Welcome to the 'County of Broad Acres'
Yorkshire is the largest county in the United Kingdom, earning it the title 'County of Broad Acres'. In 1901, Yorkshire consisted of almost four million acres, as many as there are letters in the Bible, supposedly. Perhaps this gave rise to another of its nicknames – 'God's Own Country'.
Historically, the county was divided into three geographical areas, called Trithings, later corrupted into Ridings. The Ridings were named in respect of their position to the City of York and termed North, West and East respectively. However, the ridings were abolished in 1974 by the boundary commission, with large areas of Yorkshire lopped off into neighbouring counties and North Humberside was created to replace the East Riding. In 1996 North Humberside was reclaimed and returned to its former name as the East Riding of Yorkshire. Despite these changes, Yorkshire remains the largest county in the realm spanning 2.9 million acres.
The emblem of Yorkshire is the white rose, whose origins can be traced back to the fourteenth century. In 1385 Edmund of Langley, the first Duke of York, founded of the House of York as a cadet branch of the ruling House of Plantagenet. He chose the white rose, because in Christian liturgical symbolism, white is the symbol of light, typifying innocence and purity, joy and glory. During the Wars of the Roses 1455 to 1487 between the House's of Lancaster and York the white rose symbol was used by Yorkist supporters and a red rose was adopted by the Lancastrian's in the later years of the conflict
Unlike smaller, more compact counties which comprise most of their treasures within a limited area, Yorkshire is broad, sprawling and abundant in its offerings. With its wide-sweeping moorland, high fell-tops, deep valleys, lush meadows and pastures, every square mile of this beautiful county possesses remarkable delights. Its rivers begin as tiny trickles in the hills, but they waste no time in swelling out, tumbling over falls, and form into sizeable streams, before merging with other rivers sweeping - as most of them do - into the magnificent Humber.
The County of Broad Acres has a rich and eventful history to which countless monuments, ancient castles and abbeys, magnificent stately homes bear witness. These include the Minsters of York, Beverley and Ripon, Castle Howard, Harewood House, Nostell Priory, Helmsley Castle and many others. The list is vast – as is the County of Broad Acres. Her Master's Walks and Let's Walk are a series of books, which provide a glimpse into some of these features while enjoying the beautiful and diverse landscape.
Yorkshire is one of the most beautiful areas in Great Britain. Here, vast areas of the unspoiled countryside are protected by two National Parks and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust presently manages ninety-five sites across the county, and the RSPB administers several bird sanctuaries. Public footpaths and bridleways provide access to some of the best recreational walking and pony trekking in England. Other pastimes such as angling, caving, climbing, cycling and are also enjoyed regularly throughout the county.
Wherever you roam, the scenery delights, the variety of landscape includes limestone scars, steep-sided valleys, heather-clad moorland, swift flowing rivers and plunging waterfalls. The North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast is 36 miles long and stretches from Saltburn down to Scalby Mills near Scarborough.
Yorkshire has 2,300 scheduled ancient monuments and around 32,000 listed buildings. It has over 200 museums including the National Railway Museum in York, the National Coal Mining Museum for England in Wakefield and The National Media Museum in Bradford.