Langsett, Midhope Moor and Reservoir

History For Walkers, Birdwatchers and Cyclists

Previously known as Penisale, Langsett first appears in a charter of 1252 which tells of an agreement, whereby Walter de Houdham granted his whole manor at ‘Langside’ to Elias de Midhope now an area named Upper Midhope. It held a weekly market on a Tuesday until this was transferred to near-by Penistone.
Langsett reservoir was built between 1889 and 1905. It is around a mile long and supplies water to Sheffield and Barnsley.

Langsett Reservoir

Bird Watching Langsett Reservoir and Moor

The habitat like many Pennine reservoirs is surrounded by conifer plantations. There is extensive open heather moorland to the southwest which can be seen from the Low Moor view point.
For timing the autumn is good for Red Grouse and birds of prey. Spring and summer show most of the breeding species.
Species include a large range of ducks, Teals, Mallards and Tufted Ducks. Owls and wood peckers can often be seen and the fringes of the fields and moors have breeding meadow Pipits, Ouzels and occasional Twites.
Access from the village via a minor road sign posted Strines & Derwent valley which passes over the reservoir dam where you can watch the reservoir birds. Then move on through Upper Midhope, turn sharp right and park near a sign Privilege Footpath for Low Moor and views of the moors and paths through the woods.

Moorland Grouse

The Local Inn and Cafe

The yearly visit from Thurlston Brass Band to the Waggon and Horses takes place in June – (24th June 2012 from 12 until 5.)
Langsett independent film festival has been bringing people together for over 17 years to show and enjoy films at the inn.
The Waggon and Horses Inn is the watering hole of choice for walkers, birdwatchers, cyclists and local beer drinkers.
Langsett cafe has won cyclist cafe of the year chosen by local CTC members. ‘It serves good food at a very reasonable price and is very cyclist friendly.’


I like the vision of created by the Guardian ‘Gazing across the broad acres of Langsett Moor and the Thurlstone Moors towards the formerly “forbidden” Snailsden Moor at the head of the Holme Valley I was reminded of the words of Halliwell Sutcliffe (1870-1932). Though perhaps remembered best as a creator of historical romances, this son of the West Riding was a pioneer thinker on open access to the high country, for so long reserved exclusively for grouse shooting. He highlighted in A Benedick in Arcady the rules to be followed, tongue-in-cheek, by the “Complete Trespasser”. read the full article from a Country diary.

Photo and Other Credits
Langsett Reservoir by sheffieldhammer CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Moorland Grouse by timdifford ‘Photographs taken on a family stroll around Langsett Reservoir’ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
IMG_0835 by CC BY-SA 2.0 A ‘look at The Haunted House on a Hill overlooking Penistone and Holmfirth then onto Langsett Bank Woods Moor, and reservoir Sheffield’

Yorkshires top Twelve Birdwatching Sites

Walk 1 around the reservoir and history
Yorkshire Water Langsett, Midhope Moor and Reservoir Walking.
Share my Routes

Visit Top Ten Gardens in Yorkshire

As the winter months loom larger I have picked out some Yorkshire gardens that have all year round interest for visitors. Then follows a review of the floral and special gardens you can plan to visit from Spring. This selection have free entry for members of the Royal Horticultural Society but have varied charges for the public.

Autumn & Winter Gardens

Thorp Perrow Arboretum and woodland garden has dramatic foliage through autumn and thousands of naturalised daffodils to see in spring. The old and venerable trees look majestic at any time and within the 100 acres there are 66 ‘Champion Trees’, that is the largest of their kind in Britain. Additionally there are 5 National Collections of Walnut, Limes, Ash, Cotinus and Laburnum. The birds of Prey and Mammal centre provides extra interest particularly when the fly the Falcons.
Ripley Castle Gardens are open until 4.30pm all year but the woods and views are the main winter features. The walled gardens contain amongst other items a national collection of Hyacinth so the scent is something to look forward too in May.
Wentworth Castle Gardens near Barnsley are shown in the photograph above. A deal of lottery and other funding has been spent on this garden in recent years and the pleached trees and stumpery are something to behold. A series of gothic follies and other structures enhance the viewing but for the fit a walk in the adjacent parkland is a bonus. If there was a speciality it is the acid loving collections of Rhododendrons, Camellias and Magnolias.
Ripley Castle Gardens are open all year except Christmas day.

