FOR the third year running, Paul Heath, who lives in Barnoldswick, has been sharing his workshop with a family of robins (including this one, pictured). Paul tells me this year, there are two chicks hopping around on the floor this year as he tries to get on with his work.

IT’S been a while since I have walked up Pendle Hill, so it was a welcome surprise to discover a newly laid path across a badly eroded area of peat.

The work, being carried out by the River Ribble Rivers Trust and the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership, began in January and had already been suspended until the autumn, before the coronavirus lockdown, so as not to disrupt ground nesting birds, of which the area is very rich.

A fair amount of work however had already been done, and it is clear to see it will be a vast improvement not only for walkers, but will hopefully help preserve the peat, which has become so very eroded.

The trust says the peat on Pendle Moor has suffered from decades of wind, rain, over grazing, tramping and wild fires. Peat stores vast amount of carbon which adds to greenhouse gas emissions when the peat erodes. Bare peat running off the hill into Mearley brook also reduces the water quality.

On Pendle Moor, machinery has been used to smooth the edges of the peat ‘hags’ to create a better footpath - it will indeed be a much easier walk come winter time.

The work has been funded in part by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

There has already been extensive improvements made to the access and footpaths on Pendle Hill, including gates and shelters, to stop and enjoy a sandwich.

It is hoped by directing people towards the designated footpaths, the number of walkers on the peat will go down and so reduce the amount of erosion.

If undisturbed and healthy peat will continue to slowly grow, capturing carbon as it does so, it is a very worthy project.

HAVING walked up and down Pendle Hill, my plan was to walk back home to West Craven, a distance of some 15 miles or so; my map reading skills being practically non existent however, I went off route somewhat and ended up in Roughlee, where I stumbled upon a statue of the best known of the 17th century Pendle ‘witches’ Alice Nutter.

Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott, originally from Roughlee, returned in 2012 to the village to unveil the statue, which is made out of brass and steel.

Alice was unusual amongst the women accused of being witches in that she was comparatively wealthy, the widow of a tenant yeoman farmer.

She made no statement either before or during her trial, except to enter her plea of not guilty to the charge of murder.

She was hanged, along with nine others, at Lancaster in August 1612.

Although my unintended diversion added some five miles onto my walk, it did mean seeing the statue, which was well worth it.

ANOTHER lengthy walk during my few days off took me from Horton-in-Ribblesdale back home to West Craven, using the Pennine Way.

The route, some 26 miles, took me via Penyghent, Fountains Fell and Malham, and was, apart from Malham Cove, very quiet, with everyone I did come across being very careful to keep a good distance away.

Even at Malham Cove, where I sat for a while and watched a peregrine falcon catch something in mid air before taking it back to a ledge to eat, everyone was keeping a healthy distance.

A few days later, Julia Bradbury was on ITV climbing Penyghent in a repeated episode of her Britain’s Best Walks series.

She went up the gentle way, pausing to visit Hull Pot, and up to the summit, which was very windy on the day of filming, and there it ended. Not sure if she and her film crew went down the sharp descent, or went back the same way she came, but I think we all would have liked to have seen Julia coming down on her bottom, like most people.

THE Great Yorkshire Show, which should have taken place over three days in mid-July, has of course been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but will instead be replaced with a virtual event.

Taking place over the show’s original dates, from Tuesday, July 14 to Thursday, July 16, the virtual Great Yorkshire Show say organisers will feature three full days of entertaining and informative video footage, all available for free on the its website,

Show director, Charles Mills says people can expect a ‘feast of all things Yorkshire and its glorious rural acres’.

Footage will take people onto farms, into workshops and behind the scenes with food producers. There will also be special performances, demonstrations, showcases and ‘some famous faces’.

He says: “Attractions include a performance by East Yorkshire-based TV stunt performers Atkinson Action Horses, a cook-off between top chefs Rosemary Shrager and Stephanie Moon, a Q&A with the stars of The Yorkshire Vet, Peter Wright and Julian Norton, and a behind the scenes tour with Olympic showjumper Graham Fletcher.”

Virtual events will also include livestock, farriery, beekeeping, and cheesemaking.

WHAT I thought was an unusually large pebble turned out to be a paper wasp nest, pictured above. I approached it with caution, poked it, and out came a few angry wasps.

After retreating a few feet, I watched for a while as the wasps busied themselves, and over the next few days, the nest grew, and became attached to a table leg. Sadly, what had been a lovely few hot and dry days turned into howling gales and heavy rain, and the wasp nest was blown away, even the anchors were not enough to keep it in place. Sad for the wasps, but not for the business where the wasps had decided to build their home.

ON the subject of wildlife, for the third year running, Paul Heath, who lives in Barnoldswick, has been sharing his workshop with a family of robins. Paul tells me this year, there are two chicks hopping around on the floor this year as he tries to get on with his work.

50 years ago, on July 3, 1970, the Craven Herald reported on Skipton Gala. As so often it seems, the weather was not the best, and Aireville Park was ‘absorbed with thunder rain’. Despite that, the spirits of those taking part in the procession, and those watching remained ‘waterproof and buoyant’. For the eleventh successive year, Skipton and District Hospital Friends organised a closed circuit television programme of the whole of the procession for the patients of Raikeswood Hospital.

Also, 50 years ago, three members of the Yorkshire Dales Railway Society ended at Skipton a marathon 8,019 mile railway journey on a £20 Rail Rover ticket which gained them a world record.

Timothy Parker, 21, of Rylstone, Brian Mawson, 19, of Skipton, and Paul Smith, 15, a schoolboy, arrived at Skipton Station at 21.09 on June 27, after a seven day rail journey which included visits to Aberdeen, Plymouth and London. The record attempt to travel as many miles as possible in the given time, began at midnight on June 20 at York. The railway enthusiasts travelled on all regions, except the Southern region, and slept on the trains overnight. They travelled to London 15 times where their shortest stay was just five minutes. Highest speed was on the ‘Royal Scot’ from Crewe to London when the train reached 118mph because it was running late. Timothy estimated that he drank three gallons of coffee, and that Brian ate 40 fruit pies.