29/4/17 Leyburn Circular ‘A’ Jack Armstrong ‘B’ Joan Armstrong
A full coach of 58 members set out on an overcast and cool day. After coffee in Richmond we travelled the short distance to Leyburn where the ‘A’ party, 18 in number, set out from the mart. After a prolonged stay, the coach then travelled to Middleham to drop off the ‘B’ party, 38 in total. This walk set out past the remains of Middleham Castle. Building began on the castle sometime in the late 12th century and it was developed under the powerful Nevilles into a residence worthy of a family which dominated English affairs for over 2 centuries. Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) spent his youth at Middleham and it became one of his royal homes. The walk followed a sandy track alongside the castle and ascended grassy fields and followed field edges high above the River Cover. We descended to Hullo Bridge and enjoyed a lunch stop by the river. Pleasant field tracks led us towards East Witton but we deviated into fileds before reaching this hamlet. We descended once more to the river and crossed via huge stepping stones. Some found it quite difficult due to the spacing of the stones. We rested on the far bank and were entertained by one of our junior members (Finn) who kept crossing and recrossing the stepping stones, trying to get faster at each crossing. Suddenly we spotted a stoat running along fallen tree trunks on the opposite river bank. We watched it for quite a while before it disappeared in the undergrowth. The walk continued through lovely woodland carpeted with bluebells and wood anemones. We arrived at Hullo Bridge again and retraced our steps back to Middleham to await the coach from Leyburn as there wasn’t any coach parking in the town. The ‘A’ party duly arrived back in Leyburn and we travelled to Richmond for the evening stop. Flowers: blackthorn, bluebell, bugle, cowslip, crosswort, dog violet, dogs mercury, early purple orchid, forget-me-not, garlic mustard, greater stitchwort, ground ivy, holly flowers, ivy leaved toadflax, lesser celandine, marsh marigold, milkwort, primrose, ramson, red campion, sweet woodruff, welsh poppy, wild strawberry, wood anemone, wood sorrel, wych elm. Other: dipper, robin, rabbits, stoat.