Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Category: Great Ayton

  • Dandelions: Underappreciated but crucial for bees and insects

    Dandelions: Underappreciated but crucial for bees and insects

    Ah, springtime in Britain—a vibrant tapestry of flowers, from the delicate snowdrops to the cheerful daffodils to the stunning bluebells. But amidst this floral symphony, there’s one unsung hero—the humble dandelion. Have you noticed how they transform roadside verges into seas of yellow, only to later sprinkle the landscape with their delicate ‘clock’ seedheads? It’s…

  • From a 19th Century Cottage to a Smoke-Free Future

    From a 19th Century Cottage to a Smoke-Free Future

    This peaceful cottage hides a story: 1 resident in 1911, an “Engine Driver Oil” worker. And thoughts on the proposal to ban cigarette sales to create a smoke-free generation. Laws help change cultures, but so do stories, music, and images. They shape how we live.

  • Stinking Nanny’s Surprise: The Pungent Power of Ramsons

    Stinking Nanny’s Surprise: The Pungent Power of Ramsons

    Ramsons, those delicate flowers of the forest floor, hold a secret. Typically, they signal the presence of an ancient woodland, flourishing in the quietude of undisturbed soil. But here lies a peculiar sight: these ramsons are thriving amidst the confines of a railway cutting. An anomaly, indeed. As I ventured deeper into Newton Woods, a…

  • Guardians of Aireyholme Farm

    Guardians of Aireyholme Farm

    A gaggle of geese attempt at walking single file down a muddy track. Their military precision was disrupted by the temptation of murky puddles to wallow in. The track leads to a gate into a green field. It’s soggy and well-used, with tyre marks alongside the geese’s footprints. At the top of the field there…

  • Easby Moor from Roseberry Topping

    Easby Moor from Roseberry Topping

    The names Easby and Roseberry both derive from Old Scandinavian, but what did the Deiri tribe, nestled snugly between the Humber and the Tees rivers, call these places? Picture Deira as the precursor to Yorkshire, holding court in York. But Deira wasn’t a territorial area. It seems more like a robust dynasty. The exact genesis…

  • The uncertain future of Ayton’s Weeping Ash

    The uncertain future of Ayton’s Weeping Ash

    In the annals of Scandinavian mythology, the ash went by the name ‘Yggdrasil,’ the tree of life, ‘the greatest and best of all trees. Its branches spread all over the world.’ Now, I’m no tree whisperer, and botany isn’t exactly my strong suit. I’m hazarding a guess, but this seems to be the ‘Fraxinus excelsior,’…

  • Celebrating Capt. James Cook

    Celebrating Capt. James Cook

    “Well there goes another February 14th. Evenings of whimsical sighs, chinking champagne glasses, and adoring compliments across the Pacific as indigenous folks send their thanks out to the Hawaiian cousins that took care of business, and finally put an end to the diseased, kidnapping, murderous, thieving invader called Captain James Cook.” So wrote Tina Ngata…

  • Roseberry Topped Reflection

    Roseberry Topped Reflection

    I recently read an article about the ecology of puddles, revealing their significance as habitats for certain invertebrate species. These small, transient pools offer a refuge from larger predators and competitors due to their isolated and short-lived nature. Many of these puddles hold high conservation value, housing rare specialist creatures. Noteworthy examples include the fairy shrimps…

  • Silent Symphony of Sheep

    Silent Symphony of Sheep

    Head down against the driving rain, I sensed unseen eyes upon me. The fleeces of these Aireyholme sheep appeared as fresh as a perm, even after, or more likely because of, the overnight deluge. Despite dwindling numbers, sheep remain the predominant livestock on North York Moors farms. In 2016, the National Park boasted a staggering…

  • Roseberry Ironstone Mine — A Miner’s Day Begins

    Roseberry Ironstone Mine — A Miner’s Day Begins

    A significant anniversary in the history of Roseberry Ironstone Mine. It was on this day in 1921 that the men at the mine received notice to cease work with the mine due to be made idle at the end of the period of notice. In fact, output fell gradually until, in 1924, it stopped completely…