Welcome, dear reader, to the Moors.
The Moors, you say? What are the Moors? The Moors are the North York Moors National Park: home to the largest single area of heather moorland in England. 554 square miles of windswept uplands and broad valleys, this region has been inhabited by humans since around 8,000 BCE, and hardly a landscape in Britain is richer in traces of prehistoric monuments, burial mounds and settlements. The Romans marched across these hills; the Vikings came here, and found themselves at home. Over the centuries, the Moors and their people have evolved and adapted to each other, creating a from a wild and seemingly barren landscape a uniquely beautiful environment, rich in history and heritage and fiercely beloved by both locals and visitors. On a first encounter, the North York Moors seem bleak, harsh and lonely; but once you learn to love them, nowhere in the world is their equal.
I grew up in the softer, greener countryside of Yorkshire’s West Riding, but my parents always brought me for trips and holidays to what I then knew only as “the Moors”, and the place got into my blood. Wind and sky, heather and dry-stone wall were the face of Heaven to me before I was old enough to know any different, and while I’ve wandered up and down the country in my life, I always, always wanted to live on the Moors. So in late 2013, when the chance came up to rent a house in the Moors village of Castleton, I jumped at it. I moved here with my housemate from Whitby, the Yorkshire coast town famous for Captain Cook and Count Dracula alike, to a beautiful old house at the top of Castleton that used to be one-half of a pub called the Buck Inn. I have a view over Danby Low Moor out of my living room window that takes my breath away, and an attic study whose window faces up Danby Dale for an equally beautiful alternative. I have a garden of my own and sheep wandering past my front gate. I have lovely neighbours. I have the whole rich history and culture of this amazing place to explore at will; and best of all, I have the wind and sun and sky and thousands of acres of wild heather, my beloved Moors, outside for the asking every time I step out of my front door.
And I realised: I am too lucky, and all of this is too beautiful, to keep it to myself.
This blog is, then, a chronicle of a Yorkshire life, by a Yorkshire lass. Here you’ll find posts about nature, wildlife, walks, local history, heritage and folklore. You’ll also find recipes, DIY and gardening tips, and crafts both traditional and modern, plus a few tips and suggestions in case you should have the good luck to visit the Moors yourself. So, please: sit thee down, have a cup of tea, and welcome.
Welcome to the Moors.