Picture Post: A stunning ode to the last of the melting snow

Moorland with a backdrop of Hawnby Hill between Helmsley and Osmotherley in North Yorkshire.PIC: Tony Johnson
Moorland with a backdrop of Hawnby Hill between Helmsley and Osmotherley in North Yorkshire.PIC: Tony Johnson
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WHEN you see photographs like this it’s easy to understand why artists, poets and musicians find themselves inspired by the great British countryside.

Places like Top Withens and Haworth Moor have become synonymous with the Brontë sisters, while much of Ted Hughes’s poetry is infused with the landscapes of the Calder Valley that formed the powerful backdrop to his childhood.

Ashley Jackson, too, has made his name painting what he calls the “frozen seas” of the Pennine Moors and artists continue to be enthralled by their raw, beguiling beauty.

In a few weeks time the bald tree pictured here, with Hawnby Hill rearing up in the background, will have begun to blossom and the landscape will transform from shades of brown into a lush carpet of green and purple, as the grasses and heather emerge once again from their winter slumber.

But the dull colours will linger for a few weeks yet as might the snow-capped tops.

It’s not just writers and artists who enjoy exploring the moorlands, they are hugely popular with walkers, too.

The Yorkshire moors are often characterised by long stretches of high moorland or deep valleys of dense woodland, but Hawnby Hill, roughly halfway between Helmsley and Osmotherley in North Yorkshire, offers something a little different.

A freak of geology at the end of the ice-age left two free-standing hills in the valley of Ryedale between the otherwise flat plateaus of the North York Moors.

These two hills, just north of the little village of Hawnby, are Easterside Hill and Hawnby Hill and, although it is only a short walk between them, it does involve climbing up and over both peaks and crossing open moorland, so it’s best to choose a good day.

Whatever the weather, though, there is something numinous about the vastness of the moors.

There is also something strangely binding about our bond with this unique Northern landscape. It reminds us of the ever-changing seasons and perhaps, too, our own fleeting presence.

Technical details: Nikon D3s, 28-70mm lens 640th @f13 500ISO. TJ100730c