Peering through Yorkshire village windows


What a nice gesture!  The village hall in Boltby, North Yorkshire, is left on the latch.  There are no amenities in this lovely village so, if you’re passing by and need to use the loo, you can pop in.  There’s a kitchen too, and you’re welcome to put the kettle on.  If only I’d thought to bring some cake!

Boltby is on the western edge of the North York Moors, and I was there to follow Gurtof Beck in the direction of Gormire Lake.  There’s a wonderful humpbacked stone bridge for pedestrians at the centre of the village, and right beside it, two mosaics.

They are part of 23 such markers on the  36 mile long Hambleton Hillside Mosaic Walk. Now, don’t worry!  I didn’t undertake the whole distance, and I stopped to admire a few cottages along the way.  And Boltby’s pretty 19th century chapel.

Beyond the village it’s a pleasant rolling landscape, with impressive Whitestone Cliff a distant backdrop.  Sheep gambol in the fields, and overhead, gliders ride the thermals.  I’d love to have their bird’s eye view.

Gormire Lake is accessible only on foot, and was formed after the last Ice Age, when an ice sheet covered the Vale of York.  I’ve previously only seen it from the cliff top, a dark and mysterious green expanse, surrounded by woodland. It’s not a place to go after dusk, for it’s said to be haunted by a knight who plunged from the cliff to his death. He was riding the white mare on whom the famous White Horse of Kilburn is thought to be based.


I never much like to retrace my steps, and so it was that I found tiny Thirlby.  The village nestles round a ford, always a source of delight to me.  No stepping stones for this one, just a huddle of pretty cottages.  Apparently James Herriot, veterinarian and author, once lived here.  Pear Tree House, home to a master cabinet maker, came as a real surprise.  Bob Hunter uses the symbol of a wren to distinguish his furniture.

Boltby and Thirlby are just a couple of miles apart, and easy walking.  A short drive away, the village of Kilburn was home to another, more famous, craftsman.  Robert Thompson, or Mouseman as he became known, came from a family ‘as poor as church mice’. Astonishingly, he taught himself the craft of carving and joinery.  I’ve long promised myself a visit.

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There are tearooms too, but you really don’t want to see another scone with jam and cream, do you?  Just picture it!

Have you seen Dawn’s A Lingering Look at Windows this month?



    1. I had the BEST scone with jam and cream yesterday, down on the Moors, before I jumped into the ditch and made a bad landing! 😦 I’m blaming the sheep- or the heather 🙂 🙂

  1. What a charming place to wander around. Love the beautiful green landscapes the most. it always amazes me that Britain with all its immigrants and crowded cities still manages to have rolling green hills and so much farm land. It truly is a ‘green and pleasant land’. 😃

  2. Such pretty photos, Jo. Here in England, the homes are so close to the road and I find myself peering in for a sticky beak, which is something I would never do at home. I try not to get caught out though. That would be embarrassing.

  3. What a glorious and relaxing walk, Jo (and I’m glad there is a loo somewhere along the way) 😉 I’ve always wanted to have a house with all that ivy growing on it, but people tell me it’s full of spiders and can crack the bricks – oh well, I’ll just keep dreaming! 😀

    1. Our side wall is covered in Virginia Creeper, which turns a glorious pink in the Autumn, Dianne. It lifts my heart when I turn the corner and see it 🙂 Hope you’re well, hon?

      1. Not going too bad, thanks so much for asking Jo. I’m just going through a bit of an in-law struggle at the moment which is quite complex and may require a lawyer if I’m to keep the RUC and not lose all the money I’ve put into it. It’s draining and at times very frustrating, but hopefully I’ll get there in the end 😉 I’ll write about it on my blog one day, but not now in case it does turn legal xxx

  4. I loved this post, Jo – both villages sound delightful. There is something so peaceful sounding about village life like this, and they each have their own personalities that shine through in the little details. It looks like it was a great day to explore!

  5. I’m always happy to find places with public restrooms! I love the ivy-covered buildings and the charming village! I’d love to do that 36-mile mosaic walk, but of course I’d have to do it over several days. Looks like a perfect day for a walk, Jo. 🙂

  6. What a beautiful town Jo! I would love to walk to that lake as it looks gorgeous. You have so many wonderful places to explore near you! How far do you drive generally to get to all these different places for your walks?

    1. These villages are about an hour away, depending on traffic, Nicole. The walk would have been 8 or 9 miles in total. Funny that we’d never been to the lake before. Lots of stories and mysteries surround it. 🙂 All ok with you? Summer has fled today and it’s pouring.

      1. You are truly lucky Jo to have so much so close to you to explore! Wish we did! Yes, summer has flown by and I’m trying to finally catch my breathe. Kids just went back to school which is always bittersweet.

  7. What pretty little places honey, I like the idea of living in an old stone cottage, most down here are cob. Your first photo is fab and the mouse man’s carvings, well what a talent. Good to see the tradition being continued, although the stools look great, even my abundant padding wouldn’t make them comfy! Happy weekend my lovely and big Devon hugs are reaching out your way x:-)x

  8. WOW… So much beauty, so much to see. Loved the pictures so much, green rolling hills and tons of trees.. Aaah, breath of fresh air.. loved this the way, which country is this?

