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      April 2011 > For England and St George!
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For England and St George!

It’s St George’s Day on Saturday and what better time to be in England, with forecasts predicting a hotter Easter in most areas of the UK than in the Med. If you wish to celebrate all that’s great about England, why not choose one of our short walking breaks to discover some of the more beautiful corners of this green and pleasant land?

Hawthorn hedge in flower, spring 2011It’s astonishing how quickly we seem to have gone from the greyness of late-winter into the brilliance of spring. Dull, brown hedgerows are suddenly bursting into life, the trees are turning a million impossible shades of green as they leaf and brightly coloured flowers are springing up on every wayside bank and along every trickling stream. Let yourself be captivated by the miles and miles of white hawthorn blossom hedgerows that tempt you to follow them on a leisurely exploration of the Castles of the Shropshire Marches, culminating in your arrival at historic Ludlow, possibly ‘the most perfect town in England’.
 

Delicate flowers of the horse chestnut treeEven more quintessentially English is the country house or stately home and nowhere is this truer than at Chatsworth in the Derbyshire Peak District. Though you walk mainly along the wild edges that characterise the moors, you start in the more genteel surrounding of one of England’s best-loved homes. This grand historic house is set within acres of well-kept parkland, where monumental trees are also beginning to flower. The incredibly delicate flowers (right) of the horse chestnut illuminate the tree’s mighty stature with seemingly hundreds of glittering chandeliers. Their intricate beauty is quite remarkable so next time you see one, go and have a closer look.

Lion's teethThough the daffodil is now waning, its golden mantle has been taken up by none other than the humble dandelion, named after its jagged leaves, said to resemble a lion’s teeth, les ‘dents de lion’. Walking from Aysgarth to Castle Bolton in the Classic Yorkshire Dales, the fields are aglow with this often neglected common flower, perfectly complementing the fresh green grass and bright blue sky with the vibrancy of a Van Gogh painting. You may regard this plant as a weed in your garden but in such meadows, where they grow in such profusion (left), they are a joy to behold.
 

Cow parlsey in the hedgerowsOne of my particular favourites, and a sure sign that summer is really on its way, is cow parsley. Even if you don’t know the name, you’ll surely recognize the fresh, green fern-like leaves and frothy flat heads of this very common plant that shimmer along our roadsides in the warm sunshine of late spring (left). Follow In the Footsteps of Saints between Bamburgh and Seahouses and a delicate wash of cow parsley lines the dunes, beyond which deserted beaches and the surge of the surf will rejuvenate even the weariest of bones, casting aside those residual winter blues once and for all.
 

Wild woodland garlicIt won’t be long now before the woods are infused with the delicate scent of bluebells and the more pungent aroma of wild garlic, each adding to the experience of walking through our native woodland. It’s at this time of year when you’ll enjoy - almost literally - a real Taste of the North Yorks Moors, exploring deciduous woodland and lush river valleys before crossing the moors to reach the historic market town of Pickering, where, fittingly, the Church St Peter & St Paul contains a magnificent medieval wall painting of our patron saint, St George - slaying the mythical dragon of winter for another year.
 

We love walking in the UK and we hope you do too. But where’s your favourite place; where would you like to go this summer?
Green England

Posted: 19/04/2011 08:40:55 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: heritage, UK, walking, wildlife


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