On Saturday the Rosedale Show opened on the most glorious weather, and the sun shone all day. Rosedale is the next village down the valley to me and the annual show is run by the Rosedale & District Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Society. It is one of the most beautiful settings for a show I have ever seen. Right in the heart of the valley, a little cup with purple heather and grazed green sides, hills and moorland rising up all around.
For the last couple of years I have had a stand there, demonstrating stone carving and have been inundated with visitors wanting to have a go. I was next to a farrier, also demonstrating, with a very patient horse, with the smells and sounds of the blacksmith at his trade. This mixed with the food vans and the vintage tractors burbling away and the sheep, goats and cattle pens and you have the familiar and friendly local show. Oh, and mustn't forget the band - this was their tent (early in the morning when I was setting up and before they had arrived with their playing).
There is a very active History Society in Rosedale and they too had a stand at the show, with fascinating information about Rosedale Abbey and the Dale. No-one is absolutely sure of the derivation of the name Rosedale, but the Viking origins point to Rossi, being a personal name, or the word for horse. The other possible root is the word “rhos”, meaning moor. No rose connections have ever been found!
Rosedale has a history combining early Christian heritage, centuries of farming, and dramatic change. The discovery of unique high-grade magnetic iron ore in the 1850s turned this sleepy backwater into a powerhouse of Victorian industry. For 70 years the valley echoed to the sound of rumbling waggons, steam trains, and the noise, smoke and dust of mining activity. By the 1920s, the Great Depression and the lower cost of imported ore finished the mining in Rosedale. The miners and their families left, and rows of miners’ cottages stood abandoned. Gradually, peace and the forces of nature reclaimed the dale which is once again a place of outstanding beauty. Agriculture once more became the main industry and now tourism is very important in the local economy.
Certainly the visitor numbers to the show were record-breaking! And from those I spoke to, they had a most enjoyable day - as did I.