Summer Wildlife of the Western Yorkshire Dales
View wildlife in a range of Yorkshire’s habitats
Code: SDWWSPrint page
Hills & moorland
Thorns Hall is well situated for discovering the Summer wildlife of England's North West as you visit the western Dales, the southern Lake District and the Arnside/Silverdale AONB. In this varied holiday we sample a little bit of each, to see limestone flowers, butterflies, dragonflies and of course the birds too, all in some very beautiful scenery.
- Each day enjoy a leisurely walk with plenty of stops to see birds and wildlife
- Our expert leader will guide you round the best sites
- A relaxed and informative way of enjoying the great outdoors
- Full-board en-suite accommodation
- Full programme of excursions and visits
- All essential transport
- Admissions to places of interest
- Small, sociable groups of up to 15 guests
Thorns Hall established a foundation in Sedbergh in 1535 and it still retains its historic charm with wood-panelled rooms, fireplaces and a cobbled courtyard outside. It's an amazing house to visit all year round with a lush garden and magnificent hills nearby.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:
Only an extra £20 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Due to the layout and the age of Thorns Hall, it is not recommended for wheelchair users and guests with restricted mobility.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better & best rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea.
Each day we’ll spend most of the day outdoors enjoying walks of up to 6 miles (10km) with plenty of stops to watch the wildlife and listen to the birds.
On your arrival day, there will be the opportunity to take a walk around Thorns Hall to find the wildlife right on our doorstep.
Along the Railway Line
On our first day out of the house, we'll be visiting two Cumbrian reserves recently linked by a new path, following disused railway lines, taking us through dramatic cuttings and over a magnificent viaduct. The area is known for butterflies and wildflowers, such as Fly Orchids, and is of great geological interest.
Leighton Moss & Eric Morecambe Hide
Our trip today will take us to the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss - home to all kinds of wildfowl - including Redshank, Oyster Catcher and Black-tailed Godwit. Avocets, Marsh Harrier and Water Rail are all commonly seen. The extensive reed beds are home to Bearded Tit and Bittern - we hope to hear the Bitterns even if we can't see them! We will also visit a nearby part of the reserve closer to the coast which has a saltmarsh habitat. This area is dedicated to Eric Morecambe who was a keen bird watcher; there is a hide named after him.
Exploring Limestone Pavements
Today, we will head south to areas of hilltop limestone pavement which provides habitat for a range of species due to the contrasting flat, dry, exposed parts (clints) and the damp, shaded cracks which lie between them (grikes). We will go in search of botanical rarities such as the beautiful dark Red Helleborines - a species or orchid and the rigid buckler fern. We should be able to spot Hart's Tongue Fern, Green Spleenwort, Common Rockrose and Holly Fern.
The habitat also supports a number of bird species including Yellow Hammers and Skylarks which are unfortunately in decline. Butterflies are also frequent on the reserve including the rare Northern Brown Argus and the White Letter Hairstreak. Later in the day we will head to another limestone ridge with Yew woods and views over the Lake District.
Please note: Limestone pavement can be dangerous when wet; if heavy rain is forecast we may visit an alternative site such as Gait Barrows.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast.
The itinerary for this holiday will be announced soon.
What to bring
- Outdoor clothing appropriate to the season, including waterproofs
- Strong, comfortable footwear with a good tread is essential
- A telescope (if you have one) and binoculars (essential)
- Thermos flask (optional)
- Recommended field guides (optional) - Wildguides British Butterflies; either the Wildflower Key (Francis Rose) or Collins Pocket Guide (Fitter, Fitter and Blamey); and The New Mitchell Beazley Birdwatcher’s Pocket Guide (lightweight) or Collins Bird Guide (heavier).
Discover the Lakes and Dales
Sedbergh sits at the foot of the Howgill Fells, a peaceful corner of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The centre of Sedbergh is just a few minutes walk from Thorns Hall. The town has a range of facilities including a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and a bank. Now famed as England’s ‘book town’, Sedbergh has many second-hand book shops and a good range of pubs and cafés. A wider range of facilities are available in the larger town of Kendal, about 10 miles away.