Year Round Garden Visits

Harewood House gardens close at the end of October so it may have to be on the list to visit next year. It will open again in February. It will be interesting to see how the new Himalayan garden performs next spring. I expect to see plenty of Primulas as well as the old favourites. If it rains you can always visit the house or look at the various garden sculptures from the tea rooms.
A boutique garden that opens for the old gardeners charity Perennialis York Gate Garden in Adel. Laid out as 14 separate gardens in less than an acre it is bound to give you some inspiration and ideas for your own garden. Only open Thursday and Sunday afternoons it is well worth making the journey to see.
Parcevall Hall Gardens are open to the public from April to October and have 25 acres of formal and woodland garden. Some of the views of Wharfedale are spectacular but for me the prize area are the Rockery and Herbaceous beds.

In February it is a quiet time to visit these gardens but as spring starts to break out it can be a rewarding activity.

If this inspires you to renovate parts of your own garden it is still not too late to plant some Tulips for flowering in Spring 2010 from Thompson & Morgan. Gold and purple tulips in flower at RHS Harlow Carr Gardens (open all year).

Other Yorkshire Gardens to Visit

Scampston Hall walled gardens are worth a visit at Malton North Yorkshire
Millgate House in Richmond is only open in winter by appointment.
Thorp Perrow is open all year except for special event days.
Burnby Hall Gardens have great water lilies in summer
Burton Agnes Gardens have good but complex opening arrangements. Before traveling to far check out your timings.
Wentworth Castle garden is open all year.
Brodsworth Hall gardens are open all year except over Christmas.

Brodsworth Hall

To add plants to your own garden consider

Trig Points Around the Ridings

trig sign

Trigpoints are the common name for “triangulation pillars” the UK mapping and triangulation system before GPS and Google Earth. There is a great Trigpoint website with map references pictures and search facilities. ‘These are concrete pillars, about 4’ tall, which were used by the Ordnance Survey in order to determine the exact shape of the country. They are generally located on the highest bit of ground in the area, so that there is a direct line of sight from one to the next. By sitting a theodolite (an accurate compass built into a telescope) on the top of the pillar, accurate bearings to nearby trigpoints could be taken. This process is called “triangulation”.

A major project to map out the shape of Great Britain began in 1936. The network of triangulation pillars, with accurately known positions, led to the excellent OS maps which we enjoy today. The coordinate system used on these maps is known as the “National Grid”, and it is essential that you are familiar with this system if you are to get the most of OS maps, or this website. ‘

Continue reading Trig Points Around the Ridings

Make Your Own Homemade Soap

Making homemade soap is a growing craft or hobby business that you can easily do from home. Have fun making your own soap at home and sell it at craft fairs, give it away as presents or use your own soap to replace your current brand.
Your Yorkshire grannie could tell you how to make soap from caustic soda and various fats but the method here is so simple that your work and time can be saved and your life made easy.

Soap Wrapping!

Easy Melt and Pour Method for Soap Craft

Can you bake? Then you can make your own soap!
The base for your homemade soap will be made from Melt and Pour soap. To this you can add essential oils and colourants (we said it would be easy).
Step by Step Guide
1. Lightly grease a mould such as a margarine carton.
2. Melt small pieces of the soap base over gentle heat. Keep at 50-60 degrees centigrade no higher. Use a bowl inside another like a bain-marie and keep a lid on to keep the moisture in. No need to stir.
3. When the soap is fully melted and a liquid mix in any colourant a little at a time. Then add your choice of essential oils. (10 ml of oils to 1 kg of soap base). Stir gently trying to avoid bubbles.
4. Gently pour the soap into the mould and leave to set for several hours or overnight. Do not freeze as this damages the texture.
5. When set remove from the mould, slice off any damage with a sharp knife or veg peeler and wipe with a damp cloth.
6. Cut into pieces, store in cling film and wrap.

