All posts by brystone

Summer in Stonesdale

There are few better places to experience the joys of the English summer than the Yorkshire Dales, and Stonesdale – perfectly situated at the very top of Swaledale – is among the finest of all.

Summer in Stonesdale
Summer in Stonesdale


Haymaking in Stonesdale
Haymaking in Stonesdale

The farming year goes through the same stages every year, and one of the most exhausting is haymaking.   These days we have tractors and balers to help, but I remember when it was all done by hand, and we needed lots of help to cut and gather in the hay so that our sheep and cows could be fed over the winter.


The poet John Clare describes haymaking beautifully in his sonnet – but for us it means long days and lots of work!

Tis haytime & the red complexioned sun
Was scarcely up ere blackbirds had begun
Along the meadow hedges here & there
To sing loud songs to the sweet smelling air
Where breath of flowers & grass & happy cow
Fling oer ones senses streams of fragrance now
While in some pleasant nook the swain & maid
Lean oer their rakes & loiter in the shade
Or bend a minute oer the bridge & throw
Crumbs in their leisure to the fish below
---Hark at that happy shout---& song between
Tis pleasures birthday in her meadow scene
What joy seems half so rich from pleasure won
As the loud laugh of maidens in the sun.

John Clare (1793-1864).


Clipping the sheep

After a busy time haymaking, it’s time to clip – or shear – our flocks, and if you visit Brystone you’ll find lots of shorn sheep in the fields and on the moors.  Here are some in the field right next to the cottage.



It’s lambing time again for the farms in West Stonesdale. Our fine Swaledale sheep lamb later than most parts of the country because they spend their lives on the moors and we want to make sure that they have the best chance of raising strong, healthy lambs.

A yow and her lamb
A yow and her lamb

A yow and her lamb

The first few lambs are around in the pastures and barns, and if you visit in the next couple of weeks you’ll see some busy farmers and lots of beautiful bouncing lambs.