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North York Moors claim 'Capital of Cake' title

Catriona McLees and Rachel Underwood celebrate 'Capital of Cake'

The North York Moors and coast is laying claim to the title of "Britain’s Capital of Cake" in recognition of the myriad different types of cake served in the area, the regional specialities and places where they are served. The tourism initiative launches today and will raise the profile of the multitude of cake-eating locations that include cafés, tea parlours, holiday cottages, abbeys, woods, waterfalls, walled gardens, seashore, stately homes and village greens. The North York Moors Tourism Network, a voluntary organisation supporting more than 400 tourism and related businesses, together with the North York Moors National Park Authority (NYMNPA), are leading the ‘capital’ claim.

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Spring around the corner as venues begin new season

It may still feel very much like winter, but for the National Trust, the 'summer' season is just beginning.

It may be still grey outside but blue skies are just around the corner Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

Some of the region's favourite tourist attractions open their doors to visitors again after closing for the winter.

The venues include Souter Lighthouse in Whitburn; Wallington, near Morpeth; and Cragside near Rothbury. Between them, they welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors every year from March to November.

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Skeletons found by accident could have been criminals or soldiers

Twelve skeletons dating back to the time of Richard III have been found by accident by Northern Powergrid and their contractor Interserve.

The find, which dates back to the time of Richard III, is the first of its type to be found in the city Credit: Northern Powergrid

The first bones were discovered in November 2013 by Northern Powergrid and its contractor, Interserve, on Tadcaster Road, known locally as the Knavesmire.

A team of archaeologists remained present on site at all times and were called on to examine the find and start the process of carefully uncovering the skeletons. After initial excavations the team realised that this discovery was something very unusual.

Meticulous excavation in two trenches revealed 12 skeletons.

Unlike 15th century Christian burial practice, the skeletons were all together and weren’t facing East-West.

The Knavesmire was the site of York’s Tyburn, where convicted criminals were executed right up until 1802. Were these individuals criminals or could they have been Lancastrian soldiers?

They may have been captured in battle and brought to York for execution, possibly in the aftermath of the Battle of Towton during the Wars of the Roses, and their remains hastily buried near the gallows

– Ruth Whyte, Osteo-archaologist for York Archaeological Trust

Analysis and radiocarbon dating of two of the skeletons found that they could be dated to around the 1460s.

The skeletons were identified as male and mostly aged between 25 and 40 at the time of their death. Two had significant bone fractures which could be evidence of fighting, perhaps associated with professional soldiers.

The skeletons have been handed over to York Archaeological Trust to protect and preserve. Arrangements are also underway to exhibit one of the skeletons as part of the city’s Richard III Experience at Monk Bar in March.

Sally Simpson reports:

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Stoat 'dances' on ice

It may be its first ice encounter.. it may just be practicing its summersaults.

Whatever is going on this stoat at the Washington Wetland Centre is certainly having a good time.

The north east centre has been filming the antics of their residents as the cold weather freezes over the water.

And they have offered this top tip:

If you put a floating ball into your pond or bird bath as with wind moves the ball it prevents total freeze over.

Birds, need drinking water but also need water to keep their feathers in condition. Smashing the ice could harm aquatic life.

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