Litter and Wheelie Bins

This Leeds street looks comparatively clear of rubbish at least until you look closely. Ignoring the weeds growing on the kerb and in the gutters there is still a lot of detritus down the street that should be in bins.

There is a large number, by my count 20 wheelie bins that could have contained this rubbish but householders or the bin collectors haven’t bothered binning it. It is hard to say if it has been collection day or not. The bins are not overflowing and are in some order whilst my emptied bins tend to be randomly arranged after the operatives visit. By the same token the handles on the bins do not look like they are collection vehicle friendly – I have to have the handles facing the road

What is the collective noun for Wheelie Bins? Is a ‘Litter of bins’ too obvious? I have heard of a herd of bins in a poem by Les Barker but a bevvy, collection or congregation would all fit. Is a bin replacement service, a spillage or an overflow a form of collective name because one of those would get my vote. Before I get into some Barney Rubble I will trouble the editor with a look around at other bin locations.

Birmingham having overfull wheelie bins rolled out over the city. It’s what the wheels are for.

Wheelie Bins Around the Country

  • Residents with missing bins in Leeds are given the following patronising information  ‘ If your bin has gone missing on collection day, please check with your neighbours to make sure it hasn’t been taken by mistake. If you don’t find it, it may have fallen into the collection wagon. If this is the case, a new bin will have been automatically ordered by our crew and will be delivered within 7 – 14 working days.’ Oh yes believe that if you will.
  • In Cardiff  ‘if you live in a property that has recycling and waste collected in bins you will need to have
    • All bins​​, bags and kerbside caddies  put out before 6am on the day of collection or no earlier than 4:30pm the day before.
    • Collections run throughout the day from 6am till 10pm.
    • Please return your emptied bins and food caddies to your property boundary by 9am the day after collection. (No sleep for the wicked).
  • Cambridgeshire encouraged the BBC to take a lighthearted look at the issues surrounding wheelie bins and the result can be seen here.
  • In Yorkshire there are 22  local authorities collecting refuse of which 15 are also directly responsible for disposal, All but 4 have services provided in house or in partnership. Sheffield and Doncaster are notable exceptions having contracted with Veolia and Sita UK respectively
  • Wakefield has the lowest recycling percentage with 65% of refuse going into landfill.
  • North Yorkshire and the East Riding have the largest weight of refuse per person at 500kg per year.


Amazon tribes offer future wheelie bin content
Book Cover

Book Cover

Naturally Looking After Wildlife Yorkshire

There are contrasting views that I would like to consider by looking at Yorkshire’s approach to wild life. They are represented by the Yorkshire Wildlife Park the commercially orientated entertainment park and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust the 70 year old members organisation managing designated nature reserves.

Grit gets you everywhere

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Yorkshire has a landscape second to none that is rich in the variety of flora and fauna of largely native species. We don’t need to tell Yorkshire folk about the hill farms or the fertile pastures in the Dales, Wolds & North Yorkshire national park nor the wetland and moorland, fen and bog that have been created as a result of our fine climate. Add to this the natural environment around our rivers and coast and no wonder wildlife like Yorkshire folk are happy and proud to live in the county.

This living environment and natural heritage is to be treasured and where necessary protected for future generations. It is held in trust for those future generations so it is natural for a membership led charitable trust to support the maintenance and well being of the Yorkshire wild life.

