Inland from the Yorkshire coast are the moors. The North Yorkshire Moors are the largest expanse of heather moorland in the UK and the colour is spectacular when the heather is blooming in late summer; a sea of purple visible even from great distances.
The N Yorks moors cover an area of around 554 square miles, stretching from the coast in the east, to Teeside in the north, the Vale of Mowbray to the west and the Vale of Pickering to the south. A large part of this is designated as a National Park, having been granted this status in 1952 through the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949.
The Moors are a wonderful place to walk, They have a feel of being untamed, even though they are mostly managed or farmed. I always have a sense of being out in the wide open spaces and away from the clutter and pressures of daily life. They are like a breath of fresh air after a crowd filled room, with the main companions being sheep and larks.
This particular sheep is a Swaledale and she was very intrested to see whether we might be bringing something edible for her.
Odd to think that, around 200 million years ago, this whole area would have been a tropical sea. The shale (from which the alum can be extracted) and the sandstone are accompanied by limestone which formed from the dead bodies of shell fish and belts of coral. In more recent years (geologically speaking) ice ages have formed glaciers and caused floodwaters, which have gouged out the areas of lowland surrounding the moors. The Vale of Pickering was, for example, once a vast lake.
Today, the moors are drained by the rivers Esk and Derwent (Derwent, Yorkshire; not to be confused with the completely separate Derwent, Derbyshire). The Esk flows out into the North Sea at Whitby, while the Derwent pursues a more southerly course, eventually flowing into the River Ouse.