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Countryman's Diary

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

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

The golden plover – when they swoop in formation in flocks, they can look like a flying saucer

Why do birds of a feather flock together?

The snow at the end of December was no match for the steam locomotives running on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway – pictured is a BR Class 4 locomotive passing through Goathland station

A memorable day in two ways

Cuckoos are part of an English spring

Where have all the cuckoos gone?

Chorister children in their nativity play pictured in Chapter House in Durham Cathedral in 2011

Bringing the Christmas story to life

A Victorian print of adults decorating a Christmas tree while children watch

Old ways fading – but Christmas was once banned

The spring gentian, one of the rare flowers growing in the hills of Teesdale

Follow the saints to the big day

HEAVY DUTY: A Yule log being dragged towards a fire on Christmas Day in Tudor times

Christmas comes but twice a year

The village of Keld in upper Swaledale – the name means a spring.

Why Fryup is not a name to be trifled with

There has been a bumper crop of fruit this year thanks to kindly weather conditions

Starlings – clowns or villains?

Whitby Abbey - the original was founded by St Hilda

A nun of enormous power and personality

FORCE OF NATURE: A walker stops to take a photograph of the swollen River Ure at Aysgarth Falls, much mentioned in old guides to Yorkshire

Old books can teach us new tricks

Rare Valais Blacknose lambs, usually found in the Swiss Alps, have been born on a farm in Whittingham, Northumberland

Vines go all out in the sunshine

The goldfinch - a shy songbird

Who is our entertaining visitor?

RIVER CROSSING: Yarm's handsome railway viaduct, putured from the road bridge - Picture: Doug Jackson

Reflections on a Suffolk sojourn

TOUGH CUSTOMER: Gorse, often known locally as whin, flowering yellow on the slopes of Eston Moor, in Cleveland

Versatile shrub synonymous with the Moors

ARISTOCRAT: It seesms to have been a good summer  for butterflies like the red admiral

Colours that brides should choose – or avoid

COBBLED WAY: Looking down Bargate, in Richmond

The traditional tales we all know

Autumn colours are reflected in the water at Fountains Abbey, Ripon in North Yorkshire

Virgin marks and a lost equinox

POWER HOUSE: Tocketts water driven corn Mill near Guisborough. Picture: DAVID WOOD

Traditions and trees tells us tales

AIR OF MYSTERY: An unusual view of Durham Cathedral, during the Lumiere festival 2013

Place of mysteries and sanctuary

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