The flowering of the Lady’s Slipper orchid is a special bookmark of the natural year here at Kilnsey Park Estate, alongside the arrival of swallows and the migration of the curlews.
The orchid usually flowers in late May to early June, so it seems like the relatively warm dry weather of the past few weeks has brought them into flower earlier than usual.
Wild About Orchids month runs from Sunday 14th May to Sunday 18th June, which is the best time to see the wide range of orchids and wildflowers on the reserve. You can view the Lady’s Slipper orchid from the roped walk at any time, or join one of our guided wildflower walks on the following days:
Sunday 21 May – 2.30pm
Sunday 4 June – 2.30pm
Sunday 18 June – 2.30pm
The guided walks are led by Jamie who looks after the nature reserve. You will get to learn what’s special about Kilnsey Flush and the stories behind some of the different wildflowers – as well as meeting the star of the show, the Lady’s Slipper orchid and hearing its incredible tale of decline and recovery.
TV personalities Larry and George Lamb visited Kilnsey Park this week to learn how to catch and cook the freshest fish in the country. The father and son duo, who are making a new travel series for Channel 5, learnt about what makes our Kilnsey trout so special from Jamie Roberts before Dad Anthony taught them the art of fly fishing.
We are delighted that George caught a fine rainbow trout with virtually his first cast, and Larry was soon fishing like a pro despite having not touched a fishing rod for over 50 years. They both had a great time perfecting their back cast and learning how to pick the ideal fly.
Larry and George rounded off their action-packed day at Kilnsey Park by throwing their freshly caught fish on the bbq and having a relaxing picnic on the lakeside in the late afternoon sun.
This is what we’re all about at Kilnsey Park – turn up having never fished before, experience the thrill of catching your first fish, then pop it on the bbq for the freshest most delicious melt in the mouth meal you can imagine.
If you’re thinking of something special for the Dad in your life, there are still a few places left on our Father’s Day Catch & Cook on Sunday 18th June – details in the Events section of the website.
The main 2017 events are now on the website in the Events section – with lots more being added in the next few weeks!
Our event season kicks off with Easter in the Dales (8-23 April), before we get the buzz with Life is Sweet (29 April -1 May). Flowers start to bloom with our Wild About Orchids month (14 May – 18 June) and then the little ones will be swapping Minecraft for bushcraft as we get back to nature during Go Wild Week (27 May – 4 June) and at Wild Weekends throughout the summer holidays (29 July – 28 August).
We’ve got lots of exciting new events this year, including Alpaca Picnics where you can go for a lovely woodland stroll and picnic with our alpacas, Catch & Cook days where you can catch a fish before we prepare it and cook it for you in the cafe (we call this ‘instant fish & chips’!) and new Family Bushcraft Days. Dates for these new events will be posted in March.
Out in the woods the Discovery Trail will be relaunching with a new guide map, new information signage and a new seasonal Geocache Trail which will have the little ones hunting the nature trail for clues. We’re also creating a new fun Waterplay Area which will be up and running for Easter.
This year there will be a new online ticketing system for some of our events so you can pre-book, but for the main events you’ll still be able to turn up and pay on the day.
So there’s lots of new reasons to come up to Kilnsey Park Estate this year and get closer to nature.
Photos by Anna Lilleengen
We have a great new art exhibition in the cafe: evocative black and white photos by Swedish-born photographer Anna Lilleengen. The two series – called ‘Tales from the Forest’ and ‘Metamorphosis Series 1’ – include photographs made using techniques and processes traditional to the early days of photography in the nineteenth century. Each photograph is handcrafted from start to finish.
The photos are available to buy and can be enjoyed on the walls of the cafe until Spring 2016.
About ‘Tales from the Forest’
In the ‘Tales from the Forest’ series, we see photographs made using techniques and processes traditional to the early days of photography in the nineteenth century. Using an antique plate camera and lens that date back to the 1870s and 1860s respectively, Anna Lilleengen uses photographic techniques that are almost obsolete and handcrafts her photographs from start to finish.
Each photograph is unique, displaying evidence of time passing in its individual markings. For example, an image may show a light shaft entering in through the antique plate holder where a crack has emerged in the wood or it may show the scratches where the plate holder has indented into the surface of the negative, carrying the dried remains of chemicals used in this camera in the Victorian era.
These markings are testament to the individual nature of each photograph; the authenticity of this handcrafted process. For this reason they are purposefully included; not edited out or rejected.
In an era of copy and paste it takes a revision of how we look at images in order to appreciate each picture as a one-off. There has been a resurgence of interest recently in alternative processes. Aspects of the Pictorialist movement can be seen in Lilleengen’s work, which draws inspiration from the wet plate collodion techniques of, amongst others, the US photographer Sally Mann.
