Yorkshire Wolds Dew Pond Wander: a journey through time

Credit: Dew pond- F Grace EM

Dew ponds – sometimes called cloud ponds or mist ponds – are man-made ponds which were created in the 18th and 19th centuries to provide water for farm animals. In the dry, chalk landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds, a natural supply of surface water was not always available, so the ponds were an essential source of water for the animals.

Despite their magical name, it’s thought that the water in the ponds came mainly from rainfall, rather than dew, clouds or mist. For almost 200 years, farmers relied on these ponds to provide water for livestock, so the ponds were regularly maintained as an essential part of the farm.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has worked with the local farming community on a two-year project to restore a network of these ponds right across the Wolds. They’re once again an important feature in the landscape and an oasis for an array of wildlife such as emperor dragonflies, great diving beetles, frogs, toads and newts. They are also an important source of water for farmland birds, which have declined rapidly in recent years, as well as mammals such as deer and hare.

You can discover several of these dew ponds along a beautiful circular trail in the Wolds, starting from the picturesque village of Thixendale. So why not pull on your boots, explore the stunning landscape for yourself and take advantage of the wildlife highlights along the route?

Take a look here – https://www.ywt.org.uk/wolds-dew-ponds/walk

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is the only charity entirely dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring Yorkshire’s wildlife and wild places.

To help protect our wildlife and wild places please:

• Observe the latest government guidance on social distancing
• Follow any signage on our nature reserves
• Stick to the paths and trails, and check if dogs are welcome or need to be on a lead
• Take your litter home with you

wold rangers way

Horse Hair Jack Trod of The Wold Rangers Way

This is a glorious 9-mile circular walk through the stunning Yorkshire Wolds countryside. This is a smaller walk encompassing much of the new, longer challenge walk, The Wold Rangers Way.

The walk begins and ends at Market Place, in the centre of Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire. You will be walking primarily along well-trodden lanes steeped in history.

horse hair jack trod

The introduction of machinery to agriculture in the 19th century, along with the enclosure of land, created a lot of landless folk with no work. Most headed to the towns and cities but many remained, leading a nomadic existence and living off the land. They were known as The Wold Rangers.

They walked and lived along the lanes all around the Wolds, going from farm to farm in search of work. Known as extremely trustworthy, they were never turned away when they turned up at a farm. If there was no work, they at least received some food or shelter.

gate wolds

In fact, the last of the Wold Rangers, a man known as Dog Geordie, only died in 1987.

The full Wold Rangers Way itself is 43 miles in length and takes in the whole area. However, some smaller day walks have been created using the names of Wold Rangers from the past, like this one, Horse Hair Jack Trod.

driffield

From the centre of Driffield, head east and you’ll soon reach calm and green space. Even before leaving the town, you pass through The Keld, then along and over the A166 before hitting long straight lanes proper.

The walk is effectively 3 long tracks, well trodden and clear. You don’t have to worry about any turns so you can concentrate on the views and enjoying the great outdoors.

Continuing outwards and gradually upwards on Garton Balk (track), you won’t find anything strenuous at all. You soon get to see the lay of the land here, with fields of crops as far as the eye can see.

crops wolds

I was here in mid summer, when the contrasts of crop colours and blue skies made it invigorating with plenty of that feeling of escapism.

From there, you turn right to pass along some beautiful undulating tracks with secluded farms and farmhouses. You then complete the walk by heading back along a track called ‘Long Lane’ back to Driffield. I have put a GPX file on our routes map at Walkshire.com to help you.

tracks

This is a 9-mile walk, but due to the lay of the land, the well-trodden lanes and lack of steep inclines, it doesn’t feel like such a long walk at all. It is definitely a walk to enjoy at a sedate pace, rather than in a rush. You’ll be out with nature in the fresh air of The East Riding of Yorkshire.

This is also a very dog-friendly route too. The lanes are wide and not busy at all, though I would just advise you to be careful of the crops.

Step out and take strides for Yorkshire’s wildlife, one piece of litter at a time

Credit: Jon Hawkins, two volunteers litter picking.

Taking a walk in the countryside, by the sea or down the road to the local park is something we might have taken for granted until last year. We all admire the beautiful scenery, landscapes and local wildlife on a much-loved walk, but how much do we consider the hard work that might be taking place in the background to keep it safe for wildlife and people? It’s been wonderful to see so many people enjoying Yorkshire’s wild places over the eighteen months but it’s been sad to witness so much litter quickly building up in these spots too. Wherever litter is dropped, it can find its way into our watercourses and then into our already suffering seas.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is working hard to tackle the problem of marine pollution. In our latest blog, Marine Pollution Officer, Ana Cowie, tasks us with a litter picking challenge in our local patch, wherever that may be. Our small actions can make a big difference. So if you’re walking round the block or heading to the coast, picking up litter as you wander can lead to a step change for public behaviour and Yorkshire’s wildlife.

