Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Moor walking

It has been a while since we did a lengthy walk. Today was a research rest day for me so I thought that it would be good to get out into the fresh air.

Looking at walks close to home I decided that the Hole of Horcum walk sounded pleasant. It was only 20 or so minutes away, 7 miles all up with a decent pub for lunch.

By the time I cleared all my swimming emails and we got organised it was just on midday. We figured that lunch first and walk second was an idea. This meant that we would start our walk from Levisham rather than the carpark above the Hole Of Horcum.

I had been expecting fine weather. The forcast suggested fine with a top of around 20. Someone forgot to tell the weather and it was almost foggy all day which was unfortunate as the photos will not show how pretty the country was that we walked through.

Lunch was very pleasant. For a small village which seems to pride iteself on being very quiet, the pub was very busy. Not suprising when we encountered a lot of people on the walk.

Levisham prides iteself on not having a "rush hour". Apart from us, the only thing moving was the gent wandering home from the pub.

Our lunch spot, The horseshoe Inn at Levisham, was very nicely presented. A vey pleasant spot and worth the visit. It contained a number of prints. The one above our table was titled "Levisham Rush Hour" and there was not an animal, person or vehicle to be seen. I think they want us to believe that it is a very quiet village. Then there are the five, at least, places offering B&B. Perhaps they have an image to cultivate!

Our instructions had us going anti-clockwise but it is obvious that the walk can be easily done going the other way as we kept coming across people walking towards us.

The first part of the walk was along a narrow path transversing the side of a valley through which Levisham Beck gurgled. At the end of the valley the path dropped down to a junction at the foot of Dundale Griff. It seems that a griff is actually a valley or a cleft in the terrain.

Autumn colour are starting to appear

Trevor on our rather narrow track

The beck at the bottom of the valley
At this stage the forest gave way to farmland occuppied by sheep and cattle so we had to contend with manure splattered paths as the animals seem to use the same paths that the humans do and liberally relieve themselves as they walk.

The cattle didn't seem too perturbed by our passing

And these didn't even bother to so much as flick an ear!

Yeet another verdnat valley

The area was pretty isolated. The only building we passed on until we were also back at Levisham was the abandoned farm buildings of Low Horcum. From Low Horcum the pathed climbed steadily to the head of the Hole of Horcum.

The abandoned Low Horcum farm buildings

From this point back to Levisham was a moor walk. This moor was dry. I quite like dry moors. The heather is well past it best but there were still bits in flower. There were quite a few features that were noted on the moor. There were bronze age burrows and an iron age cross dyke which is assumed to have been a boundary marker between territories held by different communities.

Dundale Pond was created by the monks of Malton Priory in the 13th century to maintain a permanent water supply for their sheep and cattle. It was brackish however the current sheep and cattle are probably happy to use the pond.

Dundale Pond

The final couple of ks to Levisham were along a broad road between farmland. At one point we encountered a very well maintained dry wall.

Note the lovely wall
 Wlaking across Moors you cannot help but notice the heather. Grouse, a bird hunted at much expense, live in the heather. They use old, woody material to build their nests and fresh, new shoots to line it. To ensure sufficient "right" material is available for the grouse the moors are carefully managed. The heather is burnt on a seven year rotation. This means that there will always be woody mateial as well as fresh shoots for teh grouse. Such concern for their breeding needs is hardly matched by the shoots!

While the heather is clearly past its best it was still lovely to see

The different levels of the heather are due to the rotational burning of patches
We are starting to see autumn colours. I had not realised that bracken went a lovely golden colour in autumn.

The blackberries are still not quite ripe. I have managed to find the odd ripe berry. Blackberries are in evidence in amny places from London to the north.

Blackberries have been a very common companion during our stay

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