Yorkshire (Wolds & North York Moors)

Rural North Yorkshire is at the forefront of the push to preserve those things that make places different, interesting and…well, real.

Mike Bagshaw, author of North York Moors & Yorkshire Wolds

North Yorkshire is England’s largest county, and an astonishingly diverse region. Over 100 miles separate the lofty peaks of the Pennines west from the sea-cliffs and sandy strands of the east, with pastoral limestone dales, rich farmland and rolling heather moors nestled in between.

Comprising the North York Moors, the Howardian Hills, the Yorkshire Wolds and York itself (one of the most fascinating, historic and ‘Slow’ cities in the country), this region of Britain is as surprising as it is spectacular.

While many places are rediscovering the value of the traditional, real and genuine, and renewing connections with their history and landscape, many corners of rural North Yorkshire never lost them in the first place. This old-fashionedness has attracted some good-natured humour, and not a little malicious ridicule in its time but, as far as I’m concerned, it’s an attribute rather than a fault.

So-called progress has brought us cheap, mass-produced goods sold in supermarkets the size of villages and even bigger shopping malls. Thankfully, a backlash is taking place, and rural North Yorkshire is at the forefront of the push to preserve those things that make places different, interesting and…well, real.

Folk are fighting hard to keep their village shops open, promote locally produced, high-quality food and drink, and encourage their own artists and artisans. These are the special people – the brewers, potters, shop-keepers, fishermen, farmers, wood-carvers, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers – that have managed to capture a little of the essence of their corner of this singular county, and enable you to feel it, smell it, taste it or even take a little of it away with you.

Climb a few hills, stroll through the woods and meditate in a ruined abbey, eat a pork pie by the river from the village butchers and finish the day in an old stone pub, with a glass of your favourite tipple and a crackling fire to toast your feet on – there are certainly worse ways of passing time. 

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