Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Yorkshire Dales - sheep country

AS part of our tour of the north, we paid a visit to the Yorkshire Dales National Park and stayed at a wonderful inn at Kilnsey, replete with real ale and hearty food - yum!  During the few days we were there we visited Ayesgarth Falls, Hawes, Castle Bolton and walked through a number of the surrounding dales, such as Swaledale and Wharfedale.

Swallow family in Hawes
The area is gob smackingly beautiful in any season and late summer was no exception.

Ayesgarth Falls - the water was brown with the colour of peat:

Of course it is a farmed landscape - mainly sheep and cattle grazing.  The valley bottoms are put to hay during spring and early summer, then the aftermath is grazed.  The many barns were used to store hay and house the stock when necessary.   Where the fields have been traditionally managed, and have not been plastered with artificial fertilizer or ploughed up and resown, the grassland is rich with wild flowers.  As the fields had been cut, these were confined to field edges and byways during our visit.  The fields are still separated by dry-stone walls making a very distinctive landscape..


Bullfinch feeding off sow thistles

Mole gibbert

The stream disappears into the ground!

On the tops the moorland is more open than in the valleys and grouse moor prevails.

Sheep are perhaps more numerous than cattle in the dales.  We visited the stock market at Hawes where a good trade in "yeows" was going on.


Friendly working dog