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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A Wolds walk near Huggate

Horse Dale (Nikon D90, 70-300mm)
On Sunday morning we went for our customary walk up on the Yorkshire Wolds, and with fine weather yet again it was a joy to walk on these rolling chalk hills with a deliciously crisp and chill wind blowing away the Christmas cobwebs. Walking in the Wolds is always a pleasurable experience with very few people to disturb either ourselves or the wildlife which calls this area home, and in the damper months of the year the free draining and firm chalky soil generally ensures that the ground, for the most part, remains firm and pleasant for walking. Though it has been strange to experience a December with an almost complete absence of wintry weather we can at least be thankful that the weather woes of the North Sea coasts earlier in the month and more recently the flooding in southern and western parts of this island have left this region unscathed (at least so far!).

Shadows in Horse Dale

A view towards Horse Dale from the Huggate/Wayrham road

Winter Wolds landscape

Lovely blue winter skies

Cereal stubble and bales in an unploughed field

However though the Wolds are generally quiet and undisturbed, it is not unusual in this festive season to meet more people than usual out and about, and this was the case on Sunday morning with family groups going for bracing walks, many of whom were perhaps discovering the Yorkshire Wolds for the first time much as I had some 20 years ago when I first moved down here from the Pentland Hills of Lothian in the December of 1993. If some of these walkers were indeed newcomers to this often overlooked corner of Yorkshire they certainly saw it at its best what with the low winter sun bathing the countryside in a lovely golden glow, the yellow grasses of the south facing dale sides further emphasising this attractive and warm toned light.

A view of the point where Horse Dale meets Holm Dale

Upper Horse Dale

Another view of Horse & Holm Dales

The nearby village of Huggate

Wildlife wise the morning was dominated by the mammalian life which calls the Yorkshire Wolds home, with a couple of Roe Deer out on the high cereal fields and large numbers of Brown Hares in the grass covered downs. Interestingly a couple of Hares were even seen chasing and boxing each other a little, the mild winter perhaps confusing them too, though it was somewhat half-hearted and didn't have the same intensity as would have been the case in February or March. Bird wise it was very quiet with not even a Buzzard to be seen, though a few Kestrels were spotted as were Skylarks along the wheel tracks of the cereal fields.

Brown Hare taking flight

Another shot of a Brown Hare fleeing away

Roe Deer