A sure sign that spring is on its way is the appearance of ramsons (Wild Garlic). They are just starting to poke through and will soon carpet the woodland floor. Traditionally they were used as a spring green and were thought to be good for digestive problems. It was also said that rabbits would not cross a boundary planted with ramsons.

They can be picked and eaten raw or used as a herb. They are at their best before the flowers appears. Pick the leaf and leave the bulb, if you remove the bulb the plant will not return.

Ramsoms i

The Blood & Bones of the Land – Newtondale

My good friend Graeme Chappell and I took a walk up to the Newtondale Spring today. Graeme has been researching and cataloguing the holy wells and springs of Yorkshire for many years.

The spring is located at the foot of the crags on the northern edge of Newtondale. There is a path to the spring via Needle point which is partially blocked by fallen boulders. In the past a wooden platform was built at the spring but it is now in a state of disrepair. There is also an information board at the site.

The spring produces large volumes of water, the striking bright orange colour is caused by algae living in the mineral rich waters. As the spring water runs down the hillside it precipitates calcium carbonate which then solidifies to form a solid deposit known as tufa.