The moorland Dales comprise 8,000 acres of heather on the Estate, and rise up to a height of 540 metres above sea level. The scenery is breathtaking, and from here you can see east to the North Sea and North Yorkshire Moors to the east, and westward the moorland landscape continues across the Pennines.
The moors are a fragile environment, supporting diverse flora and fauna. There are walking trails across the them, as shown on OS maps, and walkers are requested to keep to the tracks. Government guidelines dictate that dogs are only permitted on public paths on leads to prevent disturbance and visitors must avoid lighting fires at all times. During the breeding season of May and June open access to the moors is prohibited. Please go to the walking page for more details about the recommended routes.
The Estate’s moors are managed for the benefit of upland breeding birds and for sheep. They have the internationally recognised designations of Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area. This stresses the importance of the site as one of high wildlife importance. The habitat is a fragile one requiring sensitive winter burning and targeted grazing of the heather to provide a mosaic of habitats which supports the widest biodiversity achievable. Key species supported by this management are waders including golden plover, curlew, red shank and lapwing as well as merlin. Income is important to be able to meet the management costs and this is achieved through sheep farming and the sale of sustainable wild red grouse shooting the latter being undertaken between August to early December. The gamekeepers employed by the Estate manage this harsh and exposed environment in order to maintain the heather and generate young growth, through controlled burning and bracken spraying. Measures are also taken to control predators and parasite levels in the birds and sheep tick.
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Thank goodness the sun has now come out and we seem to have finally put winter behind us! The Parkland has burst into bloom with clouds of blossom and a colourful carpet of daffodils and bluebells around the trees.
The Walled Garden is also getting going, with bright tulips swaying in the breeze and home grown asparagus bursting forth. Asparagus is at its most delicious when eaten closest to home, so dishes featuring home-grown asparagus are now on all our menus, including the bar and lounge. The garden furniture is out and soon it will be time for afternoon teas on the lawn and evening drinks on the terrace at sunset. English summertime at it’s best.
Please click here if you are making plans for 2013 and want to see our Events and Activities Calendar to book a cookery course, themed lunch or family event. Our inspirational Themed Lunch and Dining Experiences page includes Wine Appreciation Lunches, with talks and tastings led by our new sommelier David Borwick, together with our Gardening Lunches, which include a talk and tour with garden designer Susan Cunliffe-Lister.