Peace soap

Professional Touches for Your Soap Craft

Presentation can be very important. Consider how you will wrap or display your soap so it looks ‘the business’ even though you know it is homemade.
You may have chosen to use several smaller moulds rather that the large margarine tub that needs cutting. Slicing chunks is easier with a cheese cutter.
You can pattern the top of the soap as it sets with a stamp or by float herbs.
If there are bubbles on the surface of the soap as you pour the warm liquid into the mould you can ‘spritz’ the surface with alcohol to get a smooth finish.

For more help and recipes there are several books on the craft of homemade soap.
Book Cover
How to Make Melt & Pour Soap Base from Scratch edited by Mrs Kayla Fioravanti, Lesley Anne Craig and Dana Brown

Yorkshire Soap Suppliers

Supplies from craft shops or Amazon who also sell a ‘Soap Base Colour Kit. Five Water based Colours for Melt & Pour Soaps’

every one of products, is proudly handmade from scratch, by ourselves, to our own carefully developed recipes. We believe the best produce is created from natural, ethically sourced ingredients. That’s why we use only the finest, natural plant oils and butters to create our skin loving soaps, bath and skincare products. We don’t believe in using unnecessary preservatives, synthetic colourants or harsh synthetic foaming agents such as SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate).

Each soap is handmade with love and includes lots of natural ingredients that will leave your skin feeling replenished and soft.

Gorgeous natural soap and bath products, handmade in the Yorkshire Dales

Photo Credits
Soap Wrapping! by savor_soaps CC BY-NC 2.0
“Peace soap by burgundavia CC BY-SA 2.0

Vexillologist’s Flag Flying over Yorkshire

Vexillology, meaning the study of flags, is intriguing and challenging, I am told by Associated Content. ‘Whether you focus on flags of nations, states, counties, cities, corporations or service groups, you need to be familiar with the basic vocabulary of vexillology. Staff is the correct term for the flag pole.’ Vexillologists cringe when they hear people say a flag is at “half mast” when honoring the deceased. The correct term is “half staff.” Unless the flag is flying from a ship’s mast. That is the only situation when “half mast” is accurate’.

Fascinating Facts about Flags

Flags are normally flown from 8am to sunset but if they are flown at night they should be illuminated.
No permission is needed to fly the national flags and they are excluded from most planning and advertising regulations (but flagpoles may not be).
It is improper to fly the Union Flag upside down.The part of the flag nearest the flagpole should have the wider diagonal white stripe above the red diagonal stripe.
Breaking the flag is a British tradition for flag raising. Hoist the flag while rolled up and secured with a thin piece of cotton or a slip knot. A sharp tug of the halyard then breaks the cotton and release the flag to fly free.


East Riding Flag

New Picture

Continue reading Vexillologist’s Flag Flying over Yorkshire

Yorkshire Gardeners Money Saving For Spring

Yorkshire folk like value for money and why not? Southerners can buy there plants from Chelsea flower show or get the latest fashionable plants from foreign breeders. The doughty Yorkshire gardener will consider his options and grow accordingly.

spring 031

Best Money Saving Garden Ideas for Spring

  • Use what you have to increase you stock of plants.
    • Divide primulas and herbaceous plants.
    • Collect ripe seeds and sow them for next season.
    • Take softwood or hardwood cuttings to get more shrubs and save plants through winter.
  • Be careful buying and sowing seed. If you only get a few viable plants as a result you will be paying over the odds for you plant. Seed can be very expensive per plant grown.
  • Beg, borrow or steal (or not that one) from other gardeners. They often have more plants than they need and generally will help a new gardener with a cutting or excess plants.
  • Buy in bulk with a friend or neighbor. There are good deals at Horticultural clubs or for bulk purchases of spring bulbs from wholesalers.
  • Think longer term and buy good long living plants the give a good all round show of flower, fruit and colour.


