MAXINE GORDON previews a stunning four-part series following remarkable folk who live and work in Yorkshire and the Lakes across four seasons

YORKSHIRE in all its glory is revealed in a new four-part series starting on TV on Monday.

The Yorkshire Dales and The Lakes: Season by Season, was filmed over a calendar year and will air on More4 on successive Mondays from 9pm-10-pm.

It is the fourth series of the popular programme and film makers have returned to the picturesque Dales and Lakes to follow a range of remarkable characters who live and work in England’s biggest expanse of protected countryside.

This series celebrates life in the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks across the four seasons, meeting real and engaging Yorkshire and Cumbrian folk.

Here's what to expect...


Life can be challenging in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, particularly during the colder months. But there’s brave folk out there who work hard whatever the weather, because they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

In Grasmere, in the Lake District, father and son shepherding team Peter and Robert Bland have worked Herdwick sheep all their lives. They’re heading up the fell, like they do every season, to gather their sheep. This time, the flock must be brought to the farm for pregnancy testing, to see how busy spring will be.

York Press:

Grasmere shepherds, the Blands

Not all journeys to school are equal. In Hawes in the rural Yorkshire Dales, the local bus service goes above and beyond to ensure all pupils get to school, no matter where they live.

For mountain runners Charlie Sproson and Paddy Cave, they can’t wait for winter conditions. After a perfect storm, snow has settled on Helvellyn – the third highest mountain in England. It’s time to get the ice axes and skis ready.

On Coniston Water, the Steam Yacht Gondola has graced the lake, ferrying tourists up and down, for generations. Every winter she receives some much-needed TLC. This time, she also requires new bespoke parts – and steam engineer Alex Sharphouse is the man for the job.

In Appletreewick in the Dales, pub landlord David Aynesworth has a special night up his sleeve. Along with friend Mick, he’s preparing the pub for the annual Ferret Racing championships.


Spring time is a time of new life – it’s a time where the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District flourishes. In this episode, folk across hill and dale work hard to ensure their landscape thrives.

In Grasmere, sheep farmers Peter and Robert Bland are marking up their new lambs, before setting them and their mothers free on the open fell.

On the Castle Bolton estate in the Dales, head gamekeeper Ian Sleightholm and his children offer a hand to bird ringer David Baines, as they capture and ring chicks no longer so common across the country. Because of Ian’s management of the moor, species such as the lapwing, curlew and merlin have found a haven.

York Press:

Head gamekeeper Ian Sleightholm

In Wensleydale, a private woodland has become a sanctuary for another rare British breed – the red squirrel. National Park conservation officer Ian Court comes every spring to check there are no grey invaders to this isolated oasis.

At the northernmost edge of the Dales, farmer Doug Barningham is used to extreme weather. But last year a huge storm devastated his farm, knocking down walls and destroying equipment. Now he is rebuilding, with help from his children.

Some trades still pass down through the family. In a woodland near Kendal, George Read and his son, Kevin, are now training up 20-year-old Saskia in the skill of horse logging.


In summer, working in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District is that little bit easier. It’s also a chance to stop, take stock and play in the beautiful landscape.

In Grasmere, shepherding father and son, Peter and Robert Bland, know there’s no rest for the wicked. They’ve brought their flock of Herdwick sheep down off the fell, for the annual shear.

For sport climber Naomi Buys, summer is the chance to climb places that at other times would be impossible. She heads to Gordale Scar near Malham, hoping to conquer a route that’s as difficult as it is coveted.

York Press:

Climber Naomi Buys

On the Swinton Estate in lower Wensleydale, bee farmers John and Michael Worsdale are making the most of the warmer months. They’re moving their hives to the summit of the moorland, to make a special honey from the late-blooming heather.

The throng of tourists can sometimes overwhelm Windermere, but local fisherman Peter Haslam knows where to go to find quieter waters. He rows out on his traditional boat, hand lining in hope of catching the elusive arctic charr.

And in Cracoe in the south of the Dales, the village team up for a late summer game of cricket. It’s only a friendly, but they must beat rivals Appletreewick if they’re to have bragging rights all winter.


In the Yorkshire Dales and the Lakes, autumn brings with it a technicolour spectacle. The trees redefine the landscape, with hues of amber and orange. It’s a time to reflect, to remember and to get the last tricky jobs done before winter sets in.

In the Lakes, shepherds Peter and Robert Bland head to market with their older draft ewes. The sale is their biggest pay-packet of the year. Everything depends on a good trade.

In the parish of Cracoe, Barbara Slater and her daughter Cathy remember Barbara’s father who fell in World War Two. She never met him, but his legacy lives on and he is remembered on a memorial like no other – high up on Cracoe Fell. This year, Cathy is taking her children on the annual walk in remembrance.

When the rains come in autumn, most might stay indoors. But for kayakers Sam Ellis and Simon Jackson, these conditions are perfect. They head out to the top of the River Swale – a stretch of rapids and waterfalls that only the most experienced can conquer.

York Press:

Kayakers on the River Swale

And in Windermere, local lads Angus Hosking and Declan Turner are using their skills as free divers to keep the lake bed clean. Tourists flocking to the largest lake over the summer months has left an unsightly reminder – litter.

The Yorkshire Dales and The Lakes: Season by Season from Monday on More4 at 9pm