WELCOME to this month’s farming and equestrian feature.
An incredible amount has been happening in and around the local countryside and moorland.
The weather does appear to be brightening up and, as we move forward into the spring months, there are more and more signs that winter has finally disappeared.
Lambs are playfully jumping about in fresh, green fields and cattle are out to graze in droves.
The countryside is bustling with a lot more activity, even local wildlife is hopping mad, as rabbits and pheasants scurry about the hedgerows.
Rape seed oil is beginning to appear, spotting the landscape with vibrant yellow patches, and other crops are starting to add colour and depth to the landscape.
Sheep shearing season is also nearly upon us, so plenty of hard work is cut out for farmers this month.
It is easy to take for granted the surroundings we live in as we pass miles of countryside everyday on our daily routes, but there is plenty to do in our beautiful region so make the most of your free time.
Perhaps have a go at camping - it is the ultimate outdoor experience.
If you want picturesque scenery then look no further than the rolling Yorkshire Wolds and the breathtaking countryside and moorland of Ryedale.
There are lots of sights to go and see; especially now the weather is getting better, and what better way to experience these sights than on foot or by bicycle?
We spend so much time indoors, it seems a shame to waste precious sunny days.
Remember, if you choose to walk local routes, always follow and respect the countryside code.
Why not think about visiting one of the popular steam rallies this summer?
Pickering Traction Engine Rally runs from 4-7 August.
As tradition dictates, the annual procession will head for Pickering’s market town over the course of the weekend, so make sure you don’t miss out on a great community event.
Nearer to the Yorkshire Wolds, you can check out Driffield’s Steam and Vintage Rally, now in its 22nd year and more popular than ever it will be running from 13-14 August.
This two-day event is packed full of vintage machinery and steam locomotives and, like the Pickering event, the roads in and around Driffield will be closed to host the annual procession through the town.
Also taking place this year is the Flying Man Festival at Pocklington.
This event takes place in the town centre between 20-22 May and will help raise vital funds for All Saints Church.
This popular event is now in its fifth year and features a Battle of Britain style flypast with a Spitfire display on the Sunday with a team of local daredevils abseiling down the church tower on the Saturday.
Local market towns thrive with traditional values and are steeped in agricultural history.
Our communities are driven by a love and understanding of their working environment, while supporting the local economy.
By taking part in events around the region we can help support, and learn to appreciate, the hard work it takes to maintain our agricultural industry and the surrounding countryside, moorland and nearby coastland that makes up our local eco-system.
As seasonal work adds to the hectic daily schedules for livestock and arable farmers, who already work long hours, they can look forward to the agriculture shows this year being held in the region.
These popular events are seen, not just by the farming community, but also the public, as a celebration of agriculture and rural life.
Many of the shows date back over a hundred years or more, so tradition is a very big factor.
Prize livestock, machinery and produce are on display for everyone to enjoy and, with food, stalls and exciting entertainment to enjoy, a visit to one of these shows makes the perfect day out.
It also gives people an opportunity to see some of the livestock of which they may not have any experience in their everyday life.
Popular country and farming events in the rural calendar signal a time for farmers and country folk to reap the benefits of their labours from the past year.
To appreciate the effort that goes into farming and its rural communities, agricultural shows and events are held by way of celebration, and this year is no different with over 40 shows in the North Yorkshire area alone.
And it is also fair to say that just as much hard work goes into the organisation of the shows including the entrants who display their prize livestock, produce and arts and crafts.
Our rural and agricultural communities are proud to display some of the best livestock in the north of England.
For your chance to visit some of the most important events in the rural calendar why not take a look at the list of agricultural events to see what’s on in your area?
Agricultural festivals 2011
May 21 Otley Show
June 19 North Yorkshire County Show
July 12-14 The Great Yorkshire Show
July 17 Malton Show
July 20 Driffield Show
July 24 Aldborough and Boroughbridge Agricultural Show
July 26 Ryedale Show
July 27 Borrowby Show
July 31 Weeton Show
August 2 Egton Bridge Gooseberry Show
August 3 Thornton-le-Dale Show
August 5 Hinderwell Horse and Agricultural Society Show
August 6 Osmotherley Show
August 6 Tockwith and District Agricultural Show
August 11 Danby Agricultural Show
August 14 Ripley Show
August 20 Rosedale and District Annual Show
August 24 Egton Horse and Agricultural Show
August 27 Bilsdale Show
August 27 Malham Show
August 29 Farndale Show
August 29 Burniston Agricultural Show
September 3 Kildale Show
September 19 Nidderdale Show
If you’ve already visited some of these popular agricultural shows over the years, then why not think about trying some of these alternative festivals that are happening this year?
There’s something to interest everyone, whether it is food and drink, crafts, animals, machinery or music.
Join in and feel a sense of community and spirit, and celebrate rural life at one of these exciting events.
May 20, 21, 22 Flying Man Festival, Pocklington
May 28 - June 11 Swaledale Festival
May 30 Duncombe Park Country Fair
June 11 Pickering 60s Festival
June 11 Linton-on-Ouse Village Festival
July 16-17 Masham Steam Engine and Fair Organ Rally
August 4-7 Pickering Traction Engine Rally