by the village pond at North Dalton a small Yorkshire Wolds village.

It has a good village pub that sits right by the pond. Read a blog about a recent visit - Out for tea at the Star Inn, North Dalton.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Heather growing on the Wolds

During last night's walk near Sledmere we spotted some small pink flowers on a plant amongst the grass. On closer inspection the plant appeared to be Heather. I can't recall ever seeing Heather growing anywhere else on the Wolds. I associate it more with growing on Moorland like the North York Moors which are some 15-20 miles distant as the crow flies.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A short walk at Sledmere with no sunset but still a good view

Sykes Memorial
At lunchtime today, after a morning indoors, I realised what a great day it was - blue sky and pleasantly warm.  I then  planned that this evening as soon as I got home from work we could get the dogs in the car and go for a walk before dark.

The walk we chose meant we would park the car at the Sykes Memorial just south of Sledmere and then walk down the track that leads west from there. I was hoping that with the sun being out during the day we'd be able to watch the setting sun. As the track runs along a wood I'd also be able to take some pictures of the special colours of the autumnal trees with the light of the setting sun on them. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed as when we arrived the sky was a blanket of high grey cloud with no sight of the sun at all.

Even without the sun the Tatton Sykes Memorial is a great place to visit. The memorial built in honour of Sir Tatton Sykes 4th Baronet of the nearby Sledmere House occupies a commanding position and is visible from many miles beyond. On a clear day, which today wasn't, you can see as far as Hull and beyond. In the past we've purchased Fish and Chips from the ever popular shop in Wetwang a few miles away and then driven up to the memorial and eaten them whilst enjoying the view.

Without Fish and Chips on this occasion we walked the dogs for about a mile and a half west following the track that leads from the memorial. As the track traverses a slope and is mostly at a similar level to the memorial you continue to get a good view across the Yorkshire Wolds.

I'm sure we'll be back at sometime in the future to enjoy the view, Fish and Chips and, with luck, a sunset.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Yorkshire Wolds Railway Restoration Project

Whilst looking for something entirely different (isn't that often the way with internet searches) I came across the website of the above group. Their aim is to try and re-open at least a section of the old Driffield to Malton Line as a heritage railway. You can visit their website by clicking here.

The project would have my support as the engineering feats to cut and tunnel through the Wolds on several railway lines are probably all but forgotten from general knowledge.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Sunset over the Vale of York from Garrowby Hill

Setting sun from Garrowby
Driving home this evening along the A166 towards Garrowby Hill I couldn't help but notice the setting sun in my rear view mirror. I decided to take the opportunity to stop at the top of the hill and take in the scene. 

No photograph I could take could do justice to the size and scale of the view that greeted me from this western edge of the Yorkshire Wolds. Maybe I'll need to buy a wide angle lens to at least try and capture more of it. 

Setting sun from Garrowby
For the second picture I zoomed in to try and capture the bronzed golden colour of the clouds as the sunset behind them.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

A walk around Lowthorpe & Harpham on a wet Sunday

A morning of rain was the pre-cursor to this walk. As we drove to Lowthorpe nothing changed and the rain was steadily falling. Puddles had formed at the roadside as we splashed our way there. We'd chosen a short walk this afternoon not because of the weather but my desire to be home in time to watch Songs of Praise. That's not something I usually do but today the programme featured my hometown of Beverley.

Pair of cottages at Lowthorpe
We approached Lowthorpe from Kelk and parked at the southern end of the village. Light rain was still falling so rain coats and wellies were donned. We set off through Lowthorpe; a small village with dispersed properties at either side of the road. A pair of fine cottages mark a bend in the road that set us off north.

Ruined Monastery attached to St Martin's, Lowthorpe
As we headed out of the village a sign marked "Church and Monastery ruin" pointed down a track through a wood. No sign of a church was visible from the road. We decided to follow the sign and have a look. The track led for a short distance through an avenue of Yew trees and after a short distance the track opened out and St Martin's Church, Lowthorpe was revealed. The church was small and clearly constructed in different periods and had two distinct halves. One, the current church, had a small tower and simple interior. However, inside the door was an intricate stone carving of two prone figures that was clearly carved many centuries ago. What was disappointing and can be found in many churches was that no history of the church was available. So, the carved figures will remain a mystery. The other half of the church and, I assume, the ruined monastery, had it's walls intact but no roof. Access could be gained by a small door and a number of derelict tombs could be seen. We left to set off on our walk again leaving the quiet and hidden church of St Martin's behind.

Kelk Beck, West of Harpham
Once back on the road after a short distance we left the road and headed east along the side of the wood that hid the church from view, We then crossed a grass field and joined a track that lead us towards a bridge over Kelk Beck. Although still raining we idled on the bridge for awhile admiring the crystal clear waters in the beck and the surrounding countryside. The opportunity to see the beck had been one of the reasons why I had chosen this walk. Kelk Beck is a chalkstream and for me there is something quintessentially English about them and their surroundings.