Plug Plants

Mail order plug plants can be good value if you need quantities 160’s of 105 plants for just over a tenner seems to be good value.
Choose from a good selection at   Jersey Plants Direct For spring you could opt for Auriculas, numerous Pansies or Rosebud Primroses.
Wallflowers are only supposed to last one year but if you can put up with them being a bit leggy they will flower again. If you want new plants get them planted in summer and pinch out the growing tip to get a bushy plant.

Spring Blossom

150 Years at the Top for Yorkshire Cricket

Kirkstall Len Hutton Gates

2013 saw Yorkshire county cricket club celebrate 150 years as a club and team which has given so much pleasure to the folk of God’s Own County at home or abroad. We forgive them the occasional lapse in performance knowing they will come back strongly. We also tolerate the politics and egos, that sometimes seem to stray on to the field of play, knowing there will be someone stronger or more vocal waiting in the wings. In the meantime Colin Graves the current executive chairman has done the job of funding and motivating the club to this seasons performance.
Book Cover

The clubs website has the unenviable and unnecessary task of listing some ‘true legends’ from the last 150 years …‘the Club has seen some true legends of world cricket pass through its playing squad. From Lord Hawke, Herbert Sutcliffe, Wilfred Rhodes, Hedley Verity, Sir Len Hutton, Bob Appleyard, Brian Close, Fred Trueman, Ray Illingworth, David Bairstow and Geoffrey Boycott to the modern era which has seen Michael Vaughan, Darren Gough, Craig White, Matthew Hoggard, Darren Lehmann and Tim Bresnan represent the White Rose County…..’ and more history

Well done the lads and all I can say, like the crowd at Headingley or Scarborough, is ‘Yorkshire Yorkshire Yorkshire’.


Yorkshire Dart Boards World Champion

Day 13

‘Yorkshire darts (no triples) at the Arncliffe Arms in Glaisdale… they do a good burger.’

Interesting and Unusual Facts About Yorkshire Dart Boards

Early London dart boards were divided into 12 segments with each segment worth 5,10,15 or 20 with doubles and trebles.
Between 1910 and 1920 along came a Dewsbury dominoes and darts enthusiast Thomas William Buckle who built Yorkshire dart boards which he sold to pubs around the county. Tom’s boards had an outer ring for doubles but no trebles ring and no central ring around the bull for twenty five.
The numbering pattern 20,1,18,4,13 etc that we are familiar with today was created by Tom for the Yorkshire board and subsequently copied on the London boards that also incorporated the trebles and 25 rings.
Yorkshire dart boards flourished until the 1970’s but then fell from popularity when the British Darts Organisation BDO made the London board the dart board of choice for all major darts competitions.

Tom Buckle was a wire worker by trade and the numbers were originally make out of twisted wire. I think that was so that bad arrows could bounce off and you could claim it was the rim of the double.

There is another claim to be the inventor of the numbering system from a Lancastrian Brian Gamlin, a carpenter from Bury but there is no proof of this claim.

Other special dart boards like London Fives, Narrow Fives and regional boards like the Kent Doubles, Burton board and the Tonbridge Boards are now very hard to find.

Winmau Yorkshire Specialist Bristle Dartboards can still be bought from amazon for around £42.

Book Cover
A ‘Darts Miscellany: History, Trivia, Facts & Stats from the World of Darts’ by Matt Bozeat should cover the Yorkshire board in more detail.
Patrick Chaplin is an expert on all matters connected to The Yorkshire Dartboard and his new book 180! Fascinating Darts Facts is about to be released

Dart board

The bull of your Yorkshire Dartboard should be 5ft 6ins off the ground.
The normal ‘Oche’ should be 7ft 2ins from the board and 9 ft to the bull (thanks to pythagoras). Some Yorkshire rules allow a throw from 7ft – 8ft 6inches from the board.
Since the 1920s the throwing line was called the ‘Hockey’ and not ‘Oche’. Oche is a modern version that fits with TV coverage.
The name outer bull or half bull is bullxxxx when you only have one inner bullseye scoring 50.
Photo Credits
Day 13 by Kloeffon, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Dart board by cbcastro, CC BY-NC 2.0

