Country diary: a magic spot ready to be peopled with fays or gruffaloes

Sutton Bank, North Yorkshire: The ground is hummocky with moss and splotched with scarlet. I’ve never seen so many fly agarics in one place

I’ve just walked past a fingerpost directing walkers to “The Finest View in England”. This was the opinion of the writer and local vet James Herriot, and round here, that’s as good as gospel. On this blue dome morning, though, it’s a reasonable claim. I’m on the craggy rim of the North York Moors plateau, where the vast wall of Whitestone Cliff towers over the wooded escarpment of Sutton Bank, fiery with autumn colour. There’s blue in the looking-glass of Gormire lake, and far away, beyond the Vale of Mowbray and the eastern Dales, I can see the great knobbly whalebacks of the Pennines.

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