During your visit to Thorns Hall you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
Situated near Kendal, about 25 minutes' drive from Sedbergh. Sizergh Castle is a fine medieval house, surrounded by beautiful gardens. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sizergh
Visit this stately home, famous for its magnificent formal garden and its topiary displays. Levens Hall is south of Kendal, about 30 minutes' drive from Sedbergh. www.levenshall.co.uk
Settle to Carlisle Railway
Ride England’s most scenic railway through the Yorkshire Dales from Garsdale station, about 10 miles from Sedbergh. Heading south you could cross the famous Ribblehead viaduct and visit Settle, Skipton and Saltaire. Heading north you could head to the small market town of Appleby, or the border city of Carlisle. www.settle-carlisle.co.uk
Hawes & Wensleydale
A 30 minute drive through the Yorkshire Dales will take you to the small town of Hawes. Visit the famous creamery that produces Wensleydale Cheese. You may want to continue through the valley of Wensleydale, well known as the setting for All Creatures Great & Small. www.wensleydale.co.uk
The market town of Kendal, about 20 minutes' drive from Thorns Hall has a good range of specialist shops.The excellent Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry is also worth a visit. www.lakelandmuseum.org.uk
A 40 minute drive will take you to Lake Windermere, gateway to exploring the beautiful scenery of the Lake District National Park. Here you could take a steamer trip on the lake, or visit the visitors centre at Brockhole. www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk or www.brockhole.co.uk
Travel to Thorns Hall
Our address is: Thorns Hall, Cautley Road, Sedbergh, Cumbria, LA10 5LE
The nearest train station is Oxenholme, the Lake District, on the main line between London and Glasgow. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
HF station transfer - great value!
Our station transfer operates between Oxenholme railway station and Thorns Hall every Saturday and Tuesday (Friday and Monday in the low season). The pickup is at 4.30pm from Oxenholme station. On departure day the transfer will get you back to Oxenholme station by 10.00am. The transfer is £18 return, but a place must be reserved at least 14 days in advance by calling our Reservations team on 020 8732 1220.
If you can’t meet our station transfer, the 10 mile journey from Oxenholme station to Thorns Hall can be made by taxi. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £27 for a 4 seat taxi per journey. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Thorns Hall Manager.
Leave the M6 at junction 37 and follow the A684 eat for 5 miles to Sedbergh. On reaching Sedbergh follow the road round to the right into Finkle Street (avoiding the main street), then almost immediately turn left at a small roundabout into Back Lane. At the next mini-roundabout bear left onto the A683 following signs to Kirkby Stephen. Thorns Hall is a further 100 yards along the road on the left. Look out for our sign. A car park is available in the grounds with free parking.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests the most convenient option is to book a flight to Manchester Airport. There are direct trains every hour from Manchester Airport to Oxenholme - this is straightforward journey - allow 1½ hours to Oxenholme. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
From Oxenholme station you can complete the journey to Sedbergh using our transfer or by taxi (see above).
Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but has a longer onward train journey - allow at least 4 hours to reach Oxenholme. From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. Next take the Underground train to London Euston. Finally the main line train from London Euston to Oxenholme takes 2½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Russell is an experienced nature tour guide and has a great passion for all sorts of wildlife. After studying Animal Conservation at University, he was keen to offer relaxed and informative outdoor experiences that would bring people closer to the natural world. Following work as an Education Officer and Head of Education at a local animal centre and Blackpool Zoo, he now works in and around the North West running nature tours in a wide range of habitats, each with a unique cast of characters to enjoy.
Russell is an excellent leader. He is very knowledgeable on all aspects of the natural world. He knew the island and the exact areas where we were likely to find certain species. Russell was very professional, well organised and good company.
Kevin is a retired science teacher living in North Wales. He has kept bees for over thirty years and is a keen amateur naturalist, geologist and bird watcher. He has been leading for HF Holidays since 2002.
Kevin shared his extensive knowledge of the natural world, was considerate to all in the group whatever their capabilities. Provided extensive lists of all things encountered on our walks - Excellent!