  9. When I see picturesque little villages like this, I feel I want to go back home and settle in one of them, the really get to me (always have). That is, until I think about the unpredictable weather in the UK, then I remember why I moved to a warmer climate!
    You got some fantastic shots Jo, it’s always a pleasure going on your walks with you.

    1. Thanks so much Barb. It’s been a wonderful August and I’m optimistic for more but you do have to grab it while you can. I guess there’s no place like home and I’m mostly very happy here xx

  10. Jo I’ve decided that where you live has 5 or so million quaint and charming villages. It’s astounding! I love the welcoming atmosphere and I agree with Andrew, some of your best images. Beautifully done.

  11. You do this so well Jo, just setting off and nosing around a place and finding all the best bits. I love looking around villages, and popping into open churches (not tried the village halls). I am definitely going to have to do a Yorkshire holiday before too long, you whet my appetite for exploring the Dales and the N York moors. And now it is September! Only 14 days until we meet! O_o

      1. We had a couple of Shropshire pub walks, but don’t think we did more than a couple. I do have a North Yorkshire walking book that I used when I took my boys there for Easter, way too long ago! Like you I prefer a circular walk. Or drive.

      1. Thanks honeybun. Be along in a little while. I will be down the coast most of the day with my walking group, weather permitting 🙂 It’s poured all weekend so there’s hope!

    1. Thanks a lot, Sue. I struggled to get back ‘in the groove’ with posts this week after the excitement of the Ships. Then we went walking on Thursday…. 🙂 Hugs appreciated and returned. 🙂

      1. Thanks for the hugs, Jo! I’m just baking a chocolate cake, a slice of which I shall eat with warm berries as my dessert tonight, and I bought some cheese to finish off, for the first time in ages! Have to spoil myself from time to time!

      2. Sounds excellent! It’s a girl’s night tonight and not my turn to cook (except something simple for Mick). Whoopee-doop! I may have some homemade apple pie and custard to keep me going until then 🙂

      3. Lucky you! It’s home alone tonight, but off for lunch on Sunday, cooked by a very capable ex-colleague of mine! And more good things to look forward to in the week, yippee!

  12. This is a wonderful post (unlike all your others!!!!!) lovely villages and distinctive things in each. I’m glad you can’t bear to retrace steps. I love your circles. Expect to see some on my blog soon! Boltby village hall says it all about the best of village life. A lovely launch into a quiet weekend. Enjoy yours and find it decorated with hugs in odd places.

    1. Circles? Good-o! I like them 🙂 Did you see my brollies, incidentally? (in the Skipton post). You know how I love the canals. Well, Prunella Scales and Timothy West went boating through Skipton for a TV programme and sat in the self same canalside pub we did. My new claim to fame and totally irrelevant to this post. 🙂 Sharing the hugs, and thank you!

      1. Yes, I did notice your umbrellas, but it was when I was distracted by who knows what! They’re my new favourite totally photogenic object. Enjoy your weekend, and have a few autumn hugs: mind you it’s 26° here today. My job is washing a sooty doonah, and maybe baking. R and Co are away so I’ll take liberties with their facilities.

    1. The idea never crossed my mind, Ann! 🙂 🙂 Thirsk and the surrounding villages is Herriot country and I tend to disregard it in favour of the Yorkshire Moors. A mistake, really 🙂 Thanks for your company, hon. Hoping that all’s well.

    1. Picture postcard England, Colline 🙂 🙂 There was one guy working on a roof, and a couple of people at the stables. I guess everyone else was at work in Thirsk or York. 🙂 Are you back at school yet?

    1. I was impressed with the craftsmanship too, Kate. It wasn’t obvious that it was a working business till I Googled it afterwards. Nice place to work! 🙂 I do like informative links. The prices at Mouseman’s nearly made me fall over. Just as well it wouldn’t go with my stuff. I’d rather like a stool though. Making the most of fading Summer here. Thanks for your company.

  13. Lovely pictures Jo – some of your best. How delightful that the village hall is so welcoming. I remember family holidays when I was young. My dad liked churches and we just turned up, opened the door and went inside. These days they are almost always locked!

    1. I meant to try the chapel in Boltby, Andrew, but it somehow got overlooked in favour of the hall. There were great displays of village history in there. Really a nice idea, and a lovely spot. Thank you very much! 🙂 🙂

  14. oh what a lovely stroll . . . . and just as I am looking at flights to Leeds either from Southampton or Faro as can’t make up my mind when to visit my friends! Can’t decide what I like best but the mice, wren and mosaics are all in the top three 🙂

    1. Such a peaceful bit of the world! I wanted to go over the moors to Rosedale but it’s still a bit busy with the schools off so this made a lovely alternative. Thanks for the tweet 🙂 🙂

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