Roger Ratcliffe: How a walking festival in the Yorkshire Dales attracted visitors from around the world

When the Settle-Carlisle line was built in the second half of the 19th century its sole purpose was to provide the Midland Railway with an alternative route to Scotland during a bitter feud with rival company the London and North Western Railway.

The Yorkshire Post's new columnist Jill Thorp. Read about her exploits first in The Yorkshire Post's Country Week pages every Saturday.

New column: Jill Thorp’s farming life in between the M62

Our son had not long been born before my husband, Paul, was asking how soon it would be before he was capable of opening gates for him. In fact, his future on the farm was being mapped out in Paul’s head whilst the cord was being cut.

The Asian hornet.

How beekeepers are waking up to spring

It has been a hard winter for beekeepers. There are few tougher things for honeybees than being hit with a late cold spell just when they are at their weakest. After coping with the Beast from the East that the last thing any of us wanted was the discovery of the Asian Hornet as far north as Bury.

Read Julian Norton's column first in Country Week, inside The Yorkshire Post every Saturday.

Julian Norton: Hobbo has pants on his head

“Thank you so much. I’m sorry for bothering you. He has pants on his head now and that is much better.”

Shaun McKenna enjoys some respite from the farm

Shaun McKenna enjoys some respite from the farm

To say that I was taken aback is a bit of an under-statement, as it’s not what you’d expect to be witnessing, late on a Sunday afternoon on the streets of such a beautiful, North Yorkshire, picture postcard village.

The Hodgson family perform the annual springtime task of shepherding their ewes through the village of Askrigg.  Picture: Paul Barker /

Askrigg is still a traditional Yorkshire Dales retreat

At the start of every spring for centuries, a parade of pregnant ewes have hoofed it downhill through the Yorkshire Dales village of Askrigg to lower pastures, where they benefit from gentler climes when they are at their most delicate.

Electrical contractor Steven Dresser, who works specifically with farmers on all types of electrical work for farm buildings and new innovations. Pictured with dairy farmer John Banks, where Steven helped install in rotary milking parlour. Pictures by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Steven Dresser is lighting the way for the farmers

Getting your hands dirty is not so much a statement of intent more a fact of life for farmers. Boiler suits and wellington boots are the customary attire for those born to a world of ensuring livestock is cleaned out and tended to the best animal husbandry levels and that crops grow as well as they can when the weather is as it seems to have been for the past six months and more.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is encouraging people to go 30 Days Wild.

Seize spring and go 30 days wild

Do you like butter? The phrase many of us know from holding the commonly found buttercup under our chins to catch the light and one of the many simple ways we can enjoy our local wildlife.

Farmers have warned that there will be knock on affects from the wet weather at the start of the year throughout the rest of 2018. Picture by James Hardisty.

Part payments for farmers prove too late for many

Bridging payments worth more than £117m have been paid out to more than 3,200 farms in England but for many farmers they come too late to avoid the financial strain caused by prolonged wet weather that has only just abated.

Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers' Union, will speak to all the chief constables in the country about rural crime at a meeting in York today. Picture by Tim Scrivener.

NFU president Minette Batters urges police chiefs to act on rural crime

Minette Batters, the president of the National Farmers’ Union, will today urge chief constables to ensure farms and rural communities do not become a “soft target” for criminals.

Countryside crime involves organised criminals who specifically prey on farms and rural communities for specific items, North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said.

Mulligan says police face big job to crack organised rural crime

Police forces are still grappling to tackle the organised crime that is increasingly befalling rural communities, the chairwoman of the National Rural Crime Network said.


Crime chief Julia Mulligan calls for evidence to justify proactive rural policing

The head of a national police crime network has accused forces of being too responsive to rural crime, as she urged the public to help demonstrate the need for more proactive policing in the countryside.

The Rural Payments Agency is still processing payments for four per cent of Basic Payment Scheme recipients in the 2017 round.

Bridging payments go out to more than 3,200 farmers

Bridging payments worth more than £117m have been paid out to more than 3,200 farms in England, the Rural Payments Agency has announced.

Wensleydale has a long history of dairying, which the new Dairy Days project will aim to tell through human stories, artefects and more. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

New project to dig deep into Wensleydale’s dairy heritage

A new two-year project aims to tell the story of how dairy farming has been an intrinsic part of the Wensleydale economy for generations.

Thousands of farmers who grew sugar beet in 1999 and 2000 are set for a share of the levy refund following the EU ruling.

Sugar beet growers set for share of £6m-plus refund

Sugar beet growers are set for a share of more than £6m after a landmark ruling.

Ian Sergant of Laurel Vines tests the 2017 variety of his wines. Pictures by Steve Riding.

Grapes go from vine to wine on the farm in Aike

Slip back to the days when the UK’s number one hits included Tragedy, I Will Survive and YMCA and you begin to understand what is meant by the phrase “they don’t make ’em like that anymore”.

The vice president of the National Farmers' Union, Stuart Roberts.

NFU vice president Stuart Roberts wants more food focus in Whitehall plans for farming

Every farmer should engage with the Government’s consultation on the future of agriculture, the newly-elected vice president of the National Farmers’ Union, Stuart Roberts, said, as he revealed his own concerns about the proposed direction of post-Brexit policy.

The River Ribble at Horton in Ribblesdale, one of the rivers which has been earmarked for the new salmon catch and release rule. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Environment Agency defends proposed salmon ‘catch and release’ policy

Only by taking concerted action now on England’s rivers can salmon be protected for generations to come, the Environment Agency said in response to criticism about its proposed new catch and release policy for the species.

An ibex making light of the mountainous terrain. Pictures courtesy of Robert Fuller.

Wolds artist Robert Fuller tracks the ibex on mountain trail

I started drawing wildlife when I was 13-years-old but it wasn’t until I was 15 before I considered myself any good.

Robins and great tits are among the first songsters of the season. Picture: RSPB/PA Wire.

Time to get in tune with the dawn chorus

A chorus of shrill notes played out from feathered chests tell us that winter is giving way to spring. Natural melodies from winged wildlife perched in the outside world beyond our bedroom windows tell us warmer weather is on its way, and of course, that a new day is dawning.

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