Tags Tagged and Tagging or Tig

Playground Game of Tag or Tig

The rules for Tag are simple.
First decide who is ‘it’ and everyone else run away.
If the person who is ‘it’ tags or touches you, you are ‘it’.
When you are ‘it’ try to tag someone else so that they will become ‘it’ in your place.
In hospital tag you have to hold the part where you were tagged.
As a worldwide game it has more names and variations on the main theme than one child could dream up including tip, tick, tig ( my Yorkshire favourite), tiggy, dobby, dob, it and chasey.
According to Peter Fielding the popular local game of Tig in Wes’ Bowling in Bratfudd after the war had various rules:
“‘Ye can’t tig yer butcher!’ – meaning you can’t tig the one who ‘tigged’ (tugged?) you.
Any prospective ‘butcher’ who tried to tig someone who was claiming sanctuary from being tigged may have heard ‘You can’t tig me, ah’m Barloo (or Barlow)!’



Time was when ‘Tag’ was a playground game until your school uniform came with a price tag. Now you can have a personal tag that you use when out spraying graffiti like the graffito on shown above or on our photographs that are tagged on Flickr.

So wikipedia and online dictionaries now classify different types of tags under generic headings such as identification tags, computing tags, sport, media, language, logistics, natural science and other tags!

On being let out of HMP Doncaster you can be tagged with a tag for tagging a wall as a form of curfew punishment.



Norman Yardley’s Contribution to Music

Book Cover
Yorkshire Cricket Captains, Including: Geoffrey Boycott, Darren Gough, 7th Baron Hawke, Norman Yardley, Ray Illingworth.

Norman Yardley of Royston near Barnsley was ‘Cricketer of the the Year 1948’ and this is how it was reported in Wisden
In 1950 he led his country in the first three Tests against West Indies the second Test at Lord’s was lost giving the visitors their first victory on English soil. This led to the musical (?) contribution I referred to :-

VICTORY CALYPSO by Lord Beginner (born Egbert Moore)

Cricket lovely Cricket,
At Lord’s where I saw it;
Cricket lovely Cricket,
At Lord’s where I saw it;
Yardley tried his best
But Goddard won the test.
They gave the crowd plenty fun;
Second Test and West Indies won.

With those two little pals of mine
Ramadhin and Valentine.

The King was there well attired,
So they started with Rae and Stollmeyer;
Stolly was hitting balls around the boundary;
But Wardle stopped him at twenty.
Rae had confidence,
So he put up a strong defence;
He saw the King was waiting to see,
So he gave him a century.

With those two little pals of mine
Ramadhin and Valentine.

West Indies first innings total was three-twenty-six
Just as usual
When Bedser bowled Christiani
The whole thing collapsed quite easily;
England then went on,
And made one-hundred-fifty-one;
West Indies then had two-twenty lead
And Goddard said, “That’s nice indeed.”

With those two little pals of mine
Ramadhin and Valentine.

Yardley wasn’t broken-hearted
When the second innings started;
Jenkins was like a target
Getting the first five in his basket.
But Gomez broke him down,
While Walcott licked them around;
He was not out for one-hundred and sixty-eight,
Leaving Yardley to contemplate.

The bowling was superfine
Ramadhin and Valentine.

West Indies was feeling homely,
Their audience had them happy.
When Washbrook’s century had ended,
West Indies voices all blended.
Hats went in the air.
They jumped and shouted without fear;
So at Lord’s was the scenery
Bound to go down in history.

After all was said and done
Second Test and the West Indies won!

David Friths obituary of Norman Yardley is available as the ‘All round Skipper’ in the Yorkshire Cricket Archive.

Related Links
The Best of Dickie Bird on audio CD from Amazon
Slipless In Settle: A Slow Turn Around Northern Cricket by Harry Pearson is a book on Yorkshire village and League cricket that will give you a wry smile or three.
Wisden on Yorkshire
Photo on creative commons license by Badger Swan on flickr
Jim Laker on Gods Own County.