The village I live and in and grew up in is nestled into the top edge of the North York Moors National Park – just a stone’s throw away from the wild heather and woolly sheep that roam freely.
The dry stone walls are in true Yorkshire style - different counties and areas have their own style of dry stone wall that identify the area, did you know that? Aside from the difference in locally mined stone, patterns and building styles also change across the UK!
The seasons are never more telling than on the moor top, which features some of the most spectacular scenery in England. In summer and autumn, the ling and bell heather variants turn purple, carpeting the area in rich colour. In winter when there are no birds nesting, patches of heather are burned back to encourage new, fresh roots – the moors take on a sparse feeling, but still beautiful in its own way.
People throughout history have made the moors their home – from Ice Age hunters through to Romans and recent wartime history – there’s evidence in many places and museums. I love a little potter through to the Ryedale Folk Museum at Hutton-le-Hole and Danby Lodge – both with lovely collections from the past. There are lovely places to visit, like Goathland where some cracking 90s television was filmed, and more recently (ish!), Harry Potter scenes with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Robbie Coltrane.
Villages across the moor also honour our heroes of WWII and a simpler time with vintage 1940s celebrations and festivals throughout the summer. There’s nothing like the sound of a brass or swing band playing on the platform as a coal-fuelled locomotive pulls into the station and its whistles blasts! As a child, Dad would always try and get me to stand on the bridge over the line at Goathland as the train came into station – the noise and the smoke always terrified me! I can smell it now.
I’ve spent many a summer on the moortop with my family – paddling in streams and eating picnic amongst spongy grass and reeds. It holds a special place in my heart, and every time I pass across it on the Moor Road, I remember to appreciate how untouched it is, and that it’s on my doorstep.
Having such a wild and beautiful place on my doorstop has definitely inspired the latest collection I'm working on - Autumn should see the introduction of the Heather paper, in reflection of the purple hues from the moor top. I can't wait to share it!