News from Malcolm Hodgson
This year sees the 25th Anniversary of the Yorkshire Wolds Way and Malcolm Hodgson, National Trails Officer reckons there is plenty to celebrate.
I’ve been National Trails Officer for the Yorkshire Wolds Way for over ten years and even now I continue to be astonished by its charm. Some say that’s it’s a bit like stepping back in time when you are walking on the Wolds. There is a slower pace of life and somehow everything is a bit simpler. Here we still have some pubs where you can pitch your tent for free, as long as you use the pubs facilities – which – lets face it – is not much of a chore after a good days walking!
It is the peace and quiet of the route that makes it special. There are few busy roads near the route, and it lies away from the tourist hot spots. This means that for every walker there is something of a sense of discovery in travelling along its beautiful dry valleys and over its airy hill tops.
I love the quirkiness of things found along this route as well.
One classic example of this is the Kiplingcotes Derby – This 4 mile (6.4km) race has been held (according to the date on the winning post) since 1519, making Kiplingcotes the oldest racecourse in England. It is held on the third Thursday in March every year, whatever the weather, often so wet that the spectators end up covered with mud, even snow drifts have been known. Winning is more a matter of honour than reward as there is a complicated procedure for working out the prize money. First prize is the interest on a sum of 360 shillings contributed by Lord Burlington and his friends in 1618 (about £20 now). Second prize is virtually all the entry money, it can be two or three times as much!
On the ground we have been involved in recent times in trying to make the route more accessible. The Rights of Way Officers have been switching stiles to gates, in some cases gates with Radar locks that will allow motorised buggies through. We have taken advice from Alan Bailey of Disabled Charity Walks – who completed his own version of the Yorkshire Wolds Way in 2005. Alan uses a standard shopping mobility scooter to inspire others into realising that you don’t need the latest state of the art mobility scooters to enjoy parts of our trails. You can find some of our no step no stile walks on the website using the following link.
For our Silver Anniversary there will be Guided Walks being organised by North Yorkshire County Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council along the route.
With luck there will be a bottle of celebratory Yorkshire Wolds Way ale to enjoy as well – brewed by the Woldtop Brewery!
There will also be the opportunity to join the Ramblers Association on a series of days walking the full route.
Keep an eye on the news pages of our website for details of these as they come out. So – get your boots on – and come and enjoy the simple pleasures of life!
Hello from Cheltenham
It is hard to believe that we are only at the end of January, we had a great walk on Sunday afternoon along parts of the Cotswold Way over Cleeve Hill, with six springer spaniels in tow. I had invited the puppies we reared this time last year to get together and have a walk - but springers don't 'walk', do they?
The weather has been unseasonably mild and temperatures have again soared to double figures today with lots of dry and bright weather. This has encouraged spring flowers to bloom much sooner than usual and there are lots of wild birds singing away in our gardens and hedgerows. Naturally the topic of global warming and carbon dioxide emissions along with other greenhouse gases has filled our newspapers and televisions.
Many of you will know that we, the Countryside Agency joined with our partner agencies English Nature and the Rural Development Service in October to form a new organisation Natural England. A distinctive feature of Natural England’s work will be its role as a campaigning organisation. To this end four themes have been identified around which to develop new campaigns. These are Climate Change, Health, Marine and Sustainable Land Management. Climate change is the most serious threat to our natural environment. In England our wildlife is already being noticeably affected by it. Urgent steps need to be taken to reduce levels of harmful greenhouse gases.We want to work with a range of partners to put into practice those measures required to give wildlife the best chance of survival. For more information on our Climate Change Campaign click here
We are looking forward to launching the Cotswold Way National Trail in May this year and plans are gathering momentum to make this a very special occasion. The next newsletter will feature the Cotswold Way and we hope that many of you will be visit this Trail. To tempt you a little we have added a lot more photographs to the Cotswold Way photo gallery click here to be inspired!
Half term is fast approaching as my son delighted in telling me this morning as he drove to school, so visit the web site and get some ideas for days out with the children or grandchildren over the holiday period. A lot of attractions are listed on or near the Trails, as well as the towns and villages along the way, so you could combine a walk with a trip to a castle or museum and perhaps treat them to lunch in a pub or restaurant.
Hi, Terri here. Don't you love living in a country which has such "interesting" weather? I've just read Jane's contribution above having driven in this morning through freezing fog after a weekend of fabulous blue skies and crisp winter sunshine! We popped down to the allotment on Saturday to find the lakes of water which have covered the site for weeks frozen over - needless to say we didn't do any digging!
I can't believe we're already in February. At the risk of sounding like my Mother "where does the time go?" Still, the mornings are getting lighter and Spring is just around the corner which definitely puts me in a positive mood. You may remember that I was waxing lyrical in the last newsletter so I thought I'd give you another "cultural" hit.
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. -- Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning"
G M Hopkins