We can feel the arrival of autumn everywhere. There are hints of the colours to come in the countryside, greens turning to golds, oranges and russet browns. The heather on the moors has already turned purple, and the bracken will soon start to change.
Berries are starting to arrive in the hedgerows, along with rose hips and hazel nuts. Wild apple trees are groaning with fruit this year on the bridleways around the village. As you’d guess from our village’s name “Appleton le Moors” in days gone by it was famous for its orchards; fruit from the area was sent off to London when the railway came to Kirbymoorside.
Foraging begins in earnest from now on. We are already scouting out the best places for sloes for our sloe gin. One year we got some damsons from a neighbour that made the most delicious damson vodka; it’s a favourite winter tipple, especially when paired with a square (or two) of 70% dark chocolate. We’re keeping our eyes on the ripening elderberries as we plan to make elderberry and rosemary jelly this year; it’s perfect for a Sunday roast dinner, or for giving homemade gravy extra depth. It’s a recipe thanks to Izzy in Cumbria who is our guru on all things jelly and jam making. Her mantra of “don’t squeeze the bag” is much muttered at this time of year in the farmhouse.
Delicious earthy and comforting dishes start to appear on pub menus. Whether it’s delicious game at the Star at Harome or a pie at the Moors Inn, comfort eating starts here. The farm shops and weekly markets are full of fabulous local harvest produce.
It’s a great time to plan a trip out to the coast as well; drive over the Moors taking in the big skies, and head to one of the lovely fishing villages or beaches. We especially love the walk along the sandy beach from Sandsend to Whitby; in winter, it has a special magic and without the summer crowds.
There is a hint of wood smoke in the village air as house fires are lit and we all begin to hunker down. Misty mornings make for perfect walks, the woodland trees start to look spectacular as their autumnal tints arrive. Some of the most spectacular sunsets can be easily seen at this time of year. After sunset, on a clear moonless night, look up and you’ll see the Milky Way.
We think autumn is a fantastic time to visit the Long Barn and truly escape to the country. There are so many walks from the door; from woodland to rolling dales to moorland, each showing their autumnal changes and colours. Wrap up warm and you know you are coming back to the cosy Long Barn heated with the biomass boiler; use the changing season as the perfect excuse to light the log burner and relax. Or on a bright sunny day, wrap up with a throw from the barn and have a coffee in the courtyard – the grasses come into their own at this time of year
Try some of our home-made sloe gin from the welcome hamper. And check out our little honesty dresser in the West Barn….there might just be some elderberry and rosemary jelly to buy.