For a couple of months my posting efforts have ground to a halt; foundered on a period of doubt and uncertainty.
Then a week ago, while a friend was staying for a few days we had decided to make my first visit to the Yorkshire Arboretum which is next to Castle Howard near Malton. Around home the leaf buds had started to break out in sheltered spots and many blossom trees are now in flower, so I thought it would be worth the trip to see spring in action and give me a good reason to post.
We stopped in Helmsley, an old market town on the way to see the daffodils along the stream.
We arrived at the arboretum about lunchtime after passing the huge obelisk at the entrance to Castle Howard. It was early in the season, plenty of room in the car park! You pay an entrance fee in the visitor centre and the sight of the cafe was enough to persuade us to have tea and a sandwich to fortify ourselves before setting out on a circular walk.
We first passed through the cherry trees which were disappointingly lacking in blossom to the bird observatory where we stopped a while, but with little feed around, there was little bird activity and we carried on with a high wall to our left which held this captivating doorway :-
The ground in places was quite wet and in others firm and dry. Spring may have been around somewhere, but wasn’t making herself very apparent.
After walking uphill for a bit we came across what is signed as the main vista which gave splendid views down to the lake. You can just see that spring is approaching but my photographic skills do not do it justice.
Nice to see a bit of hard architecture among the living giants and this Cruck House appeared. My research tells me that it is built of oak and chestnut from Castle Howard, and built by traditional methods, to commemorate the late Peter Garthwaite OBE (1909-2001). It provides shelter from the sun or rain or a quiet place to sit and enjoy the surroundings.
We also came across this fair maiden frozen in constant vigil………
The next great view was across to the cedars. Funnily enough it is called Cedar Vista. (it is in the guide)
The pine trees were showing definite signs of spring.
Now this is what I call a bird nest box :-
We managed to find a few flowers in bloom.
On the way back to the visitor centre we came across this flying bird which was easier to photograph than most.
This swan was anxious to be included as well but refused to show her best side.
So, not quite as springlike as I had wished but nevertheless a fascinating place for walk in the woods and certainly begs for a return visit in the summer. We ran out of time, did not manage to get everywhere and I’m sure missed some exciting specimens. Hah, there is the one last photo which my friend assures me was a magnolia flower bud. Sadly, it must have been the only tree in the garden which did not have a label!
The grey skies were not exactly inspiring and it was not exactly warm, but it has however made me publish another post, even though it has taken a week to write it. Spring has definitely arrived now, around here, so there must be something more beyond the bird table that I can describe very soon.