Canning Oak at Cliveden

Canning Oak

The National Trust information board tells us

“If you had been standing here before 5th May 2004, your view of the river would have been framed by the branches of an oak tree. A very old oak tree that had been on this spot long before the first Cliveden mansion was bult here in 1666. The oak was known as the Canning oak, after George Canning, who was Prime Minister for the shortest time of any Prime Minister, just 119 days back in 1827. He is reported to have said “I can prove anything by statistics, except the truth!” George Canning was a regular visitor to Cliveden and a great friend of Sir George Warrender who owned the property from 1824 to 1849. Canning apparently spent many hours sitting under the tree completely mesmerised by this incredible view of the Thames.

The tree’s position on the edge of the cliff became more and more precarious. We tried desperately over the years to support it with large wooden props. Unfortunately, the severe weather in 2004 took its toll and Cliveden’s oldest inhabitant finally succumbed and collapsed. Now resting, like a fallen giant, it will become home to countless generations of wildlife.”

The Capon Tree

Just south of Jedburgh, Scotland, beside the main A68 road is the ‘heritage’ Capon Tree. We walked along the road, pavement all the way luckily, to look at this famous tree. Several books feature Heritage Trees in this country and in Ireland including Thomas Pakenham’s Meetings with Remarkable Trees; The Heritage Trees of Britain and Northern Ireland; Heritage Trees of Ireland; Heritage Trees of Scotland and Heritage Trees Wales.

remarkable trees

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Malhamdale Hills and Hawks

It’s probably a few years since I was last up in Malhamdale so yesterday I was happy to join another Dalesbus Ramblers ramble there. The forecast was for showers but luckily not a drop fell.

RSPB sign

“Walk through Malhamdale’s finest limestone areas and maybe see its resident peregrine falcons.”

Start: Kirkby Malham 11.20
Finish: Malham approx. 15.30
Distance/Grading: 7 miles / Moderate
TRAVEL: Outward: Bus 875 from York (09.00), Knaresborough (09.40), Harrogate (09.55) and Skipton bus station (10.45).
Return: Bus 875 to Skipton, Harrogate and York for onward connections.

I joined the 875 bus at Harrogate Bus Station at 9.55 with my Metro Bus Pass and enjoyed the journey to Kirkby Malham thankful that I was not driving along the narrow twisting lane between Gargrave and Kirkby Malham myself.

Six of us set off from Kirkby Malham up, up, up through the hamlet of Hanlith joining the Pennine Way from where we gained wonderful views back to Kirkby Malham and ahead to Malham Cove.

Kirby Malham

Looking back to Kirkby Malham

Malham Cove from PW

Malham Cove and River Aire from the Pennine Way

We left The Pennine Way as it headed directly to the village of Malham and joined a popular footpath to Janet’s Foss. On entering the National Trust woodland area within which is the waterfall I noticed a sign telling about the Bee Library. I have seen one of these before at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park so knew what to look out for in the trees.

Bee Library

 

Malham Bee Library

A Malhamdale Bee Library

We also saw the Coin Tree.

Money tree

People have hammered copper coins into this dead tree trunk near Janet’s Foss waterfall for good luck for many years, and if you look closely you may find some very old pennies. This should never be done on a living tree as the coins will poison it. In Yorkshire we look after our pennies (because ‘the pounds then look after themselves’) so perhaps there is something to this tale! ”

Janet's Foss

Janet’s Foss

The Foss was crowded with visitors and there were even some brave (or foolish?) swimmers in the pool under the waterfall. Nevertheless we ate our lunch watching the world go by and then crossed the nearby lane and headed for Gordale Scar.

Approaching Gore Dale Scar

Approaching Gordale Scar

Goredale scar

Climbers were out on the rocks and on the cliff face and the bird spotters amongst us pointed out just one Peregrine Falcon circling in the sky above the Scar.

Climber

Climber at Gordale Scar

Retracing our steps to the lane we then climbed up to the plateau above Malham Cove where we crossed the clints and grykes of the Limestone Pavement. The clints are the blocks of limestone and the grykes are the gaps in between.

Limestone Pavement

Approaching the Limestone Pavement Above Malham Cove

Clints and Grikes

Limestone Pavement – Clints and Grykes

There are nearly 400 steps to tackle to get down to the bottom of the Cove and the steps were busy with folk going up and down. Apparently Malham Cove features in the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Potter is seen camping at Malham Cove and scenes were filmed all around Malham including the Cove, the limestone pavement, Malham Tarn and Gordale Scar. Hence the large numbers of visitors.

Malham Cove

When you get to the valley bottom the RSPB have set up their Malham Peregrine Watch complete with information table, binoculars on tripods and staff and volunteers ready to answer questions and tell about the project. We spent about twenty minutes looking and listening but no peregrines were prepared to perform for us at the Cove that afternoon.

View here

 

Peregrine Searching

Peregrine Watch

Demonstration

Sue, the RSPB officer, shows us the approximate sizes of male and female peregrines (male is smaller)

Finally we rejoined the Pennine Way, this time heading south, into the village of Malham where I enjoyed a welcome pot of tea and slice of Yorkshire curd tart before joining the bus back to Harrogate and thence home.

Leaving Malham Cove

Leaving Malham Cove with the Crowds

Malham signpost

Interesting to be reminded that Malham (now in North Yorkshire) was once in the West Riding of Yorkshire