     Facts about Yorkshire Wildlife Trust


  • The organisation is headquartered  in York and our trust has been operating since 1946. It is partnered with the 46 other UK wildlife trusts.
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust now manages 97 nature reserves across the traditional county. There is bound to be a site near you and many are a treat for visitors, naturalists, bird watchers and tourists.
  • The top sites with visitor centers and educational programmes include :  Living Seas Centre, Flamborough.    Pearson Park Wildlife Garden, Hull   Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, Doncaster   Spurn National Nature Reserve, Holderness  and Stirley Community Farm, Huddersfield
  • Moorland, ancient woodlands, beaches and mixed wetland habitats are all areas under the protection offered by the trust.
  • As a registered charity no.210807 they have an income of just over £5m per annum of which 80% is from members or the trusts own efforts. The government funded conservation and land management subsidies account for the rest.
  • The Grazing Animal Project is just one of the many schemes currently in hand  ’10 years ago Yorkshire Wildlife Trust was given a small flock of about 60 black Hebridean sheep to be used for conservation grazing. Over the years this flock has been managed so that now there are over 500 sheep which are kept at three home sites and sent out in “teams” to graze more than 35 of our reserves to maintain important habitats for wildlife.’ This helps protect rare breeds and bring rare habitats back into balance.

        Facts about Yorkshire Wildlife Park

  • The zoo and wildlife park was converted from a riding school and farm – Brockholes Visitor Center Doncaster in 2009
  • It claims to be ‘A dynamic centre for conservation and welfare’
  • There are  70+ different species of animal.
  • The cost of an adult day ticket until 9th March is £15.50 and £13.50 for a child over 2
  • No pets or dogs, balls, skateboards or scooters are permitted into the no smoking park.
  • Daily attractions include Meerkat and Mongoose Madness and Feeding Time, Bear Facts, Deadly Bugs and Wallaby Walkabout
  • There is a linked charity foundation no.152642  with income of circa £102,000 pa. The aims include to ‘continue to build and promote YWPF’s brand; To continue to implement a comprehensive fundraising strategy; To continue to identify and develop relationships with key partners and stakeholders’ and make grants or can arrange expert support in the areas of exotic species conservation and welfare. YWPF will also consider supporting research.



There is room for wildlife organisations of all persuasions – let us also make room for all appropriate wildlife and human endeavour. Like the Yorkshire Naturalists Union Charity No: 224018 one of the country’s oldest wildlife organisations, having celebrated the 156th anniversary last year.

In an oft quoted comment ‘charity begins at home’ so my personal preference is to enjoy and support the 90 odd nature reserves of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust rather than exotic animals best supported in far flung climates.


Visual Environment Hag Farm Ilkley


A stake in the Environment

With my new found interest in the visual environment I looked back over seven years of God’s Own County blogs and came across this farm dump. It was originally posted as  ‘Hag Farm Dales Way Wharfedale’ but  I need to return to the site as I am sure it has been cleared up to an extent and the ice cream stall taken to a museum. Following the Shed Street urban landscape comments it is interesting to note that the rural landscape can also have its waste disposal issues.

Original Environmental Issues

  • What crops are grown on the Ebor Way – Dales Way Leeds link? Duff tractors?
  • Hag Farm in Burley in Wharfedale shows off the best crop of rusty old equipment you will see this side of Bowness.
  • Walk down Bleachmill Lane from Menston and across a couple of styles to see farming Hag style!

037Na then Ducks

    • Like many other farmers they seem to have produced a good crop of black plastic for the last few years.
    • On a more recent visit I was interested to see the large diameter cylinders have been replaced by new, cube shaped bales. Now farmers will be able to stack them higher.


Perceived Plastic Pollution 

  • One of the great beauties of the dales landscapes is the old barns dotted up the valleys. I know it is too idealistic to expect them to still be used for storage of animal’s winter feed but who wonders  at the black  plastic bales? How many plastic wrappers are recycled?
  • Another good modern crop is of tyres found in great quantity at several spots on Hag Farm. At first I thought it may be the spare tyres the dales walkers are trying to work off. Then I realised the exercisers idea was to make spare tyres invisible – not at all what is happening.

041Well trod treds

    • After your walk you may be fancying refreshing ice cream, drink, sweets or ice lolly. Well it is not only the ice cream that is flaky.

047Buy One and Stop One

  • Burley in Wharfedale publish several walks that pass Hag Farm link.

