Heres one from Andrew Middleton of Wild Country Walkabouts.
Andrew has many strings to his bow including leading guided walks in Rosedale, his observations of the rich wildlife, flora and fauna in this walk are beautiful. Thanks Andrew. Once again, Rosedales secret Daffodil Walk gets a mention !
An enjoyable walk for me doesn’t have to be long, challenging or go anywhere in particular. What it does have to do is bring me close to nature. I want to hear natural sounds, smell natural scents and see living things going about their lives. I want to walk on uneven ground and feel the ups and downs of the earth. I want to be able to reach out and touch the rough, the smooth. (The coarse and the delicate fabrics of life). I want to squish in mud, splash in water and crunch leaves and twigs underfoot. I want to look up and see big skies.
A short walk that allows me to do all these things begins in the heart of Rosedale Abbey and meanders up North Dale to a small wooden bridge. From there I can extend my travels to Rosedale East and home, or retrace my steps to the village.
I always begin my walk passing between The Old Methodist Chapel and Beckside Cottage. Immediately, as I turn onto the track, the music of the beck lifts my spirit and lightens my step. Today daffodils line the path and lead me on to wilder places.
As I pass through the first field gate I am always drawn to look up to the high ground to the East. Once I was rewarded with the sight of a peregrine, flying hard and fast above the ridge line. I am always reminded here, of the words of J. A Barker. ‘The hawk flies quickly upward to the breaking clouds. Swerving and twisting away from the misty lower air, he rises to the first faint warmth of the sun, feels delicately for wing-hold on the sheer fall of sky. He is a tiercel, lean and long and supple winged, the first of the year. He is the colour of yellow ochre sand and reddish brown gravel. His big brown spaniel eyes shine wet in the darker matt brown of the moustachial mask. He sweeps away to the west. ‘The Peregrine’ .
At the second field gate I stay low by the beck, passing close to a tall Silver Birch that appears to have lots of nests in it. However, all is not what it appears as these are ‘Galls’, growth deformities caused by fungi or mites. In autumn you may see red and white Fly Agaric toadstools around the base of Silver Birches, the two engaged in a symbiotic relationship. Other trees to look out for along the beckside are; Alder, Hazel, Rowan, Holly and Sycamore.
From across the beck, high above me, a welcome raucous sound. Rooks! Back on their nests high in Hill Plantation. I’ve always loved this sound. Every English country village should have the sound of rooks drifting through it. A member of the Crow family, easily identified by the large grey area at the base of the bill, they should be the pasture growers friend, feeding mainly on Leatherjackets, (larvae of the Daddy Longlegs), that live beneath the turf eating away the roots. Sadly, even many country people don’t know what they fed on and see them as pests. If Rooks excite you as much as they do me, read ‘Crow Country’ by Mark Cocker, it’s a delight.
At the end of March and into early April the banks of the beck are decorated with wild daffodils with some magnificent spreads, on bank tops where the beck meanders away from the field fence. Thankfully this protects the blooms from grazing livestock. I get down low and look across the trumpet tops, breathing in their delicate scents. Fantastic!
A new boardwalk leads across a wet area and then ahead, through the next gate a large log makes a splendid seat. Here I sit a while and watch and wait. As the French writer Collette wrote, ‘The Earth belongs to anyone who stops for a moment, gazes and goes on his way.’ Even though nothing comes close by today, I have memories of a hare, a stoat, a Roe deer and a Jay that stopped a while. I love the bouncy gait of jays and their iridescent plumage, especially the flashes of blue on their wings.
Not far away is another great sitting place. Great stone slabs form a bridge across the beck. Sit and dangle your legs over the babbling waters, next to the Rowan. A Kingfisher or Wagtail may come this way. Today a swift, darting Dipper! Hopefully one day, an otter!! Note the Alder on your right. Tree and stone wall have become one. Alders spread their seeds by floating them on the water and so it’s no surprise to find them growing all along the waterways of Rosedale. The timber is very resistant to decay in water and so was used to support buildings in Venice. Surprisingly the wood has also been used to make electric guitars, including the Fender Stratocaster.
Across the path to my right a hazel stands proud on the banking. I’m reminded of childhood makings of bows and arrows and walking sticks. I make a note for Autumn, a good looking, stout, stick awaits my saw.
Not far to the wooden bridge and the end of this short but fulfilling walk. I stand and watch the waters flow beneath me and drop a stick onto the swirling surface. I wonder how long it will take for that same water to run under the village. Quicker than I can get there I guess. I notice mosses and liverworts growing on the stone walls where water cascades over them from the land above, splashing into the beck and on down the valley, where I must go.
I turn and leave the bridge, back towards the village. It’s not the same walk though, different order, different views. I see things I missed as I walked by from behind them. Now I walk towards them I recall a poem from Lord of The Rings. ‘…..still round the corner we may meet a sudden tree or standing stone that none have seen but we alone…….still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate, and though we pass them by today, tomorrow we may come this way and take the hidden paths that run towards the moon or to the sun.’
Take a short, slow walk to nowhere and see the world through different eyes. Enjoy!
Wild Country Walkabouts