The Gatehouse


Greylag goose at Clifford's Tower.
Greylag goose at Clifford’s Tower.

We like to walk the full circuit of the medieval city walls of York when the daffodils are out and today we found the perfect latte (and orange carrot cake) stop half way around at Gatehouse Coffee, Walmgate Bar. Two of the windows in the upper room are medieval style cross-shaped arrow slits but this later leaded casement window looks out onto the impressive barbican, a pre-gatehouse obstacle that any attacker would have to negotiate if they were determined to storm Walmgate Bar.

Kings & queens, knights and bishops, have entered York through the four main medieval ‘bars’ or gatehouses in the walls of York and they’re still doing battle today as a couple finish a tense chess game at the table by the window.

Commuters, Leeds station
Commuters, Leeds station

‘I could have taken your rook,’ the woman suggests.

‘You could have taken the rook, but you’d still have lost the game!’ the man retorts.

An onlooker, a woman who has been reclining on a bench in the corner, walks over to inspect the board:

‘If you don’t mind me saying, what I would have done is . . . ‘

Luckily the inquest on the game doesn’t escalate and the couple leave, still the best of friends.

Roe Deer

Wood pigeon and squirrel in the grounds of the Yorkshire Museum.
Wood pigeon and squirrel in the grounds of the Yorkshire Museum.

On our outward train journey from Leeds the trees are still bare but crows are building. Gorse is in blossom on a south-facing rocky embankment in Leeds.

roe deerOn the return journey at four o’clock a little to the east of Church Fenton, I spot a roe deer on farmland close to a belt of trees. It’s years, probably ten or fifteen years, since I’ve seen one.

Link: Gatehouse Coffee

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  1. Hi Richard, just to say, as a Yorkshire lass now residing in Co Durham,I am really enjoying Wild Yorkshire ! Opening my copy of “Richard Bell`s Britain” (Collins 1982) has always made me feel joyful, it`s lived on many bookshelves over quite a few house-moves..On train journeys between Darlington and Leeds to visit my daughter, I stare out of the windows all the time and have often seen roe deer. Also the odd heron and red urban foxes from her top floor flat window and also an amazing variety of birds even so near the city .. I love the detail in your sketches. I see nature in the same way (always got my eyes open) but lack your talent ! Ahh, people-watching in Leeds station, also very entertaining ..Many thanks for doing what you do..ongoing ..

    1. Thank you Margaret. As I was reliant on public transport, I spent many hours watching the landscape go by from bus or train but I never tire of it. And on our infrequent trips abroad I’m watching the coasts, mountains and mighty rivers of Europe every minute of the flight.

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