The deep forests of Värmland, Sweden are a place where growing up Anna Lilleengen has spent time, so is a natural setting for her work. Here the forests are reclaiming their elemental status as people move out and ‘the Wild’ (wolves, lynx, bears) moves back in.
Exploring the ambivalent nature of our experience of the forest, Lilleengen invites us to join her on a journey through the dark depths of the elemental forest. A place where fairytale and imagination may play against our rational sense of what to expect. Lilleengen creates work that requires you to look closer, reflect and navigate your own way through the darkness of the forest.
About ‘Metamorphosis Series 1’ (2013)
This series, taken at sunset in Norway in late summer, aims to explore a sense of movement and the possibility for change. The recurrent visual theme in Metamorphosis, Series 1 is the water lily, or lotus flower, used in many cultures to symbolise the potential for cleansing and purity. It grows from the peat and stretches up through water to reach the surface as a ‘thousand-petalled’ flower.
The flower itself is not visible in any of the images; we instead see evidence of the leaves (lily pads) on the water, or flattened onto the peat. These represent the promise of change – of evolving.
The images show a movement from darkness and entanglement to levity and light. Towards the end of the series there is an abstraction of this imagery, and left are just layers of colour and light/shade on the image.
The photographs are taken on 120 medium format film with a 1937 Zeiss Ikon camera and are not computer manipulated. The technique of manually double-exposing images in-camera (i.e. not in post-production) creates a layered effect that suggests movement, texture and depth.
Kilnsey Park Estate has become the latest business in the Yorkshire Dales National Park to sponsor a feeder set up at a special red squirrel viewpoint at Snaizeholme, near Hawes.
The viewing area lies in the heart of the Widdale Red Squirrel Reserve and was created by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and the local landowner to allow people to watch the animals as they feed in their natural habitat.
Kathryn Storey, the National Park Authority’s Tourism Officer, said: “Since we launched the sponsorship project last December we have had a fantastic response from local entrepreneurs who want to help preserve this endangered species.
“All it takes is a £50 donation, which pays for food for a month. In return, the sponsors are listed on our website at http://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/squirrel-trail and they receive a certificate to display in their businesses.
“National Red Squirrel week runs from September 28 to October 4 and we are hoping it will capture people’s interest enough that they will want to visit the viewing area and see these fantastic creatures in the wild up close.”
Kilnsey Park Estate managing partner Jamie Roberts said: “We’re delighted to sponsor the feeder at the viewpoint because we have been a long-time supporter of red squirrels.
“Visitors have been able to see and learn about red squirrels as part of Kilnsey Park Estate’s captive red squirrel breeding programme, which ensures that the gene pool of red squirrels is as large as possible, hopefully ensuring that they will never become extinct.
“Red squirrels from the project have already been reintroduced to places where they will be safe from greys, including islands off mainland Britain.
Kilnsey Park wins Great Taste Awards for its Smoked Duck and Trout
The world’s most coveted blind-tasted food awards, Great Taste, has just released the Great Taste stars of 2015 and Kilnsey Park Estate is celebrating winning two awards. We won the coveted gold three stars for our Smoked Duck Breast and also gained a gold award for ourr Cold Smoked Trout. These smoked products will now be able to proudly carry the gold and black Great Taste logo.
The Yorkshire Dales family run business was against some tough competition – there were over 10,000 entries to the awards, which were judged by over 400 of the most demanding food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs, producers and a host of food writers and journalists. Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers.
Jamie Roberts, Managing Partner at Kilnsey Park Estate is delighted: “We are ecstatic at winning this award, just as we’re about to announce our plans to expand our range of smoked products. Many visitors come to Kilnsey Park to enjoy nature and fishing in our lakes, followed by a meal or snack in the restaurant – including fresh produce from our smokehouse. We’re now planning to increase our range of smoked products and make them available to a wider audience. They’re all smoked here at Kilnsey, using traditional techniques and recipes that date back hundreds of years”.
The judges commented: “The Kilnsey Park Estate smoked duck breast is moist and gives a very delicate smoke in the mouth. We found this to be a soft and gentle delight worthy of an award. Flavours come through in waves almost dancing with each other! The cold smoked trout has an attractive glazed appearance, a delicate flavour and is lightly smoked”.
Out of 10,000 Great Taste entries this year, only 130 (1%) have been awarded the three star award – including Kilnsey Park Estate’s smoked duck breast. The panel of judges included Masterchef judge and restaurant critic Charles Campion, TV presenter and cook Aggie Mackenzie, Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn, Masterchef the Professionals finalist Adam Handling, food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, and chefs.
The Holy Smokery will be launching in October 2015. A new range of premium smoked foods from the Yorkshire Dales will be available from www.holysmokery.net .