Tag Archives: england

The North Yorkshire Moors

So last weekend I took a trip to somewhere that’s pretty awesome, and somewhere not too far away from home. The North Yorkshire Moors.

The North York Moors is a special place, forged by nature, shaped over generations – where peace and beauty rub shoulders with a rich history and a warm welcome. Heather moorland is rare on a worldwide scale – there is probably less heather moorland in the world than tropical rainforest. Around 70 percent of the world’s heather moorland is in the UK and the largest continuous expanse of moorland in England and Wales is here in the North York Moors – a sheep could wander from Egton to Bilsdale without leaving the moor. Moorland covers a third of the North York Moors National Park and most of the higher ground is covered in heather.

Unenclosed and unsurpassed, this stunning landscape responds sensitively to the changing seasons and has a quiet drama all of its own.

In early summer you’ll hear the call of the moorland birds, such as the red grouse, curlew and golden plover. Later, as the summer evenings draw in, the flowering heather turns the moors into a purple carpet that stretches for mile after mile. In winter the moors can be exceptionally beautiful, with mist and cloud rising above the sweeping expanses and crisp dustings of frost and snow turning the landscape an ethereal white.

Although it often looks wild and empty, our heather moorland is not a natural environment. The stone crosses and boundary markers remind us of man’s influence on the land, while most of the moors are carefully managed by farmers and landowners so that they can make a living from sheep farming and grouse shooting.

Some areas are managed specifically for landscape and wildlife, such as Levisham Estate, which is owned by the National Park Authority, and Fylingdales Moor, which is managed by the Hawk & Owl Trust on behalf of the Strickland Estate. If the moors were not grazed or managed, trees would appear and much of the moorland would slowly turn into woodland.

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Now the moors are vast, but I took to one of the mapped out trials.

Levisham Moor and the Hole of Horcum

I was met with grand landscapes and big views on this North York Moors classic. Starting with the dramatic panorama from Saltergate over the Hole of Horcum, the 8-mile scenic walk follows a prominent track over Levisham Moor, past important archaeological remains. There is a diversion to the stunning viewpoint of Skelton Tower, after which the route drops into the rocky ravine of Dundale Griff and returns along the valley to the Hole of Horcum, climbing back out at Saltergate.

The Hole of Horcum is one of the most spectacular features in the National Park – a huge natural amphitheatre 400 feet deep and more than half a mile across. Legends hang easily upon a place known as the ‘Devil’s Punchbowl’ – the best-known says that it was formed when Wade the Giant scooped up a handful of earth to throw at his wife during an argument. Actually, it was created by a process called spring-sapping, whereby water welling up from the hillside has gradually undermined the slopes above, eating the rocks away grain by grain. Over thousands of years, a once narrow valley has widened and deepened into an enormous cauldron – and the process still continues today.

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The track across Levisham Moor runs through a landscape rich in archaeological remains – in fact the moor itself is the largest ancient monument in the North York Moors. Half-hidden in the heather are traces of human occupation stretching back thousands of years, from Bronze Age barrows to late Iron Age boundary dykes. These mounds, ditches, banks and ridges are evidence of burial sites, fortified farmsteads, enclosures and eld systems – hard to spot at first glance but obvious once identified.

In medieval times, a monastic sheep farm (or bercary) was established at the head of Dundale Griff , and the foundations of stone buildings can still be seen. It’s important to keep to the path on the route from Dundale Pond to Skelton Tower, in order to preserve the remains.

Ruined Skelton Tower offers an extraordinary view down into Newtondale and over the track of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Built around 1830 by Robert Skelton, rector
of Levisham, it was used as overnight lodgings after a day’s shooting on the moors. The grassy headland was a wonderful spot where I sat and had my lunch, and I could hear the whistle of the steam train below coming towards me. I had to get my camera out and ready for a snap shot.

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I enjoyed some fantastic views, blustery winds at the top of the moor, and a great new adventure somewhere new. If you’re planning to visit The North York Moors, then all information can be found HERE.

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The UK Bucket list – Part 1

So in my very short previous, New Direction of Adventure, I talked about the ultimate UK bucket list. In this post, I am going to elaborate on each place, and talk a little bit more on each of the locations, before I go out and tackle them all, one by one!

Durdle Door, Dorset

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The magificant Durdle Door arch and beach is part of the Lulworth Estate and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

You can access the shingle beach on foot via a path and steps over the hill from Lulworth Cove or down from the Car Park (located on the cliff top at Durdle Door Holiday Park.). The beach is recommended by the Marine Conservation Society for excellent water quality.

