The Importance of sheep on the moors
Visitors renting our dog-friendly North York Moors cottages do so to explore on foot, cycle, or horseback, over 1,400 miles of heather moorland, woodland and forest. The fantastic landscapes, fabulous hues of the different heathers, abundant wildlife, birdlife, and a feel of being at one with nature, draws thousands of visitors a year. But the moors haven’t always been like this.
It takes a lot of hard work to keep the moors looking as they do. And much of that work is carried out by the thousands of sheep you see roaming the uplands and heaths. Living on the vegetation which would otherwise thrive and choke out the heathers, they play a fundamental part in keeping the North York Moors in tip-top condition for everyone to enjoy. However, from the 1st of July until the end of August, a new variety of sheep will be helping the National Parks Authority.
To encourage visitors to venture a little further, and explore the 26 miles of coastal paths and walkways that border the North Sea, a flock of a rather different sheep will appear. They could be placed close to pathways which, hundreds of years ago, were used to move domestic animals or smuggled goods, from inland areas to the coast.
With the help of local traders, schools and colleges, the ‘Sea-the-Sheep’ project is hoping to have a flock of over 50 sheep constructed with a seaside theme. They may be 6” high, knitted sheep made by granny, or 3’ high papier mâché models constructed by a school. They could be carrying a bucket and spade. They could be wearing a bikini, or be made of seashells. They could be anywhere. Along the cycling and walking trails, bridleways, village shops, local hostelries gardens, and even the scenic railways. Once spotted, the kids can upload details and photos to their favourite social media platform using the hashtag, #SeatheSheep.
The beautiful North York Moors Coast
If you’ve already stayed in one of our cottages in Whitby, you’ll know this iconic seaside town evokes memories of the way people enjoyed holidays back in the 1950s and 60s. The coastal expanse is crammed with so many different things to do in the North York Moors. You can explore old smugglers coves and visit quaint fishing villages such as Cloughton or Saltburn, with their narrow winding streets and fisherman’s cottages. The whole area is steeped in a history of rustling, shipwrecks and smugglers exploits.
Even so, an equally enjoyable day can be had away from the coast, following the old routes back onto the moors. Get the kids involved in the sheep hunt, while you look out for hawks and grouse, badger and deer. Visit the many old monasteries, abbeys, castle ruins and country houses. Rest your feet or park up your cycle, and enjoy a traditional English pub lunch in one of the many old country inns. With all those seaside themed sheep to discover along the route, the kids will love a day away from the beaches.
So, whether you’re staying in one of our North York Moors cottages, or one of our pet-friendly cottages in Whitby, wherever you spend a day, you will never be far from one of the North York Moors flock of virtual sheep, waiting quietly to become the centre of your attention. Further details can be found on northyorkmoors.org.uk/visiting/whats-on/events-in-july.