Winter starts to fade in Wharfedale as spring is in the air

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TUESDAY is the first day of March. And while this doesn’t mean that Spring is finally here (winter will no doubt have a sting in its tail over the coming weeks), it is hopefully an indication that the worst of the cold weather is behind us.

It’s not only the weather that is changing, the landscape is altering, too, and there are few better places to see the first signs of spring than in Wharfedale, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, as winter’s leaden colours undergo a verdant transformation - as seen here, looking out from Storiths to Barden Moor beneath a brooding Ashley Jackson sky.

Barden Moor is an area of upland between Skipton and Barden in Lower Wharfedale. It covers about 25 square miles from Embsay in the south to Burnsall in the north and from Rylstone in the west to Bolton Abbey in the east. It takes in such features as Cracoe Fell and Thorpe Fell.

The moor has been providing man with sustenance for many centuries. Its rich sea of heather was harvested for a number of uses including thatching, bedding and besom (broom) making. The last besom maker, John Lister, was still working at nearby Howgill in the 1930s.

Running from north to south, Wharfedale is one of the Yorkshire Dales’ longest and most beautiful valleys. It’s also one of the best known thanks, in part, to its relatively easy access to Leeds and Harrogate.

It is home to some of the most popular places on the Dales’ tourist trail, including Kettlewell, Grassington, Ilkley and Otley, as well as Hubberholme, famous for its church, the resting place of J B Priestley.

Wharfedale is often divided into what is arbitrarily known as “Upper Wharfedale” and “Lower Wharfedale” and stretches into both West and North Yorkshire.

It offers some of the best walks anywhere in the north of England and as winter’s stern grip slowly weakens and the first vestiges of Spring begin to emerge, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better place in which to revel in the natural wonders of God’s Own County.

Here is your Yorkshire weather forecast for the week ahead...

This Evening and Tonight:

Fine and dry with clear spells, some initial patchy cloud, and light winds. Temperatures falling away quickly during the evening, leading to another widespread sharp frost, perhaps with fog patches. Minimum Temperature -4 °C.

Monday:

Frosty start, then dry with hazy sunshine and light winds during the morning. Remaining dry through the afternoon but with thickening cloud and a strengthening southerly breeze. Rain arriving overnight. Maximum Temperature 6 °C.

Outlook for Tuesday to Thursday:

Tuesday, milder with wind and rain, clearing to showers later. Wednesday, cold and blustery with some sunshine and occasional wintry showers. Thursday: Lighter winds, cold, dry start then rain later.