Picture Post: Grazing sheep in sun-glazed Nidderdale fields near the Yorkshire Dales

Sheep graze in a sun-glazed part of patchwork fields in North Yorkshire as spring well and truly sets in.

Picture by Tony Johnson. Technical details: Nikon D6 with a 70-200mm lens shot with the exposure 1/250th @ f8 250 ISO.

The scene was captured at the village of Lofthouse, near to the Gouthwaite Reservoir, deep in Nidderdale near Pateley Bridge.

The village itself has a school, hall and pub, the Crown Hotel.

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If it sounds small, that’s because it is - there’s one road in and one road out the beautiful Upper Nidderdale spot.

It also lies in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and near the eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, so its attractions are considerable.

It’s not the simplest place to just stop by, though.

To reach the village, motorists have to negotiate a narrow twisting route, but thrill-seekers from all over the country are rewarded by then into the hills in pursuit of action at How Stean Gorge. The gorge, which is 80ft deep in places, is a limestone ravine carved out by thousands of years of flowing water and is also home to How Stean Gorge outdoor adventure and activities centre.

This is a top spot for outdoor pursuits, including abseiling, canoeing and mountain biking.

It also has Yorkshire’s only Via Ferrata, a walking/climbing route using metal rungs and ladders.

Nearby Studfold, ‘The Nidderdale Experience’, also offers outdoor activities and operates as a caravan, glamping and camping park.

Gouthwaite Reservoir Nature Reserve and its site of Special Scientific Interest, meanwhile, attracts a wide range of wetland birds and raptors.

The attraction has a car park and picnic area (keeping cash is ideal - it operates on an honesty box system) as well as three viewing points along the reservoir.

Oystercatchers, willow warblers, blackcaps and spotted flycatchers are said to be common.

Kingfishers are often seen when the water level is low and green woodpeckers live on the north back of the reservoir, according to Visit Harrogate, which says that even Golden Eagles have been seen.

Technical details: Nikon D6 camera, 70-200mm lens, exposure of 1/250th second at f8, ISO 250.