Marsden Moorland Landscape Photography Blog

The Yorkshire Moorland Landscape

Before and after the fires.

Hey. So this week I was going to do a Photography blog post on some of my old California Landscapes and Travel Photography – The Riley Shot shots but after the wild fires near my favourite Yorkshire moorland. I will show you the impact of leaving a BBQ in the middle of wild heather on a dry day, instead.

I had taken some cool sunset shots the week before the fires, when the weather was great. It’s not often you get a clear sky up on the moors, so I like to take advantage and take some landscape shots. You normally don’t get clear dry days.  What you do get are stunning storms, beautiful colours and for a landscape photographer, everything you need to for a different shot every day.

Wild Fires – Yorkshire

A week later I heard on the news that the area was on fire after someone didn’t discard a BBQ correctly. If you are reading this and not from the UK, it’s important to stress that the Moorland is normally wet, sometimes boggy even in the height of the summer, but a special, beautiful part of the world as well. What I’m saying is that it’s not a yearly event like other parts of the world – it’s clearly now happening because of the change in climate, leaving the Heather dry as tinder. For the North of England this isn’t common – well, it didn’t used to be common.

The moors are such a unique place. It’s estimated that woodland would have covered around a fifth or sixth of the Saddleworth and Marsden Moors After the last Ice Age ended, about 10,000 years ago, a forest of Scots pine, oak, birch, hazel and alder trees covered not just the whole Parks but almost all of Britain. This ‘wild wood’ was home to many animals, including some that are now extinct in Britain, such as wolves and wild boar. Although its debated how many wolves were dominating Yorkshire at this point.

Heritage of the Moors

When the first Stone Age people came to the Moors, about 8,000 years ago, they hunted animals and gathered plants for food. By the Iron Age (about 4,000 years ago) people were learning how to farm crops and animals. Trees were cut and burned down to make clearings for farms. The population grew and the removal of trees continued. By the Middle Ages, most of the woodland had disappeared and sheep farming continued to stop any potential trees taking hold.

The reason for me going all history on you is to paint a picture of how a human being can, in a second, turn our own vanity and ignorance against 10000 years of evolution. Because we don’t have very many trees in these areas, many bird nests and eggs would have been destroyed for species like Short-eared Owl, Curlew, Merlin and Golden Plover which nest on the ground. All because someone wanted to burn a burger, probably have a few beers in a gorgeous place and didn’t take the BBQ home with them. This blows my mind. Anyway, I promise I am not always preachy, its just that this place is special and so are the wild animals that live in it. For someone to kill nesting chicks and burn chunks of land the size of Manhattan, just because they wanted a BBQ on the moor, doesn’t add up.

Before and After

So, here are my pics. One week when I was loving the fact the sun was bringing some amazing light to the moor and the other, after the fires. Granted, I usually wouldn’t be publishing the fire ones as, for landscape shots they are in the middle of the day, with relatively bland light. However, the massive rain storm did help a little. Long story short, I couldn’t get out for golden hour so I took these. (If you are new to photography, that’s sunset or sunrise when the sun is low which creates some fab shadows and awesome light).

My ideas for my blog was to chat about the photos and all things photography and I do genuinely love the ones I got around sunset but I won’t go in the details this week, but from next week I’ll be going all ‘arty’ on you 🙂 and start talking about leading lines etc. For new starters, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if in future I start getting too technical, but in a funny way this weeks blog is what I want to be doing, showing you stories from my work and banging on about it, i just wish it could have been something a little more friendly and not sad.  Scott 🙂




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