The small village of Lofthouse lies within Nidderdale, virtually untouched by the modern man and only ever visited by the off-chance camper and the ramblers that stumble across it by fortunate accident. The village is heavy with the knowledge of nature’s secrets that are desperate to remain hidden, until man eventually creeps into every last inch of the British countryside, eating away at its natural wonders and substituting its trees with unsightly, grey buildings. In the last 15 years, Lofthouse has scarcely altered since I first rested my eyes on it, aged 5. Several times a year for my entire childhood, I was brought to this emerald, undulating world, away from the city, away from the chaotic streets and the frenzied lives of metropolitan people. Its undulating hills carry whispers untold, caught up in a tumultuous wind and released into the streams at the peaks of the hills and mountains. Its patchwork quilt of greens, browns and colourless yellows are divided by old dry stone walls crumbling at the fear of being replaced by a modern alternative. Small white specks of fleece graze the fields, introspective of their older relatives in the sky, as the dreamy blank billows aimlessly drift around above. Blades of grass never once walked on breathe a sigh of relief as a group of hikers overhead set out in the other direction, debating where to stop for their tea break. Nature thrives here. Everything is effervescent, as bold in colour and as sharp in shape; as though a natural camera lens has been fitted to focus on every detail, with every angle and sight stimulating a gasp of wonder.
One shop and one pub is all that is necessary for those who reside here. Number 47 makes home-made ice cream and number 12 sells freshly farmed eggs; sell sufficiency in full swing. A solitary man sits on a stony peninsula that juts out into the river with just enough room for himself and his fishing rod, intensely watching his line for a bite while a natural clock sits behind him in the shape of his own shadow. The view for miles is reflective of the realism of freedom and need to explore. There are no rules here.
The faint smell of Mother Nature herself fills the air in the shape of hay bales, cut grass, and fresh manure… yet the views distract from any form of sensory discomfort.
The sun spits out a pinkish hue as the night struggles to encompass each hill and dale, only earning the right to do so once it releases its burning flecks of beauty that glitter across the sky, proud in their successful mission to shine, without having to battle against the intense glow of city lights.
Each day is a different day. The same scenery can be admired time and time again; a ground-hog day here would be ecstasy as the eyes feast on new perspectives, colours and angles. This place is my small haven. Whenever I get the chance, I go back to Lofthouse, realising the grandeur of its influence upon me. I appreciate the beauty of nature; I value silence, rest and peace. Why the human race would even contemplate ruining natures very own gift of beauty is something that will always be beyond me, and the frightening reality that in just 50 years time, my own grandchildren may not be able to experience this place is frankly incomprehensible. Everything is beautiful here.
About the Author: My name is Elissa Parker and I am 20 years old. I study French and English at the University of Leicester. I am currently on my year abroad teaching English in the north of France. While I am in mainland Europe, I am trying to visit as many countries as possible!