"Ings"

~ Norse word for water meadows and marshes

Visiting the Yorkshire Ings will introduce you to a whole new vocabulary as you get to know this fascinating wetland world which offered abundance to our ancestors down the ages. 'Askers', 'ellers' and 'carrs' await as you explore the rich heritage of this unique area of Britain.

Farmers were often separated from their pastures by waterways - this is the North Hills Haybridge, providing a way out of the Ings for the haycrop.

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History leaves its mark

The central feature of the area is the broad river Derwent, snaking through its flood meadows, bringing fertility and providing transport for people for over 1000 years.

The vikings left us with their words, the prosperous, religious medieval period bequeathed a variety of beautiful castles and churches to us and the evidence of the intensification of agriculture in the industrial revolution remains in traditional farmsteads, bridges and the Pocklington Canal.

Our Asker

This Aske, or newt, was carved into Aughton church hundreds of years ago - it is ancient graffiti! The Asker was the emblem of the powerful local Aske family, brought low after beginning the Pilgrimage of Grace, rising up in rebellion against Henry VIII's reforms of the catholic church. This innocuous wetland creature is also the ideal emblem for the Ings, quietly surviving, undisturbed, throughout the centuries.

Flower, Feast, Flood.

Farming Unchanged by the Centuries

The march of progress has largely been kept in check in the valley by the frequency of the flooding from the river. The floodplain provides a predictable place for the river to "rageth and overfloweth" as described by XXXX in XXXX but upon that floodplain, nothing permanent can exist and crops would simply wash away. Livestock is the only use for it and the ancient system of 'flower, feast and flood' is still in place today.

In the first part of the year the grass must grow and with it come the wildflowers. Once the swards are mature, the traditional hay crop is taken and the stock brought in to graze upon the lush 'aftermath'. In winter, all must dodge or withstand the floods, ready for another cycle the following year.

Surrounding stockmen used to purchase 'beastgates', the right for one 'beast' (cow) to graze the ings and still today farmers let the land for cattle and sheep while groups of ancient, endangered exmoor ponies roam the valley.

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