We left the bridge knowing that our route would take us back over the beck later. The track we followed was clearly the route some dairy cattle we'd seen earlier take to the milking parlour as it was mud mixed with cow muck. We passed by the side of the dairy farm and came out on to a road just north of Harpham. 

On this occasion we followed the road and skirted the edge of Harpham passing by some old cottages. On other trips out we've ventured in to Harpham - the Birthplace of St John of Beverley and a link to tonight's Songs of Praise as he founded Beverley Minster - and visited the St Quintin Arms Inn for a very enjoyable Sunday Lunch. The village is also the location of a holy well, named after St John, said in times gone by to have miraculous properties.

We headed south out of the village along the road and after about five hundred metres took a public footpath that took us west back towards Lowthorpe. This path led to a narrow footbridge over Kelk Beck. Again we idled and peered in to the crystal clear waters hoping to catch a glimpse of a Brown Trout but to no avail on this occasion. We crossed a grass field after this and then followed a track between a plantation of Christmas Trees and a tall crop of maize. The maize will likely be harvested soon and chopped to make fodder to keep cattle fed throughout the winter once they are taken indoors from their summer pastures.

The path then turned south and brought us back in to Lowthorpe and our car. A short walk of about two and half miles but with plenty of interest and with better timing we could certainly have enjoyed a trip to the St Quintin Arms.

A wet Sunday on the Yorkshire Wolds - a walk in the rain

What to do? A question that I'm sure goes through many a mind when a look out the window reveals endless grey sky and and a steady drizzle. Well today is one of those days.

What I'm going to do is go for a walk in the rain. I'm looking forward to getting wet. Somehow being out in the countryside when the sun's not shining creates a special feel. Me against the elements and me winning? Is that it? I'm not sure. I suppose the getting dry bit has it's attractions too. Who hasn't stood in front of an open fire and felt the warmth spreading through them giving a sense of pleasure. Even better stepping in to a warm country pub with a fire lit, ordering a pint and sitting by the fire, warming, reflecting on the days walk.

Sounds great. I better stop writing this and go get wet. The Harpham area is my destination today.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

My Trees at Warter - Certainly not Hockney's

Without the artistic flair and style of David Hockney this is my poor quality photograph of the trees that featured in his picture "Bigger Trees near Warter" which he donated to the Tate Britain. The artist spends some of his time living in Bridlington painting Yorkshire Wolds scenes. 

The details and a picture of the painting "Bigger Trees at Warter" can be found on the Tate Collection Website by clicking here.

I often pass by this wood and it wasn't until recently that I identified this location as the place featured in the huge painting. I wanted to capture the trees whilst having the golden light of a setting sun playing across the trees. I didn't quite make it on this occasion but will be attempting it again soon. 

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Munich too far? Why not try Pocktoberfest - Pocklington's alternative beer festival

On 2nd & 3rd October 2010 Pocklington's very own beer festival - Pocktoberfest takes place. Laid on by Pocklington & Market Weighton Round Table with all proceeds to Charity it sounds like it's worth a visit to me. I'll certainly be trying to round up some friends to sample some of the beer on offer.

More details of the festival can be found by clicking here

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Windy on the Wolds

This evening a strong gusty wind is blowing across the Yorkshire Wolds. As the trees have yet to lose their leaves and a have a huge surface like a sail come the morning I expect to see many fallen branches. Don't forget if your out walking tonight - Look Up!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Beverley in BBC Songs of Praise and Antiques Roadshow double

On Sunday 19 September 2010 the episodes of Songs of Praise and Antiques Roadshow being shown on BBC One were filmed in Beverley on consecutive days. As far as I'm aware this is the first time this has ever occurred. The filming took place in the fantastic Beverley Minster. I'm sure the programmes will feature many items of interest from the local area and feature parts of the Yorkshire Wolds and surrounding area.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Striking War Memorial at Lissett

158 Squadron Memorial at Lissett
Since I stared writing this blog the most viewed page has been war-memorial-at-lissett.html. That page only contains a poor quality picture that I took with my phone and I've meant to return ever since to get some better pictures. 
Facial detail on figure in memorial 

I knew I'd be in the area again today and I finally remembered to take my camera with me. Whilst, I have posted some of the pictures I took today on this page they cannot not do justice to this striking memorial.

I have visited many war memorials across Europe and I can say that this is as impressive as any of them and is a fitting tribute to all those who lost their lives. It is cut in steel plate and has the names of all those from the airfield that fell in WWII etched across the torso's of  the figures. If you were to see these figures through an early morning mist you maybe forgiven for thinking that you really had seen a bomber crew walking to their aircraft.

Information Board - airfield history at Lissett
The memorial was funded by the developers of the windturbines - Novera Energy -  that now occupy the old airfield. They have also funded some information boards that tell he story of the airfield. By opening the picture and zooming in you should be able to read the boards.

