An insider's view: Jamie Roberts - Kilnsey Park
Can you tell us a little about your job and how you came to be doing it?
I run Kilnsey Park a few miles from Grassington and Kettlewell with my wife, Amy. It's a rural estate, visitor attraction and fish farm in the Yorkshire Dales. I took over from my Dad when he retired in 2011.
Before that I worked as a conservationist on the remote island of St Helena in the South Atlantic.
What aspect of your job and the place where you work makes you feel happiest?
We have a strong commitment to looking after the Dales, which includes taking care of a wildflower nature reserve, breeding red squirrels and generating green energy from water and the sun. My family has been here since 1911 and our ethos is to hand things to the next generation better than we found them.
What do you think visitors gain from being at Kilnsey Park Estate?
The opportunity to de-stress, relax and spend quality time with their families in one of the most tranquil and unspoilt places on our crowded island. We want all our visitors to experience life’s simple pleasures – like helping your child catch their first fish.
If some one is feeling a little down, where in the Yorkshire Dales do you suggest they should visit to feel better?
The moors above Conistone with their wide open spaces, particularly in summer when the heather smells sweet and the skylarks are singing from the heavens. It helps to put human life into perspective.
If a visitor was coming here for two days (or more) what would you recommend they should try to do? Any particular places to eat or drink you'd like to recommend?
I have a soft spot for the Falcon at Arncliffe, a timeless Dales hostelry where beer is still poured from a jug and swallows nest in the outdoor toilets. There’s a great walk from Grassington to Kettlewell along the Dales Way, passing ancient woodland, limestone pavements and the odd sheep or three! I’d recommend Grassington as a good place to explore the Dales from, with a good selection of shops, pubs and cafes.
Where do you feel sudden swooping joy?
The view from the top of Kilnsey Crag at sunrise is pretty hard to beat. We watched the passing of the Tour de France from there in July 2014, a day I’ll never forget.
Your favourite place to just sit and look?
The freshwater spring at Kilnsey Park is a truly beautiful place and there’s something truly soothing about watching the crystal clear waters welling up out of the ground.
Name a detail in everyday life that many of us miss
Watching a shepherd and his dog working together to herd sheep
A local person who you think embodies the Yorkshire Dales spirit - and why
Charlie Hall, a local farmer who was an incredible source of stories and folklore – everything from where to find frogspawn to how certain fields got their names. When I was a boy he took me to see the rarest orchid in the country, growing in a secret woodland – I can still remember the excitement now. He sadly passed away in 2014 but I spent a lot of time talking to him and I’d like to think that Kilnsey Park is helping to keep his spirit alive.
Anything else you'd like to tell us that we probably don't know!
Kilnsey used to be on one of the most important routes from London to the North, and passing travellers would often try to throw a coin against Kilnsey Crag for good luck. They’ve found Roman coins there so it must be an old tradition, although very few people do it now. I’ve tried it a few times but not managed to hit yet!
More Yorkshire Dales insider views
" Pick a day of blue skies and warm air and find your way onto an expanse of heather moorland. Lie back on the heather, close your eyes, listen (to the songs of curlews, skylarks, bumblebees and more) and open your nose to the heavenly honey-tinged scent of flowering purple heather. And think to yourself: does it get any better than this?" Jamie Roberts, Kilnsey Park