Durdle Door is one of the most photographed landmarks along the Jurassic Coast. This rock arch in the sea was formed as a result of the softer rocks being eroded away behind the hard limestones, allowing the sea to punch through them. The name Durdle is derived from an Old English word ‘thirl’ meaning bore or drill. Eventually the arch will collapse to leave a sea stack such as those that can be seen at Ladram Bay in East Devon.

Each year more than 200.000 walkers use the footpath between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, making it the busiest stretch in the south west.

Below the cliffs lies a sweeping beach that was once three separate coves. This popular beach has no facilities although during the summer a mobile kiosk on the path leading to Durdle Door provides ice creams and refreshments.

Hadrian’s Wall, Cumbria

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Hadrian’s Wall Country stretches across the north of England from the west Cumbrian Roman coastal defences at Ravenglass, through Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport to Bowness-on-Solway, along Hadrian’s Wall through Carlisle to Hexham in Northumberland and on to Newcastle upon Tyne, Wallsend and South Shields.

Unlike many other historic places, Hadrian’s Wall Country has something for everyone – world class archaeology, spectacular landscapes, rare wildlife, complete solitude, vibrant cities, wonderful pubs and a population of friendly and welcoming people.

Hadrian’s Wall Country offers infinite opportunities for cherished memories and special moments. The sheer scale of the World Heritage Site combined with the four seasons, the living landscape and the people who live, work and visit here mean it is an ever changing canvas. It is where history is accessible to all, where adults and children learn and it is where the Romans are still part of everyday life 1,600 years after they left.

(info: http://www.visithadrianswall.co.uk)

Snowdonia, Gwynedd, Wales

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Situated on the west coast of Britain covering 823 square miles of diverse landscapes, Snowdonia National Park is a living working area, home to over 26,000 people. As well as being the largest National Park in Wales, Snowdonia boasts the highest mountain in England and Wales, and the largest natural lake in Wales, as well as a wealth of picturesque villages like Betws y Coed and Beddgelert. Snowdonia is an area steeped in culture and local history, where more than half its population speak Welsh.

Snowdonia attracts thousands of visitors each year who enjoy its amazing landscapes and the wealth of outdoor activities on offer. The National Park Authority’s aims are to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area; promote opportunities to understand and enjoy its special qualities; and to foster the economic and social wellbeing of its communities.

Snowdonia, the mountainous heart of southern Britain, is one of the UK’s most popular destinations for hiking and outdoor holidays. But there’s more to this region than craters and crags. It’s blessed with some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in Wales, on the Llŷn Peninsula and Cambrian Coastline. And its reputation for fine dining using Welsh meat, fish and cheese is growing all the time.

(info: http://www.visitwales.com/explore/north-wales/snowdonia-mountains-coasthttp://www.visitsnowdonia.info)

Stonehenge, Wiltshire

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Walk in the footsteps of your Neolithic ancestors at Stonehenge – one of the wonders of the world and the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe. Explore the ancient landscape on foot and step inside the Neolithic Houses to discover the tools and objects of everyday Neolithic life. Visit the world-class exhibition and visitor centre with 250 ancient objects and come face to face with a 5,500 year-old man.

Stonehenge is perhaps the world’s most famous prehistoric monument. It was built in several stages: the first monument was an early henge monument, built about 5,000 years ago, and the unique stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period about 2500 BC. In the early Bronze Age many burial mounds were built nearby. Today, along with Avebury, it forms the heart of a World Heritage Site, with a unique concentration of prehistoric monuments.

(info: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history/ & http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/)

The Angel of The North, Gateshead

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Since spreading its wings in February 1998, Antony Gormley’s The Angel of the North has become one of the most talked about pieces of public art ever produced.

The Angel’s silhouette at the head of the Team Valley now rivals that of the famous Tyne Bridge.

A panoramic hilltop site was chosen where the sculpture would be clearly seen by more than 90,000 drivers a day on the A1 – more than one person every second – and by passengers on the East Coast main line from London to Edinburgh.

The site, a former colliery pithead baths synonymous with Gateshead mining history, was re-claimed as a green landscape during the early 1990s.

(info: http://www.gateshead.gov.uk/Leisure%20and%20Culture/attractions/Angel/Background/Background2.aspx)

That concludes part one. As you can see, some pretty stunning places there, all with their very own good reason why you should visit, explore and experience these places. Stay tuned for Part Two…………………………….