Lastingham circular walk

Lockdown has made us appreciate even more the walks that are on our doorstep.

This week, whilst the USA was in turmoil, and our next 4 weeks of lockdown were imminent, we escaped to another great walk we’ve recently reacquainted ourselves with.

It starts from Lastingham, so you can either walk there from Appleton, or drive to Lastingham and park in the village. If you drive, our tip is to follow signs for the Lastingham Grange Hotel, and park on the road leading up to the moors.

The walk is another circular one and takes in some gorgeous “big sky” North York Moors views. It’s about 5 miles (add in another 4 miles if you walk there and back from Appleton)

It’s a good walk to do after it’s been wet, as apart from a couple of places, the tracks and path stay pretty dry. There is a gradual climb up to Ana Cross, which marks a medieval route way across the moor between Lastingham and the site of Rosedale Priory. The current cross dates to 1949 when the original medieval cross was removed to the crypt of Lastingham Church.

We love this walk. When the weather is clear, the views are wonderful, especially looking west from Ana Cross towards Sutton Bank.

Listen out for red grouse, as you’ll hear them before you see them. Their call sounds like “go-back, back, back” and then you’ll probably see their whirring wings as they then glide to cover in the heather.

We timed this walk last week so that the sun was setting as we headed back down to Lastingham; the colours were just gorgeous. In more normal times, we recommend a beer at the Blacksmiths Arms in front of the fire, before heading back to Appleton.

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The Rollercoaster Continues

As we all head into another lockdown, looking ahead to the next few months is challenging to say the least. The Long Barn has effectively been closed since the introduction of the rule of 6 and is now formally closed until the national lock down is eased.

The positive news is that we’ve never been busier for 2021, and when our guests are finally able to visit in large groups, boy is there going to be some celebrating to catch up on!

We are going to continue to blog each week on subjects that will hopefully lift your spirits and help us all look forward to more positive times. We’ll update you on village life and what’s happening as part of our own nature watch in the North York Moors. We’ll share our tips for hosting large groups, and also some of our favourite recipes. Finally, we’ll keep you posted on the updates planned for the Long Barn, including the masses of bulbs that Jackie will be planting shortly in the courtyard.

We are also keen to promote some of our amazing local businesses in the hope that we can encourage you to support some now (for Christmas shopping) and others that you may like to use when you stay with us in the future.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for more daily news. Or subscribe to our bimonthly news letter for other news and any special deals.  

Take care everyone.

Ian and Jackie

The Florist North Yorkshire

 We like to support local businesses and this has become even more of a focus since COVID 19 hit. We believe we are so lucky that we have fantastic producers and small businesses close by and we want to support as many as we can to make sure they are all here for some time to come.
We have recently discovered Beth Dixon who runs The Florist North Yorkshire. Beth has loved all things flowers since she was a little girl and her first step down her professional road was to design the flowers for her own wedding a couple of years ago. She had a dream about setting up a floristry business which she turned into reality during the lock down by taking a floristry course.
She runs her business from the potting shed of her parents home in Sinnington, which is a pretty little village just 40 minutes walk down the hill from The Long Barn. Everything she sells she has made up herself and she also personalises every order.
Many of our guests are celebrating some special time when they are staying here, so why not get in touch with Beth and she can make up and deliver a bouquet for you.
Her ultimate dream is to grow her grow her own flowers, watch this space.

Eta, our biomass boiler

One of our favourite parts of Autumn is a bracing walk and then returning home to a toasty house to warm up, lighting a fire, and hunkering down. And with everything that’s happening in the world at the moment, we suspect that similar nesting instincts will be keeping a lot of people going over the coming months.


There were many big decisions when renovating the Long Barn and one was how we’d heat the building, as well as have sufficient hot water for big groups of people, all wanting to shower at the same time. We’d stayed away in places before with friends and been on the receiving end of erratic water pressure, and even worse, hot water running out completely. We also remember a stay in Staithes in a wonderful but freezing fisherman’s cottage. Every time more than one fan heater was plugged in, the power tripped and we were plunged into cold darkness. Only our British grit and copious quantities of red wine made us decide to stay rather than just drive home.



After much research into boilers and high pressure systems which Ian loves (he should have been an engineer) and Jackie feigns interest in, Eta our Biomass boiler was chosen and ordered. It meant the conversion of the pig pens opposite the Long Barn, something we hadn’t bargained on. Suddenly we were having to measure out the spaces for a pellet store, huge water storage tanks and the boiler itself. These buildings were mainly derelict and one of the internal doorways was propped up to stop the roof falling in. We then had to dig trenches across the courtyard to put in the super insulated pipes to get hot water across the whole site. Ian’s mum Jean had lent us the money to buy the boiler and so it was only fitting that she should be the one to cut the ribbon at the official opening of the boiler rooms.



Biomass is a green energy, wood is grown specifically to make the pellets, as the trees grow they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The wood is ground in to sawdust which is compressed to form the pellets, the natural oils hold them together. We get pellets delivered by tanker and can take up to 10 tonnes at a time. Its all connected to the internet and if the boiler is unhappy about anything it sends us an e-mail. We can then log in to the system on an iPad anywhere in the world.

Whilst the whole system cost an eye watering amount, we haven’t regretted it once. Constant hot water and toasty central heating for the whole site at the touch of a button means the perfect heating for guests. We also installed a Swedish Morso wood burner in the living room  – if we are honest, more to add to the feeling of hygge  and cosiness than to heat the room. And with a glass of sloe gin, and your PJs on, it’s the perfect space to relax in.

Bramble Foraging

Autumn is the time for foraging, and we’ve recently turned our attention to the brambles which are appearing in all the hedgerows near the Long Barn. They will keep ripening for some time yet, so it’s worth picking them if you find them, and keep an eye open for when the next crop is due. We keep a couple of bags in our pockets whenever we go on a walk so we can collect the best ones we come across. 

We are never quite organised enough to remember to take gloves, but brave the scratches and nettle stings to harvest them; all because we have the best recipe ever for a delicious bramble mousse, courtesy of Ian’s late mum, Jean. And here it is:-

Each bag of brambles we get is turned into bramble puree which if we aren’t using straight away, we freeze. First rinse the brambles, and pick out any leaves, then cook in a saucepan until soft with 2 tablespoons of caster sugar per 500g brambles. It takes about 30 minutes or so, until the brambles are soft. We then use a stick blender to puree it down to a purple slush, and then sieve it to get rid of any pips etc.

Jean’s recipe uses 180 ml puree with extra for serving, so we work on a generous 350 ml in total, this should give you four good portions of dessert.

Next, whisk 3 eggs with 85g caster sugar over hot water, until it’s thick and creamy. Jean’s strict test is wait until the mixture will leave a ribbon you can see for 1 minute.

The gelatine she used was the packet variety, and we have to admit this is when this recipe is a bit trial and error. We suggest 9g of gelatine which is dissolved in hot water and lemon juice. While this dissolves, lightly whip 140 ml double cream.

Now’s the time to combine everything, and Jean’s recipe suggests that it is folded in gently and stirred until combined. So, add 180ml of the puree and the cream gently, fold in carefully then stir over ice until it thickens. If you miss out the thickening over ice stage you run the risk of the gelatine clumping and forming lumps in your mousse. Then either split into individual glasses or one large serving dish. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, and then serve with the puree and some extra cream. It really is delicious.