Visit our latest blog here: https://www.ywt.org.uk/blog/ana/step-out-and-take-strides-yorkshires-wildlife-one-piece-litter-time

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is the only charity entirely dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring Yorkshire’s wildlife and wild places.

To help protect our wildlife and wild places please:

• Observe the latest government guidance on social distancing.
• Follow any signage on our nature reserves.
• Stick to the paths and trails, and check if dogs are welcome or need to be on a lead.
• Take your litter home with you.

Give Seas a Chance

Yorkshire’s seas were once full of wildlife but due to decades of human neglect and harm, they are falling silent and empty. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s expert marine team are working against the clock to save, restore and enhance our beautiful, essential seas and incredible wildlife. We’ve got the solutions. We just need you. Help us turn the tide and give Yorkshire’s seas a chance.

Donate and take action today: Give Seas a Chance | Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (ywt.org.uk)

Barnburgh and Barnburgh Crags Walk

This is a joy of a 3-mile walk that starts and ends in the pretty village of Barnburgh, 7 miles west of Doncaster. You will find views, rocks and open countryside to enjoy.

The best place to start is right in the middle of Barnburgh, by St Peter’s church.

Across the through road from there is a side road, which heads along with the quaint looking Coach and Horses Pub on your right.

At the end of this road, follow the bend to the left. After a few hundred metres, there is a signposted bridleway track off to the right.

This track then carries straight on, gently going uphill to the top. There is nothing too strenuous here, though the climb allows the views to get bigger and bigger all the time.

As the path at the top swings right, you head into the woods. These woods have a secret inside. To your left is a wall of rock, Barnburgh Crag, that you follow all the way along.

If you look closely at sections of the rock, you will see mysterious faces that have been meticulously carved into the stone at some point in time. Some look like grumpy old men, while others resemble cartoon characters.

In the summer, you need to look carefully as the trees and ivy can hide the secret faces. In winter, you could walk this and see the crag in more glory for sure.

With the crag on your left, you mustn’t forget to look right with the huge views over South Yorkshire towards Derbyshire.

Upon reaching the end of the crag, you turn right down a road for a couple of hundred metres before turning off right onto another track.

Here you get a fantastic view back down towards Barnburgh. Crops sway in the breeze over the land before you.

There are a few paths from here that all meander back to the village. The one I took was less of a road and more around the edges of fields, but you can easily keep on the main track and along the road to the village and your start and end point.

This is one of those short walks and climbs that really surprised me. I hardly met a soul en route, yet what it offers is absolutely stunning for a walk of this length. The secret crags and faces add a whole new interest too.

Greno and Wharncliffe Woods Circular

To the north of Sheffield, near Grenoside, lie Greno and Wharncliffe Woods. These are some fabulous woodlands to walk through and this 7-mile circular takes it all in and more.

These ancient woodlands and forested areas stretch for miles around and you can easily spend a whole day walking through them.

Starting in the middle of Grenoside on Penistone Road, it is just a minute or two before you are suddenly inside the thick green woodland of Greno Woods.

One minute you are in a housing area by a main road, then the next you are suddenly transported into calmness and nature.

This first section of the loop walk takes you deeper into Greno Woods, not realising you are going gradually upwards. Then there is a gradual upwards path that brings you out at a trig point. This is the summit of Greno Knoll.

This trig point is, of course, a remnant from a time before the high trees. Over time, the trees have obscured any line of sight to and from the trig point from elsewhere.

From there, you drop down the other side and across Woodhead Road into a car park. This is where you enter Wharncliffe Wood.

The pathways here are very wide and, as I found, a little more busy than Greno. Dog walkers, joggers and horse riders all enjoy the surroundings this place offers. Even though there were more people there, it did not feel overly busy at all. These woods cover a huge area, so there is plenty of space for one and all to enjoy.

Of course, you don’t even need to take the route we took. Paths lead in all directions from this place of real exploration. The locals are truly blessed.

The path takes you all around and through the woods before you suddenly emerge into the open and onto Whalejaw Hill. You do not realise how high you have gone and there are spectacular views from here of Sheffield, the Peak District and beyond.

The path from here winds round and back into Greno Woods for a gentle walk back to Grenoside. The dogs absolutely loved this walk too, with so much to stimulate them and space for them to run about safely.

This is definitely one of those walks that may be 7 miles long but certainly does not feel that long or hard in any way. You can take all the time to enjoy it as you wish.