Shed Street Keighley – Our Environment

Some streets and places have names that hint at a former life. Who didn’t shed a tear of laughter at Tony Hancock and his eponymous home No 23 Railway Cuttings East Cheam. What is no laughing matter is the state of rubbish and litter in this quiet Keighley street. Lest you think the council are on their way to collect the over flowing trade bins below is how Shed Street itself looked.

Houses on the street sell for well under £100,000 (£78,000 in March 2017) and it is not a surprise when you consider this litter strewn environment. Keighley has the ability to regenerate itself and create a dynamic community founded on old traditional values and the local industrial heritage.

Environmental Comments

  • Waste minimisation needs far more attention. Mantras like reuse, recycle, repurpose need a  reality check as they are not making enough impact.
  • Self help and combined local action can help. Organised clean ups, self tipping (you may as well use those cars to take items to the tip) or get local councils to collect bulky waste.
  • Cobbled streets are hard to maintain and keep clean especially when parked cars cover debris.
  • Individual bins are hard to store in back to back or through terrace houses to say nothing of bin lorry access.
  • Trade waste elimination via consultation with suppliers would be a start and look at these plastic bags. Proper sorting and some form of compaction is called for.
  • Finally ‘shed’ a tear for the marine life that is suffering from all the plastic that finds its way into our rivers and seas. Keep the Aire Valley clean and plastic free.

North Queen Street corner of Shed St Keighley 9/1/18

Our Opposition are Wrong

Book Cover

Gods Own County has long espoused the Independent Yorkshire ethos. see Party for Independent Yorkshire State (PIYS).   But by ‘eck we are chuffin cheezed at the off-cumdens from God’s Own Country. From the book-passport shown above we have the following bits of grief:

Where the Opposition are getting it Wrong

  • Why a maroon EU style passport cover not a deeply satisfying blue  – did ships carrying red and blue paint crash leaving the sailors marooned?
  • We can forgive the poncy ‘postrophy but we are the world’s greatest county and do not need to pretend to be a country.
  • Another colour blind error is the ‘gold’ rose – ‘wrong end of….. end of…………… end of……………………’
  • What is all that about Republic! We could still be a monarchy with the Duke of York as head of……oh I see what they mean, Geoff Boycott it will have to be.
  • The font for Yorkshire is depicted as being smaller than that used for Passport. A sin worthy of being forced to drink larger or flat, warm, southern beer.

Where Could this Opposition be Leading Us

  • Dividing the county by these antics could split Yorkshire in to parts – we have seen two approaches so far and a third would create a riding!
  • The Sophie Walker and the Women’s Equality Party were vanquished in Shipley during the last general election by (General) Philip Davies. We might need to make him Field Marshall if we need to fight again.
  • The joke content of the passport could be taken seriously by any aspirational outsiders ‘Whether born and bred in the Broad Acres, an offcumden, a tourist or even a Lancastrian, the holder of this passport is bestowed official Tyke status’. Bestowed in whose name one might ask.
  •  Other Republic pubs like The People’s Republich on Newland Ave in Hull which recently opened so you can play board games and treat them as a cafe. These are frightening uses for a pub.

In Conclusion

One may be able to forgive all but the Lancastrian comment which takes the Yorkie.

Witches Familiars in Yorkshire

Black cats or toads are well known as ‘familiars’ possessed by witches but there are also a range of other creatures and spirits with Yorkshire and witch connections. Rats, fowie ( a hideous looking person), dogs and imps are familiar familiars dating from the 15th century or even earlier. Imps are associated with the Devil from whom it is believed witches got their familiars, even today some young children are often called little imps after this mischievous devil or sprite.

Familiars were believed to be fed with the witch’s own blood by suckling them from a secret place. If a suspected witch had an unusual mark or protuberance it was denounced as a witch’s nipple and was a sign the owner was truly a witch. In 1604 it was declared a felony to ‘consult, covenant with, entertain, employ, feed, or reward any evil or wicked spirit’.

