|Geese in York - webbed feet were a great idea|
At the weekend I attended York Wargames Society's Vapnartak show at York racecourse - big show, lots of stuff to look at, one or two old friends to say hello to.
To round out my weekend, I took the opportunity on Saturday to visit the Marston Moor battlefield. I've never been there, and I felt it would be useful in preparing for a planned wargame later this month.
It was a very wet day, I have to say. Before I went, I was trying to keep my packing as light as possible, and after some agonising I decided not to take my proper hill-walking boots on my trip. Saturday was so wet and muddy that I couldn't really get off the road (which runs across the battlefield, just as it did in 1644, between the two armies), but the hiking boots wouldn't have helped - I'd have needed waders or something to make much progress off-road.
I took the public bus from York (route 412, destination Wetherby) to Long Marston, and walked to Tockwith, at the far side of the battlefield. I had a decent lunch in the Spotted Ox, and got the bus back to York.
No visitors on the battlefield at all - just a few passing cars to splash the puddles over me. The modern farmland is obviously very different from the rough moorland on which they fought the battle, but one important thing I learned from my visit is that the ground where the Parliament side set up is a definite ridge - not steep, but quite marked; from the road you can only see up to the crest, and there is dead ground beyond (which is why Rupert maybe underestimated Leven's numbers on the day). On the other side of the road, where Rupert and Newcastle formed their lines, it is pretty much as flat as a billiard table. You may be able to see towards York from up on the ridge, but from where I was you can see very little.
|Get off the bus at the Sun Inn in Long Marston|
|Sounds as though this might be one of the older buildings in Long Marston, but I |
understand there is hardly anything here which dates back to 1644
|Looking along the road between the two armies, heading west. You can just see |
the battlefield monument peeking over the hedge on the right
|Moor Lane - or Bloody Lane, as it was famed. Today it's just Muddy Lane, and I |
chickened out of going up there. I would never have made a soldier - I only just make it as a
tourist on my braver days
|The monument, on the corner of the road and Moor Lane - we |
are looking North here
|Looking north-west across Rupert's position - pretty flat, I reckon|
|More politics - walk around the monument and the locals have put in a special mention of |
Black Tom Fairfax
|Ah yes - the Cromwell Association - who'd have expected that?|
|The Official Story - no mention of the Earl of Leven here, then, and not much about the |
Earl of Manchester
|Opposite the monument, there's a footpath up onto the Allies' position - some |
other day, maybe - but I got the idea
|Not a big battlefield - the fighting took place between Long Marston and Tockwith, and |
they are about 2.5 miles apart.
|More violence - monument in Tockwith to a bomber crew who crashed at the end of WW2|
|Time for lunch - homemade fish pie and veg and a pint of Tetley's, then the bus back |
to York to dry out