You will find the GPX of my route on walkshire.com

canklow woods

Canklow Woods Heritage Trail, Rotherham

This is a 2-mile circuit walk through ancient woodland and a historical archaeological site on the outskirts of Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Canklow Woods is an oasis of ancient woodland that takes you immediately away from the hustle and bustle of the town and roads in the near distance.

The woods are very important archaeologically, as it has been found that our ancestors lived here at least 3000 years ago.

This 2-mile loop path does not just take you around the woods, but it also gives you a lot of information about its history and the wildlife along the route. You will learn about the people who lived here and how they used the land, as well as the nature in your surroundings and how important it is.

The walk starts at Boston Park car park. Head through the little park, past the old bowling green and into the woods. 

From here, if you want to walk the heritage trail itself, we have the GPX and it is exactly 2 miles around. You will just need to follow the old looking arrowed pathway. Please note that some of the arrows have gone missing over time.

The path takes you through time, with information posts telling you how the land and these woods led over centuries to the steel industry of the area. They also tell you about how the people lived in the woods many centuries ago, using wood crafts to create all manner of tools and other objects.

Finally, you can find out about how the woodland is managed today. I know that so much more work than you might expect goes in to keep these areas special and safe from invasive species.

The middle section of the walk takes you to the very oldest parts of the ancient woodland. As old gnarled oaks surround you, you can’t help but imagine the age of them and all the things they could have witnessed over the centuries.

This route is wonderful for a family walk but it is also perfect for a short escape walk to clear the mind in the midst of nature. Dog lovers will certainly love it too.

I have uploaded this walk route as a GPX on walkshire.com

A journey to Yorkshire’s Land’s End: Walking at Spurn National Nature Reserve

Credit: Spurn lighthouse James Hardisty

Yorkshire’s beautiful landscapes have so much to offer, particularly those off the beaten track – or those at the county’s extreme edges. A walk through these wild places provides invigorating exercise for the heart, body and mind.

Spurn National Nature Reserve (or ‘Spurn Point’, as it’s known to many), is one of these iconic landscapes. It’s a natural wonder and fine example of a longshore drift, straight from a geography textbook, whereby over thousands of years, sand and gravel have been eroded from the coast and moved south by the tides. Today, Spurn is a sandy peninsula jutting out 3.5 miles from the Holderness Coast into the mouth of the Humber Estuary. Cars could once travel all the way down this sandy strip, but after a major storm surge in 2013, this journey can only be made by foot, bike or aboard Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Spurn Safari vehicle.  

In this blog post, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust share their top tips for walking at Spurn. Not only is it one of Yorkshire’s most wildlife-rich landscapes (and one of the best places in the UK to see migratory birds), but the peninsula is also steeped in maritime and military history. You can, in fact, climb to the top of the tallest lighthouse in Northern England or explore excavated World War Two tunnels (see our website for opening times). Follow in the footsteps of brave soldiers, lifeboat heroes and wildlife conservationists as you discover this unique and ever-changing place.

Visit here to find out more: https://www.ywt.org.uk/blog/andy-mason/walking-spurns-very-own-lands-end

Why not join us for a 10km guided walk to Spurn Point and back again on Sunday 18th July, 10am – 2pm?

Join our expert guide for an epic journey to Spurn Point and back again! May tales of Spurn’s maritime and military past enlighten your way, as well as some top wildlife spotting tips. You’ll also receive a special certificate to celebrate your achievement!

Please visit our events page here for more information and to book your place!

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is the only charity entirely dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring Yorkshire’s wildlife and wild places.

To help protect our wildlife and wild places please:

Follow the latest government guidance on social distancing
Follow any signage on site
Stick to the paths and trails, and check if dogs are welcome or need to be on a lead.
Take your litter home, as it’s harder for us to empty bins regularly.

Walking with Kids: The Whinger Games

(I forgot the snacks…)

Parents, we’ve all been there. You’re walking, the kids are moaning, there’s a general belief that one more step will be the one that makes their legs fall off…

And you’ve used up the entirety of your snack-based bribery arsenal! 

The horror! 

So what can you do? How can you make it back to base (or even better, the pub!) without stuffing your ears full of grass to drown out the whinge onslaught? 

Well, I can’t promise anything, but here are three top ways to motivate and accelerate your little walkers!

Ready

Take a picture. No, I don’t mean you! Hand it over to the kiddlies, whether it be a camera or a phone, and let them take creative control! The best game to play is photograph hide and seek. Task your explorers with finding an epic hiding spot…. then take a before shot…. and a BOO shot! Then giggle hysterically until you find another perfect hiding spot. 

Playing hide and seek, photo style!

