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Countryman's Diary

Lambs in the fields at Barnard Castle, County Durham

Fridays can be a confusing day

Rievaulx Abbey, standing magnificently on the banks of the Rye. Picture: Bob Adams

When sheep were big business

Handout photo issued by Royal Mail courtesy of the British Postal Museum & Archive dated 22/07/59 of postmens' uniforms from 1793-1910 in Postmens' Park, as the Royal Mail is commemorating its 500th anniversary this year by celebrating some of the people

Keep up your first-class delivery

Out Do and Daniel Tudhope (no 16) win the William Hill Great St Wilfrid Stakes during the William Hill Great St.Wilfrid Handicap Day at Ripon Racecourse, Ripon. Picture: John Giles/PA Wire

A century or so of weekly words

The sun went down at Deadmans Hill featuring the crab apple tree used as shade by ponies on sunny days. Picture: Richard Pinfield

A bird’s eye view of old customs

Locals dressed as carol singers make their way in Dienten, Austrian province of Salzburg. Traditionally carol singers in Austria walk from house to house around epiphany to collect money for poor children in other countries

What's the origin of the carol?

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Robin red breast singing his heart out surrounded by autumnal berries. Picture: Karl Shaw

Fear and joy surround the robin

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St Nicholas’ Church in Durham market place, one of many in the region named after the Christmas saint

Christmas is a moveable feast

ABBEY: Ampleforth will welcome the Chilean monks early next year. (46773370)

Granges grew up around abbeys

Porch House in Northallerton, where King Charles I was said to have been held prisoner

Guided by books – old and new

The Black Sheep Brewery – one of two breweries in Masham, the other being Theakston's

Pup’s problems in the long grass

A fieldfare thrush

Winter heralds thrushes’ arrival

Runswick Bay, best seen from the sea, and the haunt of hobgoblins

Bay-watch reveals birds galore

The former Zetland Hotel, in Saltburn – it once had its own railway platform

Youngster with a sense of style

Children playing in the autumn leaves

Autumn brings splash of colour

A York Minster verger poses alongside Great Peter, which weighs more than ten tons and is the third heaviest church bell in the country

Mounds marked a final journey

The bones of wolves found in Kirkdale Cave were thrown into Hidge Beck, but some were rescued by a holidaymaker

Tourist rescued cave's secrets

The Ian Rankin-Broadley sculpture at the National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire

Memories of Far East campaign

NIGHT VISITOR: A pipistrelle bat, like one which caused minor consternation in the Rhea bedroom

The downgrading of burglary

St Gall is the patron saint of hens, as well as other birds - and Switzerland

St Gall and his feathered friends

It is said some travellers carried spare cash to hand to any highwayman who ambushed their coach

Innkeepers had hand in villainy

An ancient trod in North Yorkshire

Taking the right paths and trods

Bowes Castle emerges from dense fog around the village of Bowes, in County Durham

Help to celebrate Yorkshire Day

Daniel  Radcliffe as Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Gripping tale of gruesome hand

The cuckoo looks similar to a sparrowhawk, but slower in flight

Free entertainment in our garden

A scene from the film The Lord of the Rings featuring hobbits Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin

Shirt offer offended naked Hob!

Ampleforth College, where the students once marked Gormire Day, which once involved a camel

Saints' days and special dates

The village of Keld, in upper Swaledale, whose name betrays its Norse origins

Where there's a well there's a way

The sun rises over Stonehenge in Wiltshire at dawn Monday June 21, 2004, where more than 20,000 people gathered to mark the summer solstice at the prehistoric site

The start of our six-day summer

A Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis

Birds galore - but no cuckoo call

Hedgehogs are increasingly at risk in Britain

We must stop the hedgehog's decline

A sign and gate on the Cleveland Way near Sutton Bank

A meeting of the ancient ways

A view of Turtle Rock from Castle Rocks at Brimham Rocks in North Yorkshire

Brimham Rocks? The answer is blowing in the wind

A vast carpet of buttercups cover fields close to the River Wharfe near Bolton Percy in North Yorkshire

Stones criss-cross the North York Moors

A greater spotted woodpecker standing on a birdhouse

Saints galore during a month of celebration

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Pupils at Slingsby county primary School dance around the maypole on the village green.Picture: Nigel Holland

Making merry in the month of May

A wasps' nest in blue tit nesting box

We 'moorjocks' lived in a world of our own

A view of Sandsend – but did the beach once act as the main road between the village and nearby Whitby? – Picture Tom Banks

When I came across a pack of wolves – in a bus shelter

The cuckoo, whose numbers have been declining

Cuckoos' decline is welcomed by some

St Agatha's Church, Easby, which may pre-date the neighbouring abbey, seen to to the right

Glorious art rediscovered in our Yorkshire churches

St Mary and St Alkelda's Church, Middleham

Well, well – who was the real St Alkelda?

Daffodils by a beck in Helmsley – Picture: Doug Jackson

Are monks to thank for a sight to raise the springtime spirits?

The castle, begun in 1071, which dominates the original town of Richmond – Picture: Andy Lamb

Telling tales to Southerners about the real Richmond

A mole – they can be both a blessing and a curse

Mouldiwarps, and mowdyrats. You may know them as moles...

The River Ure at peace as it flows past West Tanfield

So where does Wensleydale end?

LOOK AROUND: Mickle Fell, the highest point in 'old' Yorkshire, has magnificent views to the Dales and Lakes

The search for the finest view in the North

COUNTRYSIDE VIEW: Dark clouds over Upper Teesdale bringing snow with them

Looking for love, ladies? Better boil an egg

Snowdrops at Mount Grace Priory, near Osmotherley

The long history of our valleys with churches

High Force, near Middleton-in-Teesdale – much weather lore relates to a wintry February

The struggle to keep up with the clock in days gone by

Heavy horses like these, at Beamish Museum in County Durham, were once the norm on our farms

Change is slow but relentless in the countryside, as a book from childhood shows

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