Yorkshire Witch Trials

  1. In West Bowling Bradford  in 1649 Mary Sikes was tried as a witch. A witness ‘searched her body and found upon her side a red humppe about the bigness of a nutt, and when they wrung it with their fingers moisture came out like lee. And they found upon her left side near her arm a little lumpe like a wart and being pulled out it strecht for half an inch the like they never saw on any other woman’.
  2. In 1664 Alice Hudson of Burton Agnes was tried and found guilty of receiving payment of 10 shillings from the Devil. As punishment she was burnt to death at York.
  3. Edward Fairfax  from Fewston caused terror around Knaresborough accusing 6 women of bewitching children and causing them to have fits. Fairfax’s children claimed the women met at Timble Gill and feasted with the devil. However after the trial the Judge and jury acquitted five of the accused.
  4. Scarborough had many women searched for marks or spots in the 1650’s. It wouldn’t take a genius to find something on everyone. Strangely there are few reports of male witches suffering these sorts of trial.
  5. Pocklington woman, Isablela Billington, crucified her mother then sacrificed a calf and cock to Satan. She was tried in York and hanged then burnt in 1648

Happy Halloween!




Corn Dolly Bradford’s Best Boozer


In our pagan past it was believed that the spirit of the corn lived amongst the crops and that the harvest made it effectively homeless.

Corn Spirit was supposed to live in the plaited straw  or corn doll  until the following spring to ensure a good harvest. Straw idols have been made for centuries under the name of Corn Dolls.

The idols in this Bradford pub are the landlord and his selection of beers and lunchtime banquets of pie and peas, hot beef in sandwiches or Yorkshires. You might thing the idle in the pub are tax office escapees but I couldn’t possibly comment. (It is on the old trolley bus route to the real Idle!)

Reverting to the ‘pagan’ theme this is a pagan advert for an ale at the Corn Dolly, probably brewed in the Pagan Place Pendle.

Old and Very Old Yorkshire

Book Cover

Well this is the colour of the dreaded European Passport so I am not sure that a Yorkshire blue would not be more appropriate. Yes I am sure. It also says God’s Own Country when we know and accept that Yorkshire is a county. Admittedly even the ridings are big enough and good enough to stand as individual countries but without the pretensions of Scotland and Ireland.

Anyway to some old business even prehistory.

Rombalds Way

The river Wharfe now flows, and at times meanders, from the source on wild moorland at Camm Fell to join the Ouse below York. It passes through an ancient area known as Mid-Wharfedale. Pre-glacial man has left little trace but from the Mesolithic age there have been many finds of stone tools. Then the new stone age or neolithic period marked a spread of civilisation.

About 2000 years ago ‘Bell Beaker folk’ came to Yorkshire from the Rhine & Russia and there are over 100 Beaker Folk graves in East Yorkshire.

On an area called Rombalds moor covering  Burley, Hawkesworth and Baildon moors plus to the south of Ilkley there are many ‘cup and ring’ carvings. The swastika stone in Ilkley, Knotties stone on the Chevin and the Panorama  stone in Ilkley are all fine examples from the Early Bronze Age

Rombalds is named after  a short lived but fabled giant who is credited in folklore with superhuman strength and feats.
Book Cover

Book CoverA History of Yorkshire

Yorkshire folk aren’t big on blurb but this ‘push piece’ gives you a quick overview of what to expect in this 480 page history of our favourite county.

