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By the standards of his time, Sir Charles Waterton was a most unusual man. Naturalist, explorer, conservationist and author– his passion for nature and travel took him from his home, Walton Hall in Yorkshire, to Europe and the Americas. In addition, as a pioneer environmentalist, he fought one of the earliest battles against industrial pollution.
Gone Back to the Sea
“The town of Ravenser Odd was an extremely famous borough, devoted to merchandise with many fisheries and the most abundantly provided with ships and burgesses of all the boroughs of that coast. But yet, by all its wicked deeds and especially wrong-doings on the sea, and by its evil actions and predations, it provoked the vengeance of God upon itself beyond measure.”
Such was the verdict of the Chronicler of Meaux Abbey in the mid-14th century when documenting the destruction of the town.
The Corpse Way
The tiny village of Keld in Swaledale, Yorkshire is the starting point for a fascinating journey along an ancient track which leads through rugged and wildly beautiful scenery to finish in the peaceful churchyard at Grinton, twelve miles further down the dale.
Keld itself was a Viking settlement, later to develop into an important centre of industry as the Swaledale lead mining industry flourished. But it has long since reverted to its more pastoral self. The village is a high huddle of grey stone cottages enveloped by green tumescent fells. A little distance from the village centre is the start of the old road bearing left off the modern one.