Steady

Ok, so the novelty of the photo workshop has worn off. Enter the animal sound game! Tell them an animal, they have to do the sound. Then have a competition as to whoever does the best version of said sound. But wait…

There are several things you have to know about this game. The sound has to be neither accurate nor even animally sounding. Essentially, it’s an excuse to come up with crazy, crazy noises, which are likely to scare off any nearby walkers and make you look like an idiot. Can’t think why my two love it so much… still, if it stops the whingeing, I’ll take a crazed monkey noise any day! I guess if you are more normal than us, you might want to actually take some time and use this as a mindfulness activity.  A chance to listen to all the actual animal sounds surrounding you as you walk… but if you hear the native call of the angry honey-badger, you’re probably hearing us. Sorry about that.

Poo jumping. Yes!

Go!

Ok. You’ve run out of tricks… the finish line is in sight… but you have some super tired legs who can’t possibly take another step! Let me introduce you to Poo Jumping. Yes. You heard me correctly.

This is a top way of speeding up little legs on the home straight. And, well…. POO! I’m not sure I know of many kids who don’t find poo funny. Fact. So find some poo, run…. and leap over it. It’s a game so good, it has its own t-shirt! 

If you want to find more whinge-waiving wonder games, or more ways to make those walking moans sling their hook, head to: www.thereluctantexplorers.com

Count wildlife as you count your steps!

Credit: Mother and daughter walking through park, UK – Ben Hall2020VISION
Here at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, we’re gearing up for the Great Yorkshire Creature Count (Saturday 19th June – Sunday 20th June 2021).  We’re on a mission to discover how many different wildlife species we can collectively record in 24 hours, and are challenging folk in every corner of Yorkshire to record what they can see from their own doorsteps.

Whether that’s looking and listening out of a window, peering into and under pots and window boxes, exploring the nooks and crannies of a terraced yard, or scouring a leafy garden – we want to know what you see and where you see it!

You can complete your challenge on a local walk too. As you pop to the shop, stretch your legs around the block or take your four-legged friend for a walk, our blog features top tips on how and where to spot as much wildlife as you can from your front door.

Make your next walk count for wildlife as well as your heart, body and mind. Read our blog here: https://www.ywt.org.uk/blog/yorkshire-wildlife-trust/step-out-your-front-door-and-count-creatures-great-and-small

Join in our ‘wild Yorkshire census’ and get counting!

Sign up to the challenge today, receive instructions for taking part and get more creature counting tips here: https://www.ywt.org.uk/great-yorkshire-creature-count

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is the only charity entirely dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring Yorkshire’s wildlife and wild places.

To help protect our wildlife and wild places please:

Follow the latest government guidance on social distancing
Follow any signage on site
Stick to the paths and trails, and check if dogs are welcome or need to be on a lead.
Take your litter home, as it’s harder for us to empty bins regularly.

Discovering Yorkshire’s Seabird City

A walk along the cliff tops at Flamborough Cliffs Nature Reserve

Credit: George Stoyle

Did you know that Yorkshire’s Flamborough Headland is one of the best places in the country to see puffins from the land? With the site only six miles from Bridlington, come and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of Yorkshire’s bustling seabird city!

During the late spring and early summer, tens of thousands of seabirds return to Flamborough’s 100ft-high chalk cliffs to rear their chicks on the precarious ledges. To help you enjoy this seasonal highlight, Brian Lavelle, one of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Living Landscape Managers, has shared some of his top tips for exploring the cliffs in his blog.

As part of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Yorkshire Puffin Festival (29th – 31st May 2021), our wildlife experts have created a bundle of guides, factsheets and family-friendly itineraries to help you plan your action-packed trip to the cliffs! You can also experience Yorkshire’s seabird city remotely, through a fun-filled programme of online events for all the family. Guest speakers include BAFTA award-winning Springwatch producer and naturalist Stephen Moss and one of the directors of BBC’s Spy in the Wild television series, Rob Pilley. There’s even an online breakfast club for young puffin fans: featuring our mascot, Cliff, this will get your days off to a wild start! You’ll also find a competition, quizzes and more…


For more details, visit Yorkshire Puffin Festival | Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (ywt.org.uk)
Yorkshire Puffin Festival is proudly supported and funded by Yorkshire Coast BID businesses.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is the only charity entirely dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring Yorkshire’s wildlife and wild places.

To help protect our wildlife and wild places please:

Follow latest government guidance on social distancing
-Follow any signage on site
Stick to the paths and trails, and check if dogs are welcome or need to be on a lead. Dogs on a lead are welcome at Flamborough Cliffs Nature Reserve.
Take your litter home, as it’s harder for us to empty bins regularly.