Goodbye SAD, hello longer days, lighter nights and much, much warmer weather. T-shirt and flip-flop weather here in Yorkshire, to be specific.
After months of the depressing sight of brown, leafless trees and mush for ground, the Earth is finally reawakening, bringing back colour, lush green grass, and a seasonal favourite of ours: cherry blossom. After all, it’s a budding photographer’s best friend in spring.
The stunning trees pop up in all corners of Yorkshire this time of year, but there’s one place in particular that hosts them best: The Stray in Harrogate.
A perfectly pruned park in the gorgeous, historic town of Harrogate, The Stray is home to an ‘avenue’ of cherry blossom trees, which line the path through a section of the park making for stunning photo-opps. Like a little slice of Japan in Yorkshire, the trees form a natural archway that you can potter underneath, making for a beautiful bit of scenery for all who visit.
In the spring months, the avenue pops with candyfloss pinks, while the edges of the path gather a sprinkling of the pretty petals, and other areas of the park become dotted with the happy yellow of daffodils and the striking violet of crocuses.
In addition to the blossoms, The Stray boasts 200 acres of well-groomed parkland, conveniently situated in the heart of the up-market spa town. Naturally, the park lends itself well to picnics and events, however, it’s surrounded by incredible independent coffee shops, restaurants and shops – making it a great spot for a wholesome stroll before doing a spot of shopping.
The gorgeous park dates back to the 1700s and is owned by the Duchy of Lancaster, who transformed it from its Forest of Knaresborough origins, to an enclosed piece of land that the public could use to walk and to exercise, while also providing access to Harrogate’s famous mineral springs. The land also had grazing rights, allowing animals to stray freely – which is also how it coined its name ‘The Stray’.
Today, The Stray remains protected by a number of Acts of Parliament, ensuring it remains beautifully preserved for years to come, with bye-laws written in that strictly determine how the space can be used.
The park is open to the public daily, and will likely be adorned in cherry blossom until early May.
[Featured image: Public Domain Pictures]