With the restrictions on group size, our walk on September 16th was actually two!
The walks, in small groups of under six, were led by Graham Wilford and Brian Joscelyne....
Upper Farndale Walk
Graham treated his group to the delights of the Upper Farndale Valley – pity he managed to pick the worst day of the week for weather, low cloud and damp for the first hour - but still an enjoyable walk with stunning scenery.
The Upper Farndale Valley, with its 20 or so isolated farmsteads is remote, being way beyond the popular daffodil areas, so has an old world charm, left largely untouched by the modern world. The substantial farm buildings are one of the outstanding features of the Dale – both farmhouses and barns, built using huge carefully dressed sandstone blocks - resulting in buildings as solid today as when built several hundred years ago and doubtless will last for centuries more.
See the photo of the typical barn doorway with its carefully shaped arch.
Another photo shows the picturesque ‘green lane’ crossing the Dale – living up to its name.
The 6 mile route along the west side of the Dale and back along the east side, was in fact around what would have been the site of the huge Farndale Reservoir had it been built as intended, firstly by Hull Corporation in 1932, then again by the Yorkshire River Authority in 1969. Both proposals, to flood 500 acres of the valley, failed – Hull couldn’t afford it and the YRA couldn’t persuade the Parliamentary Select Committee that it was needed for water supply purposes, so the Dale was saved from inundation on both occasions.
The Feversham Arms at Church Houses provided a very welcome spot for a tasty lunch, by which time the weather was improving to reveal as the photo shows, some more of the dale previously shrouded in mist.
The Sloe Walk
The second walk (under COVID restrictions) on September 16th was a short-ish 4-mile amble led by Brian Joscelyne. Five of us set out from the Ryedale village of Westow, and walked a circular route north west across to Firby then east to the River Derwent, which was delightfully quiet and peaceful under somewhat grey skies.
Traversing a narrow path by the river through woodland, we came across sloe / blackthorn bushes with an abundant supply which we picked while taking our coffee break. Thanks to James for supplying us with the small black “doggie” bags – unused, he said they were – in which we could carry home our catch and thus prepare for Christmas!
Continuing through Jeffrey’s Bog, wet but manageable underfoot – and past a group of Highland Cattle that the Wildlife Trust are managing under their conservation programme, we turned south, heading past Grange Farm and Kennels, back to Westow where the Blacksmiths’ Arms provided us with an excellent lunch menu and a chance for a rare face-to-face chat.