ROBERT Brothers Mammoth Zoo Circus was preparing to give Craven folk the time of their lives 75 years ago in 1946. Amongst the 20 ‘star acts’ were Buffalo Bill ‘ in person’ and Marharannne, an Indian performing elephant. There was also a group of African ‘performing lions’, Patricia ‘queen of the air’ and the ‘sensational horizontal bar act’ , the Otto Brothers. Described as a ‘thrill for young and old’, the circus was stopping off in both Skipton and in Barnoldswick.

Post Second World War, Craven seemed to have been crying out for entertainment of all sorts. Fans of the Netflix series ‘Lupin’ will be interested to know there was at least one earlier adaptation for the big screen, and in 1946, a film of Arsene Lupin, ‘world famous gentleman thief and master of disguise’ was showing a t Skipton Premier Cinema, where Hedy Lamarr was also starring in Her Highness and the Bell Boy. Over at the Regal, Shirley Temple was in the ‘sparkling comedy’ Kiss and Tell, and while the Hippodrome in Keighley was playing the curiously named ‘The Widow of 40’.

The Skipton Permanent Orchestra, established in 1901, was into its second concert season of the year and was performing at Skipton Town Hall. Bass Gorden Parfitt, and accompanist Mary Lund were joined by the full orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Smith.

Elsewhere, Tony Dickenson of the Ribblesdale Arms Hunting Stables, Gisburn, announced the opening of a riding stables, ‘now that the hunting season was over’.

Mr Dickenson offered ‘good class hacks and ponies for hire and expert tuition in jumping and jumping’. He also accepted horses for breaking and schooling and at livery.

Both girls and boys seeking ‘good employment’ were urged to take up weaving and to enquire at any of the weaving mills in Skipton for ‘further particulars’. 14 year olds could expect a weekly wage of 27 shillings and seven pence, while 18 year olds, 45 shillings and seven pence. Training took a bout eight weeks and when fully trained, in charge of a full complement of looms, workers could expect wages as high as £5 10s.

After six years in HM Forces, Arthur Bell, taxi proprietor, recommenced business at the Black Horse garage in Skipton.

IN March,1929,passengers on a motor coach travelling from Skipton to Colne had an ‘alarming experience’ when the vehicle burst into flames, reported the Craven Herald at the time.

The vehicle had just left Broughton when without warning, the engine backfired and flames burst out from round the driver’s seat and dashboard. The driver stopped, got out and flung open the emergency door at the rear, letting out all ten passengers, who were happily, all unhurt.

The driver set off to the Broughton Post Office to summon the Skipton fire brigade,but the brigade refused to turn out as the district was outside their area, said the paper. The Keighley fire brigade were then called and were in the scene in 25 minutes. But, by the time they arrived, just the frame of the bus was left.

Pedestrians had to climb a wall next to the road, and walk in the fields to avoid the intense heat and there was a stream of traffic on both sides of nearly a mile.

ITS that time of the year again when litter at the side of the roads seems especially offensive - it seems the world is equally divided into those who feel it is entirely within their right to throw bottles, groceries, cigarette ends, and all manner of rubbish out of their moving cars, and those who are driven mad by the apparent thoughtlessness.

Over the last year, in my miles and mile s of walking all over Craven, I’ve come across some strange bits of dumped rubbish, some of which, I have stuffed into my rucksack and taken home. Larger items of course, freezers, complete with food, mattresses, and builders’ rubble, I’ve had to leave. What has to be one of the oddest things I have come across is several ‘cat’s eyes’ left at the side of the A59 at East Marton - presumably dug out during resurfacing by highways and forgotten.

Now, the cat’s eye, or road stud, - for anyone who doesn’t know - are the things in the middle of roads that reflect the lights of oncoming cars and are something of a design classic.

Invented by Percy Shaw of Halifax in 1934, they are today used all over the world. One of them, complete with a not insubstantial amount of tarmac, is now in my shed, where I hope in the years to come I will be able to sell it for a small fortune.

CRAVEN seems blessed to be one of those areas where curlews can be seen in abundance, along with oyster catchers, and lapwings. On my walks, I also often see egrets, buzzards and all manner of birds of prey, and in the last couple of weeks, skylarks soaring over the moors.

The RSPB says people have been noticing nature much more during lockdown as garden birds and other wildlife have helped lift spirits and connect us to the world outside. A recent YouGov survey, commissioned by the RSPB, showed that 41 per cent of those who took part reported seeing wildlife near their homes that they had never noticed before over the last 12 months.

Almost half of the UK population said they have tried to attract nature to their gardens during lockdown but as restrictions ease, the RSPB is keen to highlight that many of our threatened species don’t use gardens and nest boxes when raising young.

Over half of England’s most threatened breeding bird species nest on, or near to the ground; including curlew, little tern, nightjar and lapwing.

“If you ask people where bird’s nest, they are likely say a tree, hedge or nest box. It’s an image we’ve all grown up with but for some of our most threatened species it’s simply not true. Almost every natural habitat in the English countryside can be home to ground nesting birds and many of these species are under increasing pressure due habitat loss, predators and climate change. Yet we can all help protect them from disturbance by simply following The Countryside Code and keeping to footpaths,” says Sara Humphrey, communications manager.

Wetland areas, upland areas and moors across the area can be home to ground nesting birds and as vulnerable chicks are easy prey for lots of predators, dogs running through nesting sites can be very stressful for breeding birds. By sticking to paths, watching for signage and keeping dogs on leads in these habitats, you can help give chicks the best chance of survival.

Birds nesting on the ground are at higher risk from predators, which is why the nests and eggs they contain are often extremely well camouflaged. This makes them very hard to see and avoid.

“A skylark egg can be as small as 17mm across, that’s around the width of a 5p piece. When those eggs hatch, the vulnerable chicks can be just as well camouflaged. If disturbed, a chick’s instinct is often to stay quiet and avoid detection, so if you hear an adult bird calling out in distress or see one trying to catch your attention, back away carefully to help protect nests from harm, “ says Mike Shurmer, Head of Species for RSPB England.

The RSPB’s conservation scientists have developed methods to help protect nesting birds from environmental threats including climate change, wildfire and sea level rise, which can be delivered through managing landscapes for wildlife. They have seen fantastic results for species including roseate tern and stone curlew; but to protect ground nesting birds across the countryside, everyone can play a part by watching where they step, keeping dogs on leads and following The Countryside Code.