We have to admit that we love it when it snows here. It feels quite magical and gives a different perspective on our favourite walks.

The snow this week was the most we’ve had for some time and combined with bright blue skies and sunshine, it reminded us of skiing holidays that feel like a lifetime ago.

We’ve recently been trying out trekking poles on our walks; Ian was far from convinced, but after just one walk was a convert. They definitely help with our balance on rougher terrain, and we have both see the benefits on our joints the day after a long hike.

Given current restrictions, we feel even more grateful for the number of options of walks from the door. Every new route or walk we discover that we think guests will love, is recorded in our digital welcome guide. We appreciate trying to organise a large group on a walk can be challenging, so when you stay at the Long Barn, you’ll find plenty of options to chose from.

Walks in the snow have given us a greater appreciation of the wildlife around Appleton. This week we’ve spotted groups of hares beginning to gather together ahead of the breeding season. We now know the best fields to look out for them in and are hoping to see some mad march hares boxing in the spring.

After the recent snowstorms we’ve also been lucky to see barn owls hunting during the day. Their feathers aren’t waterproof, so when it’s wet, they have to shelter until the next dry spell. They are really distinctive in flight and at this time of year, they patrol around the hedges looking out for mice and voles.

Our best sighting this week was three roe deer crossing a field between us and Spaunton. We’d stopped to watch some hares a couple of fields away, and then realised that this family group were tentatively making their way across to woodland. There was one buck and two does; we’re hoping that we may see some fawns arrive in the spring.

When guests are able to return to stay at the Long Barn, if wildlife is something that interests you we are happy to share our local tips for what/where to look our for it.