‘The three Ridings of Yorkshire covered about an eighth of the whole of the country, stretching from the river Tees in the north to the Humber in the south, and from the North Sea to the highest points of the Pennines. In such a large area there was a huge diversity of experience and history. Life on the Pennines or the North York Moors, for example, has always been very different from life in low-lying agricultural districts such as Holderness or the Humberhead Levels. And the fisherfolk of Staithes or Whitby might not readily recognise the accents, ways or customs of the cutlery makers of Hallamshire, still less perhaps of the farmers of Wensleydale or Craven. In some ways, this diversity makes Yorkshire the most interesting of England’s historic counties, a microcosm of the country as a whole. Its variety and beauty also help to explain why Yorkshire is now such a popular tourist desination. Until quite recently people felt that they belonged to their own local area or ‘country’. Few people travelled very far, and it was not until the late nineteenth century that the success of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club seems to have forged the idea of Yorkshire as a singular identity, and which gave its people a sense of their superiority. This single volume describes the broad sweep of Yorkshire’s history from the end of the last Ice Age up to the present day. To do so Professor Hey has had to tell the story of each particular region and of each town. He talks about farming and mining, trade and industry, fishing and ways of life in all parts of the county. Having lived, worked, researched, taught and walked in the county for many years, he has amassed an enormously detailed knowledge and understanding of Yorkshire. The fruits of his work are presented here in what has been described as ‘a bravura performance – by one of the Yorkshire’s finest historians’. With a particular emphasis on the richness of landscape, places and former ways of life, this important book is a readable, informative and fascinating overview of Yorkshire’s past and its people.’

Seven or More Yorkshire Cathedrals and Minsters

Top Cathedrals for age and Architecture

1.York Minster Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter is the Mother church of the Province of York AD 627.

2. Ripon Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Wilfrid AD 655.

Parish and modern Cathedrals

3. Bradford Cathedral Church of St Peter 15th century

4. Leeds Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St Anne

5. Wakefield Cathedral Church of All Saints consecrated AD 1329

6. Sheffield Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Paul  + like Liverpool with a second cathedral the 7. Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St Marie

8. Middlesbrough  Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic originally Cathedral Church of Our Lady Of Perpetual Succour

Minster Churches not Cathedrals?

  1. Beverley Minster Parish church of St John and St Martin
  2. Dewsbury Minster All Saints Church
  3. Marsden St Bartholomew’s church
  4. Halifax Minster West Riding
  5. Howden Minster was owned by monks from Peterborough Abbey in Saxon times
  6. Leeds Minster and Parish Church of Saint Peter-at-Leeds
  7. All Saints Church, Rotherham, also known as Rotherham Minster,
  8. Doncaster Church of St George, Doncaster, also known as Doncaster Minster.

Significant or Greater Churches Network

Southwell Cathedral and Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary prior to the dissolution of 1539  was a Minster in the diocese of York.

  • Bolton Abbey
  • Bridlington Priory
  • St Peter’s Church, Harrogate
  • Holy Trinity Church, Hull newly promoted to a Minster church on 13th May 2017
  • Selby Abbey

The greater church network aims to help former monastic properties and others  large parish churches built at a time of great wealth. They have common problems of financing facilities for a large number of visitors and the specialist maintenance and repair of old or large buildings.

Fascinating Facts about Yorkshires Newest Minster

  • Holy Trinity Church,Hull needed a £4.5m renovation  and the Archbishop Dr John Sentamu revealed it would become Hull Minster if the funds could be raised.
  • The largest parish church in England was newly promoted to a Minster church on 13th May 2017
  • Holy Trinity’s  mother church is All Saints in Hessle just up river.
  • The church was built in the 1300s, after King Edward I granted the former settlement  a Royal Charter for Kings Town upon Hull
  • It is the oldest brick-built building in the country still in use foor it’s original purpose.
  • Anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce was baptised at the church
  • The church now houses beer festivals and other activities to help raise the funds for refurbishment.
  • During World War One, the church was bombed and damage by fire and in  World War Two it became a  flight marker for the German aircraft looking to bomb the docks and city.


Sculptures New and Ancient


Lizards from Cornwall have been carving a path through our dry stone walls. See more sculptures around Chevin Park and Surprise View.

Human foot marks have eroded part of the Calf as folk try the ascent to the summit. Parents of small children should give their assent in a Yorkshire accent first. Around Rombolds Moor you can visit stone age cup and ring stones the Swastika and Apostle  stones.

Which sculpture takes your eye? The White Horse at Kilburn or the National Park adulterated Mill Wheel  sign.

The Grewelthorpe Duck