Wolds Diary: Unexpected natural beauties are a special treat in the woods

A deer herd at Studley Royal in North Yorkshire, with red, fallow and sika deer.  Picture: Gary Longbottom
A deer herd at Studley Royal in North Yorkshire, with red, fallow and sika deer. Picture: Gary Longbottom
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It has certainly been a better week. This year looks as if it will be fun.

The dogs and I have been out on various walks and on one of them in a quiet wooded valley I spotted, thankfully before the dogs did, a couple of sika deer, one of which was heavily pregnant. They were astoundingly beautiful and watched me and my dogs pass on the path below them.

To see a species that was originally from Japan, thriving in a Yorkshire woodland was a rather special moment. Many years ago, when I was living in the New Forest I saw deer regularly but they are now a treat for me to see, although there are quite a few in the area local to where I live, mainly roe, and I have even seen a couple of muntjac deer.

On this occasion, I carried on with my walk and coming back about an hour later with the dogs on leads I noticed they were once again watching me from the valley side.

I put the dogs in the car after their walk, and left them there returning a short distance to where the deer had been, hoping to get a closer look. I was indeed fortunate that they came even closer. I think they were as interested in me as I was in them. Then some more walkers approached and they made off up the valley side and out of sight.

When I got back to the car the dogs were fast asleep. This lasted until I pulled up at our local farm shop and went in to get some more bird food. I was so exhilarated I allowed myself a treat of a packet of my favourite crisps, and a bar of special chocolate.

On the Tuesday evening I had been invited to speak to The De Lacy Flower Club dinner at a splendid country house hotel not far from the delightful village of Badsworth, where I had admired the sandstone buildings last year. I didn’t actually realize this until I almost arrived, with the help of my Satnav, and took a wrong turn and suddenly recognized where I was. Despite this I was early and had time to admire the listed building and sat in a very busy reception until those booking in were sorted and I then had a coffee.

When my hostess arrived I was very impressed with the fantastic flower arrangements her husband was fetching in for her. I introduced myself and was able to assist in putting name tags on tables. The decorations, which were of white roses, were placed in the centre of each table and one on another side table. When the party assembled, we sat down and I had a delicious meal in great company.

I think my talk went well and afterwards I was presented with one of the arrangements. I was thrilled. It now adorns my dining room table. I am able to get by in most things but flower arranging is not an art I can do. I have neither the patience or skill. I am full of admiration for those that can.

It was quite late when I left and after the drive I arrived home well after 11.30pm, tired but happy.

When the snow arrived one morning the weather was wild and the wind was causing quite a blizzard. I have a friend who is working not far from Beverley for a couple of weeks lodging and he had to head off in this blizzard. Once he had gone and I had geared myself up, I went to take the dogs out in the snow. This didn’t quite go to plan. Looroll took one look at the snow-covered ground and the sky and refused, escaping back into my bedroom, and refusing to budge from under the bed. To my surprise, she was joined by the Staffie and the old border collie. The little terrier Brillo couldn’t make up her mind so in the end I just went out with my black Labrador and then only for a short walk up into the woods above the estate.

This week a television series about the Wolds has started, Yorkshire Wolds Way. I watched the first one and am eagerly awaiting the rest. It is very gratifying that others appreciate the Wolds and its beauty, history and charm. Since I moved here I have been discovering hidden parts of countryside with wonderful wildlife, interesting geology and fabulous views.

To live here, as within anywhere in Yorkshire, is a privilege. The local people are very welcoming.