William’s Den co-founder and farmer's daughter Tor Carver on her favourite places in Yorkshire

Tor Carver is the co-founder and creator of the multi-award winning William’s Den, an adventure play destination designed for families, based near North Cave, East Yorkshire and which is named after her son, William.

What’s your first Yorkshire memory?

One of my earliest memories is the hot summer of 1976, sitting in pea fields with my brother James stuffing our faces with peas as the viners harvested around us. I grew up in a big family, my father and his brothers grew peas for Birdseye and harvest was always our favourite time of year.

What’s your favourite part of the county?

Tor Carver at William's Den near North CaveTor Carver at William's Den near North Cave
Tor Carver at William's Den near North Cave

I’m an East Yorkshire girl, born and bred in Saltmarshe, just outside Howden, in the Vale of York. I spent much of my childhood on a bike with my cousin Katherine, stopping at Laxton village shop for bags of penny sweets before cycling for miles taking in the vast fields of wheat, the wide open spaces, trees and the River Ouse.

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

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It would have to be spent with friends and family – on a boat. I’ve always wanted to hire a boat in York and sail down the Ouse, all the way to where the Ouse meets the Humber and then out to sea. We’d have breakfast, lunch and dinner on the boat and retrace the route the Vikings took but in reverse, taking in all the views along the way.

Do you have a favourite view?The honest truth is that my favourite views are at William’s Den; from The Hideout you look out onto the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds, from the top of the driveway you can see the river Humber in the distance, the Lincolnshire Wolds, and the village of North Cave and from the campsite looking west, the great big skies deliver the best sunsets.

The White Horse at Kilburn, North Yorkshire,  Britain's largest white horse in surface area situated on the SSW facing steep slope of Roulston Scar. This unique artwork designed and financed by Thomas Taylor, a Victorian businessman, and was cut into the hillside in 1857. Picture By Yorkshire Post Photographer,  James Hardisty.The White Horse at Kilburn, North Yorkshire,  Britain's largest white horse in surface area situated on the SSW facing steep slope of Roulston Scar. This unique artwork designed and financed by Thomas Taylor, a Victorian businessman, and was cut into the hillside in 1857. Picture By Yorkshire Post Photographer,  James Hardisty.
The White Horse at Kilburn, North Yorkshire, Britain's largest white horse in surface area situated on the SSW facing steep slope of Roulston Scar. This unique artwork designed and financed by Thomas Taylor, a Victorian businessman, and was cut into the hillside in 1857. Picture By Yorkshire Post Photographer, James Hardisty.

Which Yorkshire sportsman would you like to take for lunch?

Hull City player, Dean Windass. He was hero of the hour when Hull City won the play-off final at Wembley in 2008, a very proud moment for Hull.

Which Yorkshire stage or screen star would you like to take for dinner?I was fortunate enough once to interview Dame Judi Dench during my time as a broadcast journalist. She was just as wonderful as you’d expect. But it was a very short interview, so I would love the luxury of more time with her.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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

Staying close to home, the small market town of Howden has everything – charming architecture, independent shops, a real sense of community and the beautiful Minster.

What do you think gives Yorkshire its unique identity?Its landscapes and its people. The contrast of pretty villages and breathtaking views juxtaposed with busy cities and giant power stations is totally unique. And the people of Yorkshire, well what can I say, the salt-of-the-earth, we tell it like it is and work blooming hard.

Do you follow sport in the county?It is honest to say that I support Hull City… by association. My husband and son are two of their biggest fans, they rarely miss a home game and support the team away as often as they can.We’re rugby parents too and spend a lot of time on the touchline supporting our son when he’s playing for school or for Driffield Rugby Club whose first team recently became Yorkshire Cup winners.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What’s your favourite restaurant/pub?For cosy nights with friends, we love village pub, The Hotham Arms. Villa D’Este in nearby Ellerker is great for its delicious, authentic Italian food and The Star at Sancton is a firm family favourite for its excellent Sunday Lunches. In North Yorkshire the iconic pub, The Durham Ox at Crayke is a favourite dining destination not only for the great food and ambience but in the summer of 1990, I worked behind the bar and waitressed in the restaurant. Loved it.

Do you have a favourite food shop?

Annie’s Fruit Bowl is a green grocers in Howden. It’s a favourite of mine not just for the friendly service and great range of fresh produce but because the smells transport me back to my childhood when I helped my mother in her green grocers in Selby during school holidays. Sometimes, mum would take me with her to Humber Street in Hull to buy for the shop. It was so exciting getting up when everyone else was asleep.How do you think that Yorkshire has changed, for better or for worse, in the time that you’ve known it?I think Yorkshire has managed to change with the times, embracing new ideas and influences while staying true to its values. If I had to change anything about Yorkshire it would have to be the public transport network in rural areas. I’d love to be able to reopen rural railway lines and add or reinstate bus routes. It would help rural communities immeasurably.

Who is the Yorkshire person that you most admire?There are too many to mention but one individual I’ve admired for decades is John Barry, the multi award-winning composer and conductor of film music who hails from York. Probably best known for his work with many Bond films, Midnight Cowboy and Out of Africa - he was a genius.

Has Yorkshire influenced your work?

Being a farmer’s daughter from Yorkshire has influenced my approach to work and life wherever I’ve roamed. My siblings and I were brought up to make the most of every opportunity, be curious about the world and the people in it, learn from mistakes and be humble.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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

Actress, scriptwriter, producer and director Kay Mellor is a woman whose talent I admired for many years and sadly she is no longer with us to conceive new projects. She had an incredible ability to create characters and storylines that touched audiences and always came across as an individual with such warmth.

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

The White Horse at Kilburn in North Yorkshire. Standing there it seems as though the whole of Yorkshire stretches out before you, what better place for them to take in the magic of this wonderful region.

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.