Each of the turbines is named after a bomber that was flown from the airfield and that is explained on the boardsIt is worth noting that the design of the memorial was by Peter Naylor of Beverley. I have more pictures of the memorial and if anyone would like more you can send me an e-mail, tweet me or leave a comment on here and I'd be happy to send them.

A beer with a name that matches my views

I went to the local pub on Friday night and one of the beers they had to offer was ""Big Sky Bitter" produced by Wold Top Brewery. Apart from being intrigued by the name I stuck with my personal rule of drinking brews made close to the point of consumption and decided to try some. I like my beer but I'm not able to describe it in poetic terms and say it tastes of this and that or that it's light or heavy. What I can say is whether I like it or not and like all the Wold Top beers I've drunk I did like it and returned to the bar for several more.

As mentioned I was intrigued by the origin of the a name and made a mental note to research if I could find out why it had been called "Big Sky Bitter". I suppose it is a recommendation for the beer that I must have had enough that it's taken me until Sunday afternoon to do the research. This is what it says on the Wold Top Brewery website about it's name - "The Yorkshire Wolds often referred to as  Big Sky Country for the amazing sky-scapes over the gently rolling countryside of wolds and coast." That description agrees, exactly, with one of my views of what makes the Yorkshire Wolds special.

You can read the rest of the description of the beer and the others the brewery make by clicking here.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Nature does it it's way

Went for a walk deep in to the Yorkshire Wolds countryside yesterday evening - Last light near Tibthorpe - to try and see some nature and failed to see much at all. Sat in a hospital waiting room on the edge of Cottingham today and saw three Roe Deer playing outside the window. You can never predict nature.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Last light near Tibthorpe

Sunset near Tibthorpe 9 Sept 2010
This evening we walked a section of Deepdale to the west of Tibthorpe. We took the road towards Huggate and parked where the footpath heads south down from the road to the dale bottom. We then walked west through the dale until we passed Haywold Farm and then headed north up to the road and followed it back east to the car. This route was nearly 4 miles in total.

Even as we left the car the sun was fast heading towards the horizon. The countryside here is a mixture of woodland and arable fields. We hoped that we might encounter some animals that start to make their appearances as the light fades such as Roe Deer, Fox or Badger. Unfortunately, no animals made an appearance other than the solitary dark shape of a Barn Owl passing against the setting sun. Mother Nature didn't entirely let us down, though, as the sky was a mixture of broken cloud and blue sky meaning we had another fabulous sunset over the Yorkshire Wolds.

As we approached the road to head back to the car the sun had finally set and we entered the period known as last light that really marks the change over from day to night. For me, like daybreak this time of day has a special quality. Neither night nor day, everything seems still and calm as the day specialists are settling and those that rule the night haven't yet fully roused. 

With the changing season daybreak and last light become part of our normal waking hours. I will definitely take more opportunities to experience these special parts of the day in the Yorkshire Wolds countryside.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Nearly over for another year

In the fields of the Yorkshire Wolds your now likely to see a tractor fitted with a plough or seed drill than a combine. Attention has turned from gathering this year's crops to preparing the land for and planting next years.This cycle of activity means that the pace of life for many farmers will not slacken for some time yet. They face a deadline no one can alter - the changing seasons. 

On a recent walk I took this photograph of the late evening sun shining across a feed that had just been "drilled" with seed.

Monday, 6 September 2010


In May this year we made a visit to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds reserve at Bempton. This was during the breeding season and the number of birds was truly amazing.  The cliffs at Bempton are where, literally, the Yorkshire Wolds drop in to the sea and sheer cliffs of chalk provide a precarious home for the many visiting birds. 

Flying by or perched on ledges the Gannets, Auks, Gullemots and Puffins provided ample opportunties for casual viewing or serious study. I managed to take some camera shots of Gannets in flight but the Puffins were far to quick to catch.  

Being an RSPB reserve the site has ample car parking, a cafe, toilets and society shop. The staff keep a log of species seen that day and will endeavour to answer any questions you may have.

We shall return return to the reserve again to witness this amazing natural spectacle.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Visit the "Visiting the Yorkshire Wolds" store

I've created an online store that features some Yorkshire Wolds products.  In time as I've had more time to do some research I'll try to add other products to the store that promote or are produced in the Yorkshire Wolds. The store also contains products that visitors to the wolds might find useful.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Local History

After our recent trip to Kilnwick Percy I decided to do some research on the Hall. During the research I found the website of the Pocklington History Group; their site contains information on the town itself and some of the villages that sit on the western edge of the Yorkshire Wolds. You can visit the site by clicking here.

Autumnal feel over the Wolds

September has arrived and with it that autumnal feel. The picture illustrates how over the next few weeks early morning mists hanging over the Yorkshire Wolds will await us as we start the business of the day.

The moisture laden air will cover everything with a fine dew producing fantastic natural sights like the spiders web pictured. The photograph demonstrates the strength of the web and the craft of the spider.