Like many million others I devoured every one of James Herriot’s books, delighting in those famous tales of the Yorkshire countryside from the pen of a master storyteller.

I was spellbound by the stories and read them many times over. The wonderfully drawn characters, rich in personality and humour, leapt from the page and transported me to the rain-soaked farmyards of Yorkshire in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.

One minute I’d be chuckling at Siegfried’s eccentricities, the next shedding a tear as James had to put down a beloved family dog. Like all the best writers, Herriot had the ability to make his reader both laugh and cry.

In this month’s magazine, Tony Rossiter continues his occasional series on Yorkshire writers with a profile of James Herriot. He investigates the magic of this Yorkshire great and considers why his books have stood the test of time in this digital age.

The farmers of Herriot’s world were from a bygone era. His books documented massive changes in farming practices, and that revolution has continued apace, so there are not many farmers left like those immortalised by Herriot. It is harder than ever to scrape a living from the harsh moors and dales of Yorkshire.

Many modern-day farmers have diversified, moving into new areas to make ends meet, and this month we meet an inspirational young farmer, pictured, who travelled all the way to Iceland in his quest to innovate in the challenging dairy market.

Elsewhere in the pages that follow you can catch up with Selina Scott, who has gone from newsreading to goat farming, visit one of the country’s last remaining traditional shoemakers, join the Osmotherley Toad Patrol, and sing along with the choristers of Skipton and Harrogate.

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This month’s great features

Reach for the skyr
Adrian Braddy meets pioneering dairy farmer Sam Moorhouse

Back on track
Andrew Gallon attends the reopening of a village railway platform fifty years after it was closed

Great Scott!
Phil Penfold talks to Selina Scott about politics, animals, Dickens and socks

Fantastic follies: Danby’s druids
Adrian Braddy delves into the history, and legends, surrounding Ilton’s stone circle

Toads on the roads
Dave Pressland documents the work of the Osmotherley Toad Patrol

United by music
Vicky Carr discovers why modern men are keeping singing traditions alive

Practice made perfect
Tony Rossiter shows how James Herriot became one of Britain’s most popular authors

Boots, boots, boots
Tony Greenbank meets bespoke shoemaker Dan Nelson

People before things
Part two of the W R Mitchell story charts the early years of the Yorkshire great’s Dalesman career

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