Posts tagged ‘North York Moors’

September 7, 2012

A Patch of Green

Last night, after tea, my husband announced that we should all go for a walk on the Valley. To a chorus of groans and calls for one more episode of Scooby Doo, he insisted. And, he was right. It was a glorious evening. We took our ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ football (a top quality piece of kit!), and walked through the grass paths of Primrose Valley to the playing fields where we ran about and played.

The photo I took at the end of our time there really does sum up how lovely it was, even though it’s somewhat rose-tinted through an Instagram filter.

When we think of the great outdoors, we may think of the National Parks, which for me means the Yorkshire Dales or the North York Moors. We think of beautiful and protected landscapes. Those are the jewels in the crown of our national, natural environment. And rightly so. But I would argue that they are not the green spaces that make the most difference. What makes the most difference to people is green space on our doorstep, close enough to where we live for it to form part of our everyday lives and not just be part of a special occasion or to see en route to the coast. This, proven to have positive effects on both our physical and mental health, can be sadly lacking in less wealthy areas. People are too scared to use green spaces, or they’re just not used to the idea that time spent outdoors, just for the sake of a walk or run about in the fresh air, can be great.

When I posted my photo, people commented on how perfect it looked. I blame my use of Instagram for that. It’s not perfect. There is litter, people let their dogs use it as a toilet around the edges, and yes, there can be the odd bout of anti-social behaviour (and here isn’t the place for looking at the deeper causes of that).

But it’s also one of the reasons we wanted to live here. It’s a giant, often underused, patch of wild green space in the city. Thankfully it has a small committed band of volunteers working to keep it looking as good as it does. I love it here. And we’ll be back again after tea another day…

Where is your favourite patch of green space? Is there one close to where you live? I’d love to know…

August 30, 2011

Camping without the glamour.

Camping in Yorkshire, even in mid-summer, requires a certain amount of fortitude. Which, sadly I do not possess. Still, on Friday I found myself bound for North Yorkshire (only an hour away from home) for a long weekend’s worth of camping with my husband and the kids, planning to pitch the tent and stay for three nights. You know what they say about God laughing when you tell him your plans?

As we drove past the lovely forest cabins (with hot-tubs), past the caravans, past the premium pitches with hard standing and electric hook-ups, down to the standard pitches, the sky was already looking ominous. Roughly thirty seconds after the tent was put up, the heavens opened. For fourteen hours…

The children were terribly excited about the whole thing and by bedtime, had tired themselves out enough to fall asleep without much hassle. Unlike me. Freezing cold and unable to sleep, partly because of the knowledge that if I needed the bathroom in the night I had to get changed, put on wellies and a raincoat and trudge up through the quagmire of a field to the toilets, I lay awake in the tent, listening to the never-ending rain. As the night got colder, I added layer after layer of clothing. By 2am, I was wearing socks, leggings, two vests, a t-shirt, a sweater, a blanket and a pink fluffy hat borrowed from my daughter with rabbit ears and a pom-pom tail. David, also still awake, looked at the darkening pool of water above us – even though the tent was pitched fine, the sheer amount of water meant that it was struggling to stay watertight. He got up to try and disperse the water off the ┬átent. Which he did. Straight onto my head. As I lay in bed (now also wearing a towel) David recited tales from the adventures of Scott and Shackleton. Amazingly, I managed not to kill him, and by 3am, I was feeling distinctly warmer, thanks to the addition of my two year old son, who had woken up and would only settle back to sleep in my bed.

The following morning, ridiculously feeling like a survivor of some extreme expedition (the Scott tales must have lodged firmly in my brain) I watched as car after car failed to drive off the field, surrounded by groups of watching men muttering under their breath about how they would do it if they were driving. The idea of being marooned on the campsite field was making me pretty cross, so I was staggeringly grateful that David was the only one who managed it without a tractor pulling him out.

I asked Eve what she thought of camping in the rain. ‘Rubbish’, she replied. ‘Do you want to go home?’ ‘No!’ So another night was on the cards.

The day was much sunnier, and as we drove over the top of the purple heather-covered North York Moors and towards the sea, I was reminded that although Yorkshire on a bad day can be horrible, on a good day, there is truly nowhere on Earth more beautiful.