On our way to Semerwater, as the road from Langstrothdale starts to drop from Green Side moor down Sleddale towards Hawes, we drive very gently through a small herd of hill cattle, a tough-looking bunch, who have gathered around some piles of rock salt at the road side. It’s the equivalent of the natural salt-licks which attract […]

Greenfield Valley

9 a.m.: The mist has cleared and we can see the conifer plantations of the Greenfield Valley again. Two fieldfares settle on the rushy pasture in front of the farm. With their grey rump, greyish head and slithers of white on the front of their folded wings they’re more strikingly smart than the resident mistle thrush […]


We start our walk around Semerwater at the hamlet of Stalling Busk. The former school is now the village hall and next door a former garage is the tasting room for Raydale Preserves. Primroses are fading away but hawthorn blossom is still at its most luxuriant. Northern marsh orchids, ragged robin and yellow rattle grow […]


Nethergill Farm, 1.10 p.m.: Cumulus clouds are towering over Langstrothdale and the thunderstorms that the forecast suggested were a possibility would now be welcome as even here in the shade of the old barn the temperature is climbing into the high seventies Fahrenheit, 25 C. A cuckoo is calling on the far side of the […]