Coverdale in Summer-1
Summer has arrived spasmodically in Coverdale with some lovely warm days punctuated with rain and wind. The garden is looking good and the soft fruit is coming on a treat with a bumper crop of wild strawberries this year. It interesting that rabbits do not eat the wild strawberries but as soon as we planted some cultivated one they were immediately raised to the ground. Now I have got to protect all the fruit from the birds who if given the chance devastate the crop in hours, so I am quietly please with the temporary fruit cages I have put up. It’s just wonderful to be able to pop down the garden and pick some fresh fruit for your meal in the sun.
The summer veg is also coming on stream and although I only planted a limited patch I can see we will have a glut, usually of courgettes. There are only so many ways to cook them but they are tasty and it’s a tradition to give the surplus away. The runner beans are not setting this year which is a puzzle, it might be something to do with a rouge rabbit having a feast on them when they were first planted!
Leyburn is hosted it’s 1940’s weekend on the 22nd and 23rd July, the shops dress their windows and the place is full of themed events and people in the most amazing vintage clothing. To find out more visit http://www.leyburn1940sweekend.org/. The Wendsleydale Railway also runs a steam service from Leeming Bar to Redmire and return stopping at Leyburn.
The Dales in late spring.
As with many other parts of the UK we are experiencing an exceptionally dry weather with no rain to speak of for weeks. Some of the becks and rivers in the dales are down to bare rocks while the ones with water are low and sluggish. Usually at this time of year we tell our guests to visit the many waterfalls and forces that the dales are famous for but right now they are mere trickles of their glorious best. Although it has been dry we have had some very cool days with a north easterly wind and some of the tress are still not in leaf yet. For me the most welcome event of the year here in the dales is when the clocks went forward and the days lengthened, it is now light until well past nine o’clock and by the Summer Solstice it will be light until after ten o’clock. This make for some lovely long evenings for pottering around in the garden, trying to tame the weeds.
MInd you the sheep farmers in the dales have had a much easier lambing season and I was reading in the paper today that the Peregrines at Malham have a large brood this year as they like the dry weather. We had a trip out to Cotterdale the other day and a red squirrel popped over a drystone wall and had a quick look at us, while a hare wandered towards us before beating a hasty retreat.
Red Squirrel in the Yorkshire Dales
All the local attractions in the dales opened at Easter and had a busy time with our guests going to:
- The Forbidden Corner – Fantasy garden
- Thorpe Perrow – Birds of Prey
- Hawes Creamery – the home of Wallice and Gromit’s favourite cheese.
- Fountains Abbey
- The Wendsleydale Railway
This is a small selection of the many places to visit up here in the Dales.
Yorkshire also hosted the Tour de Yorkshire with three days of cycling by professional teams and some punishing climbs or Kings of Mountain stages. We drove up the Cote de Lofthouses yesterday out of Nidderdale and how they do it is a complete mystery. Several of the fitter members of the local Coverdale community, joined the thousands who went out to ride some of the course and cheer them on.
Talking over dinner one evening with our friend and local cook, Kimberley, we discussed what a good idea it would be if we could offer our guests locally cooked meals in their cottages when they did not want to have to cook for themselves. Kimberley was looking to take on a new project and so The Little Yorkshire Kitchen was born.
We have stayed in cottages with our family over the years and often thought this would be a great asset to a cottage holiday – either for everyday meals or for more elegant events and special occasions. Self-catering is great and cottages provide a relaxed and cost-effective way of holidaying, but sometimes you don’t always want to come back from an energetic day out walking, cycling or sightseeing and start cooking a meal. Nor do you always want to go out again to a pub or restaurant, especially if you have children.
How nice it would be therefore to be able to have a home-cooked meal waiting for you in your cottage ready for your return, just to be heated up when required. Or to come back to a traditional afternoon tea, complete with tiered plates of delicate sandwiches and delicious cakes. Kimberley can offer just about anything you think you would like, including 3 course celebration dinners or a romantic dinner for 2.
Kimberley Brereton, who has had many years experience in the hospitality trade and was the first landlady of the community owned pub, the Foresters Arms in Carlton, has a passion for cooking and has now launched ‘The Little Yorkshire Kitchen’ here in Melmerby. What is especially good is that it is a genuinely local business supporting local suppliers.
So we are really pleased to be able to offer all our guests locally-sourced food, prepared and delivered to your cottage. It will also be lovely for guests who have booked both cottages together to have a special celebration meal in the Granary Dining Room.
If you want more information please see the ‘Cottage Dining’ page on our website or telephone Kimberley direct on 01969 640487.
The new green paintwork complements the view from Field Cottage
WELCOME TO THE 2017 SEASON
The snowdrops are poking their heads up, the daffs are showing signs of life and the days are getting longer – so welcome to the 2017 season here at West Close Farmhouse Cottages in the Yorkshire Dales.
What has been happening?
The winter season has seen us grappling with creating an exciting new website with a new logo and launching us on to social media. This we hope will help us to reach more people and showcase our lovely location with its spectacular views over Coverdale. The last task is to make frames for the re-designed signs and put them up.
We have now finished off the winter overhaul of the cottages, including spending a long day with a rug doctor, but the results were worth it. We have new mattresses, duvets and pillows on all the beds to maximise the comfort of all our guests. In the kitchen we have new induction hobs and saucepans for effortless cooking. We have also completed the repainting of all the windows and conservatories that was started last year, so the cottages are looking splendid with their new green woodwork.
With spring just around the corner, we are looking forward to welcoming our new and returning guests in 2017.