Every year, 40,000 people descend on Farndale, a remote North Yorkshire location at the end of March. Is it for a trendy, under-the-radar springtime music festival? Or perhaps an arts event? No: amazingly, hoards of people go to see the delightful daffodils of Farndale, whose burst into colour traditionally signals the start of spring in this part of the UK. The visitors don’t arrive all at once of course, though tens of thousands of people passing through the bucolic Dale in a few short weeks of flowering is challenge enough.
More to the point, these aren’t just any
old daffs, but true, native, wild ones that thrive on the river banks and
meadows and across the dappled woodlands of gorgeous Farndale. They are
smaller, paler and more petite than the bunches of flowers you see in supermarkets,
florists or even your own back garden: Narcissus
pseudonarcissus, if you want the technical term – sometimes known as the
‘Lenten Lily’ after the time of year (mid-March) that it usually starts to flower.
The sight is a dramatic one – carpets of
yellow stretched right the way along the course of the gentle River Dove. A
well-signposted path from the hamlet of Low Mill takes you on a wonderful
riverside daffodil walk, up as far as the pub at Church Houses – say around
three miles there and back, and a couple of hours of your time depending on how
many photographs you stop to take.
Photos, incidentally, are all you’re asked to take. Picking them is a strict no-no, as the Farndale daffs are protected by a local bylaw. They’ve grown there for centuries, and caring for them should keep them safe for many years longer yet.
Depending on the weather (sometimes unseasonably cold), the daffodils can be a bit late. But Rangers from the North York Moors National Park are already in place at Low Mill at weekends. Now all you need to do is take a walk Where the Wild Daffs Are.
Pictures are courtesy of Shock the Senses and Catriona Mclees.
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