Elspeth Biltoft of Rosebud Preserves on her love for Yorkshire's breathtaking scenery

Yorkshire-born and bred, Elspeth Biltoft set up her multi-award-winning business Rosebud Preserves in 1989 from Rosebud Farm, near Masham, on the edge of the North Yorkshire Dales.

What’s your first Yorkshire memory?

I was very young and I remember my dad putting me on his shoulders and walking out into the Yorkshire Dales. No matter what the weather. I particularly loved the valleys but he loved the top of the moors and I remember him striding out although I found them rather barren. It was the 1950s and there’s a photograph of me all bundled up. It is those early memories with my dad that have given me my love of the natural world.

What’s your favourite part of the county – and why?

Mist blows through Wensleydale near Askrigg situated in the Yorkshire Dales National Park photographed for The Yorkshire Post by Tony Johnson.Mist blows through Wensleydale near Askrigg situated in the Yorkshire Dales National Park photographed for The Yorkshire Post by Tony Johnson.
Mist blows through Wensleydale near Askrigg situated in the Yorkshire Dales National Park photographed for The Yorkshire Post by Tony Johnson.

There are so may beautiful parts of the county but I really love Marske where I was born. It had everything you could want as a child, streams to play in, lots of trees so at this time of the year you could kick through the fallen leaves. It might not be the most beautiful part of Yorkshire but for me it had everything and gave me my connection with nature which runs through everything I do.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What’s your idea of a perfect day, or a perfect weekend, out in Yorkshire?

It is to go from where I live in Masham, up Sutton Bank and across then drop down into Robin Hood’s Bay. It has to be out of season though. There’s a little antiques shop there – I love to collect antiques – which I really love.

Do you have a favourite walk – or view?

Elspeth Biltoft likes to go on a circular walk in Wensleydale that starts in AskriggElspeth Biltoft likes to go on a circular walk in Wensleydale that starts in Askrigg
Elspeth Biltoft likes to go on a circular walk in Wensleydale that starts in Askrigg

There are so many to choose from but there’s a circular walk you can do starting in Askrigg which has some beautiful Georgian buildings and a really pretty church. You can walk from there up to Mill Gill Force Falls - which is really spectacular, and up through a line of beech trees. You go back via Lower Straight Lane and the views across Wensleydale are breathtaking.

Which Yorkshire sportsman, would you like to take for lunch?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I don’t follow that much sport but I would invite Geoffrey Boycott. I saw him referred to as a dogged grafter and that for me sums up Yorkshire spirit. He had a very hard life growing up and I would be really interested to ask him abut how he got to where he has.

Which Yorkshire stage or screen star would you like to take for dinner?

It would have to be Dame Judi Dench. The York born actor is so versatile from incredible Shakespearean roles when she was younger such as Lady Macbeth and then to star in eight Bond films and so many other films including Mrs Brown. She says what she thinks and I like that.

If you had to name your Yorkshire ‘hidden gem’, what would it be?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It would be the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond. There is a museum behind the theatre. My dad was an engineer and worked for the council and was involved in the charity in 1963 that started to bring the theatre back to life.

If you could choose somewhere, or some object, from or in Yorkshire to own for a day, what would it be?

It would be the Middleham Jewel. Before I went to university I worked at the Bowes Museum and got the chance to see and even touch it. It is a late 15th century gold pendant, set with a large blue sapphire, and was discovered in 1985 near Middleham Castle. But what is so amazing is the workmanship, especially the gold – it’s fantastic.

What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity?

Being the largest county it takes a long time to get from one end to the other. And it has everything from the Dales to the Moors; running from the edge of the Lake District over to to Whitby and Scarborough. It has the Brontes, and Pen-y-Ghent and Wensleydale cheese to name just a few. I am not precious about Yorkshire like some people, but I was born here and it is unique.

Do you follow sport in the county, and if so, what?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I did get very taken up with the Tour de Yorkshire in particular that amazing image of the peloton climbing up Buttertubs. It came close to us and I was among the crowds on the side of the road watching it.

Do you have a favourite restaurant, or pub?

I haven’t really eaten out that much since Covid but I do love Mediterranean food. I have three daughters and two of them are really good cooks. I do think there are some good, small and simple restaurants in York doing some great Italian food which I love especially a place we found called Il Paradiso Del Cibo in Warmsgate.

Do you have a favourite food shop?

I have a few but my favourite has to be the Courtyard Dairy in Settle and owner Andy Swinscoe. I love cheese, although I can’t eat it as much I used to, but Andy really supports small Yorkshire producers.

How do you think that Yorkshire has changed, for better or for worse, in the time that you’ve known it?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I try to spend as much time as possible out in the country ide and with nature where hopefully things haven’t changed that much over years. I love history and Rievaulx Abbey and now there is a small museum there displaying all the artefacts they have found, that is a welcome addition.

If you had to change one thing in, or about Yorkshire, what would that be?

We should grow more trees, not just in Yorkshire but nationally, particularly deciduous trees.

Who is the Yorkshire person that you most admire?

There are three. Firstly Amy Johnson, secondly William Wilberfoss and thirdly my father – he wasn’t actually born in Yorkshire but he loved the county when he moved here to marry my mum and he instilled in me a love of the countryside which is at the core of everything I do.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Name your favourite Yorkshire book/author/artist/CD/performer.

Alan Bennett who I just admire so much for his brilliant writing and observation and David Hockney especially his small sketches of dogs.

If a stranger to Yorkshire only had time to visit one place, where should it be?

It has to be York Minster. To just walk inside and try to understand how man actually made such an incredible place regardless of whether you are relgious, is astounding.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.