You can lead a cow to water…

None of the cowhouses out in the fields around Muker parish had a water supply so at least once, sometimes twice a day during the winter months, someone had to go round every one and let the cows out so they could drink at a nearby well or stream.

“….we had to let them out in a morning to let them go find some water, and then give them some more hay and then go and bring them in again…twice a day, morning and night . [Did they come back in willingly?] Well, mostly! You had to give them a bit of time… they obviously wanted a bit of exercise as well, but by the time you got your little jobs done, it was probably time for them to come back anyway…we’d no electricity or anything like that, so you had to do it before it got dark.”

Elsie Metcalfe (nee Scott)  (83) formerly of Park House Farm, Keld

Once you know what you are looking for it’s worth trying to spot the water source near each cowhouse. Here are a few we’ve photographed recently:

Silted up well near Greens cowus, Aygill
Trough beside Corpse Way out of Muker
Jordan Close cow’us with rush-filled stream in front