Out & About …

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

Category: Sleddale

  • Commondale, or should that be Sleddale?

    Commondale, or should that be Sleddale?

    From Three Howes Rigg, if you look westward, you might’ve thought you are seeing into Commondale, or maybe Sleddale? Those fields of green let their waters drain into Sleddale Beck. The village of Commondale is tucked away in the dale. Back in its heyday, that Guisborough Priory was a big landowner in the north of…

  • I walked past the entrance to Sleddale Farm today

    I walked past the entrance to Sleddale Farm today

    There have been several noticeable changes since, in the late 1970s, just before Christmas, I would take a bottle of malt to the Sleddale farmers — two brothers by the name of Proud if I recall — in recognition of them allowing the Guisborough Moors Race to run through their farmyard. Neither of the two…

  • Insular vert in a sea of purple

    Insular vert in a sea of purple

    When Sleddale, ‘a wide, flat valley’, tributary of the River Esk, was donated to Gisborough Priory by a group of freemen it was referred to as ‘meadow’. Now whether anyone actually lived up here at that time or whether it was part of the Priory’s many Commondale granges is unknown. After the dissolution, it was…

  • Sleddale Farm

    Sleddale Farm

    A shaft of sunlight falls upon Sleddale Farm, an island of cultivation in a sea of dull heather moorland. The name itself means “a wide flat valley”. The farmhouse is probably Victorian but it’s been cultivated since at least the 16th-century. At the dissolution of Gisborough Priory, Henry VIII granted its grange, Sleddale Close, to…

  • Dry stone wall restoration in Sleddale

    Dry stone wall restoration in Sleddale

    This chap has got his work cut out. It looks a well-organised job. But is he rebuilding the wall or selling the stones off for someone’s extension? No, that would be too cynical. More likely he’s working downhill and has completed the upper half of the wall. The laid-out wall doesn’t seem to have been…

  • Sleddale

    Sleddale

    In the late 1940s, a series of articles appeared in the “Evening Gazette” describing rambles on the moors and in the Tees valley. These were very popular and were published in book form in 1949 under the title “Green Ways around Tees-Side“. The other day I found a coverless battered copy I had forgotten I…

  • Two months to the Glorious Twelfth

    Two months to the Glorious Twelfth

    While mother hen feigns an injured wing tempting me off the dusty track, and flying fast and low above the ling, the cock screams ‘Go back, go back, go back’ their moorfowl chick lies perfectly still but in just two months ready for the kill. Open Space Web-Map builder Code

  • Rivelingdale

    Rivelingdale

    240 years ago today, in 1778, Captain James Cook made landfall on the Hawaiian Islands, the first European to do so. Did he pass any thoughts about his younger life in the Cleveland Hills? It’s highly likely that there would have been snow on the moors on that day. England was gripped in the Little…

  • Sleddale

    Sleddale

    For a brief few weeks the moors are a sea of purple heather which is now at its best. Seen from Highcliff Gate, Sleddale Farm appears an island of lush green pasture. The name means a wide flat valley and was probably a meadow of summer pasture before being given to the priory to be…

  • Heather Burning

    Heather Burning

    In all directions plumes of smoke can be seen on the moors on a good day at this time of the year. The gamekeepers are burning the heather. Grouse feed on heather. Young shoots provide the best nutritional value but grouse require taller heather for nesting and cover. To provide a managed supply of young heather patches of heather are…