It is said the British Isles account for three quarters of the world’s heather moorland so although not unique to these islands if there is a landscape that really has a ‘made in Britain’ stamp on it then this is it (because it is of course a ‘made’ ecology as most of the country was once wooded and wild and heather is very much a managed affair). I don’t know, therefore, why as a nation we don’t celebrate the flowering of the heather in August more, in the way perhaps that the japanese venerate the cherry blossom or even as folks here will exitedly announce their first snowdrop of late winter or bluebell of spring. Maybe we could get some of those hippy new age druid types up from Stonehenge to do a chant or something. I suppose it’s because the heather presages the coming of autumn, a great big fat purple reminder that summer’s over folks so better get sorting out your sweater drawer, and then there is the whole grouse shooting thing of course, but it is a real shame heather suffers from associations we make for it which are beyond its control, just being a woody shrub and all, because to me it’s a special time of the year even if nobody else feels the same.



  1. Human Cyclist

    I’m with you here. I was driving through the Dales yesterday and the purple heather was simply jaw dropping, amazing scenary. The sheer scale is something to behold, so too the depth on colour and contrast to the grey skies and lush green grass. I love the moors.

    • northernbike

      Hi HC, glad I’m not alone in my appreciation of the purple stuff! for so many in these parts this time of year is about going out and shooting stuff I worry about being a bit of an out of step hippy sometimes. hope you had a good trip to Yorkshire – was there any bikes involved or were you just passing through?

      • Human Cyclist

        Passing through. Bike was in car but I was oh so tempted to get it out and ride the roads. They looked special, although not sure about the new gravelly road surface. The remnants of the TdF were everywhere. Great too see. I’m on holiday in the lakes. So whilst bike is with me, I’ve sworn to rest… A little! Can’t resist these hills and views.

  2. fossilcyclist

    Feel much the same. Have been up & over the Lothian moors a bit recently. The colours have been superb & the beekeepers say they’ve been putting their hives out early as the flowers were earlier this year. Lovely on the less steep downhill bits – wee glimpses of the road every so often & time spent just looking around. Hardly see anyone up there, so maybe it’s a private pleasure?

    • northernbike

      Hi Fossil cyclist, heather fed bees make great honey in fact. LIke you it’s the peace and quiet of the moors that is a big thing for me- although there is quite a lot if activity right now with the summer holidayists and the shooting there are still plenty of wide open spaces where there really is bugger all going on

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