Friday, 27 March 2009

Swaledale







Old Yorkshire Folksong:
Beautiful Swaledale the land of rest,
Beautiful Swaledale I love thee the best,
The land it is set in a cultivate style,
The extension of Swaledale is twenty long mile.
One thing that has to be said about Swaledale is that there is never a shortage of water! The River Swale runs clean through the middle of the dale, starting up on the fells in Birk Dale, West Stones Dale and Whitsun Dale. Each of these little offshoot-dales has its own beck and they join by Wain Wath Force (Force is the Yorkshire name for a waterfall) and together become the Swale - said to be the fastest flowing river in England and capable of rising twenty feet in an hour (and it often does, cutting off villages until it has gone down again.) When it is in spate it makes a noise like an express train. It flows through the little town of Richmond (see my earlier post some weeks ago) and out into the countryside, eventually to join the Ouse and then flow into the North Sea, via the Humber Estuary. The little beck which flows through our land flows into the Swale and I am often tempted to make a little paper boat and then drive down to the mighty Humber Bridge to watch it go under (there's another project for Seth on The Altered Page!)
Once the Swale begins its journey as a "proper" river, the first bridge it goes under is in the little hamlet of Ivelet.
On Sunday the farmer and I took Tess along the banks there after first going over the steep little bridge = so steep that the road almost comes to a point on the top. Here and there was the odd primrose; in the distance we could hear the clatter of some farm machinery; nearer to hand was the calling of the lambs for their mums (Swaledale sheep, of course).
The river was in benign mood, tinkling along with here and there little becks joining in. There were dippers and a grey heron to be seen and Tess had a marvellous time sniffing at every mole hill -= of which there were plenty. Yes - when this river is gentle it makes a most inviting walk. But when it is in full spate then it is best to keep away.
You will see that I have put on a photograph of tree roots - that is an alder growing along the bank side, which becomes an alder growing in the river everytime there is a flood. Enjoy the photographs. I'll leave you with the chorus of the folk song:-
In that beautiful dale,
land of the Swale,
how well do I love thee,
how well do I love thee
Beautiful dale, land of the Swale
beautiful, beautiful dale.

20 comments:

acornmoon said...

What a gorgeous name "Swaledale" it sound so lyrical. I went there as a child with my parents, thanks for reminding me.

Rowan said...

Swaledale is still on my list of 'places I must visit' - ought to make it one of these days as I'm not really that far away:) The bridge is beautiful and presumably old - a packhorse bridge maybe?

EB said...

It is lovely, to my eyes too, and I particularly like the bridge. I'm about to blog about my walk to the shops: a more different scene you could hardly imagine, although I like it very much in its own way.

Sal said...

A wonderful post..as usual. I love your photos too.
Have good weekend! ;-)

Teresa said...

Thanks so much for the walk and the photos. What a lovely, curvy bridge that is. And the trees roots are fascinating.

Your walks remind me of field trips our class took (while I was still in England) and I was captivated by the wonders of the countryside.

I still enjoy nature walks... but here you must be a little more cautious and on the lookout for rattlesnakes and other types of poisonous snakes... and of course.. the occasional bear - though I've yet to see a bear out in the wild... but many other people have.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Beautiful place, Weaver. I love the tree-roots. I'm always fascinated by the shapes and forms of trees.

Dave King said...

Lovely place and exceptionally lovely writing. I'm pleased with myself because I recognised the bridge straight away. Lovely holiday with lovely people, thanks for bringing it all back.

Seth said...

LOL! Great idea. Thanks for the mention. And these are such beautiful photographs!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Glad I reminded you Valerie.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Best visited in Spring or Autumn, Rowan - less visitors, less cars on the road.

The Weaver of Grass said...

EB - I think every walk is interesting if we make it so.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Sal - thanks.
Teresa - wow - how I would love to see a bear on one of my walks Raph (from a distance, I hasten to add).
Raph - I thought the tree roots were interesting, too.
Dave - I particularly like Ivelet because it is a bit off the beaten track and has such lovely (flat!) walks on either side of the river!

willow said...

Those alder roots are wonderful!

Heather said...

I love that little bridge and those tangled roots which are a reminder of the force of the river. The hedges are just starting to green up a little and everywhere is looking less stark down here, but then we are soft southerners!! I have been thinking of William Wordsworth quite a lot lately as many roadsides around us are planted with daffodils and they are all in bloom just now - such a lovely cheering sight - there seem to be more each year.

Janice Thomson said...

Delightful post. You live in such a beautiful country. Love these photos.

Cloudia said...

Now I too love this lyrical place!
Thank you.

Robyn said...

Swaledale... very lyrical as acornmoon commented. The photographs are lovely, especially the tree roots with rocks.It's the sort of photo I would have been thrilled to snap.

Woman in a Window said...

Such inviting places to stop and think for a while, throw stones in the water.

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