The Tour du France will be following a route through the beautiful Yorkshire dales in 2014. On the 5th July the cyclists will make their way from the start of the race in Leeds through beautiful countryside towards Skipton in North Yorkshire. They will then travel through the Yorkshire Dales to Harrogate where the first stage will finish.
The second stage starts at Bolton Bridge (near Bolton Abbey) and it will make its way to York then Sheffield.
Hopefully the weather will be glorious and people can get out into the countryside and support the cyclist as they fly past then enjoy thier time in the Yorkshire Dales.
The route into the Dales goes to:-
Leeds - Harewood - Otley - Ilkley - Skipton - Threshfield - Kettlewell - Buckden - Aysgarth - Hawes - Thwaite - Muker - Gunnerside - Reeth - Grinton - Leyburn - Ripon - Harrogate
Bolton Abbey is a prior in ruins located near Skipton in North Yorkshire overlooking the River Wharf. After the Priory closed in 1539 the nave of the priory reopened as a Parish Church.
Besides wondering around the ruins of the Priory you can walk over to the bell tower and around the river bank. You can even walk across the river on the stepping stones to reach the other side much quickly.
There is a route around the Priory which is accesbile for wheel chair access and the route can be downloaded from the Bolton Abbey website.
Bolton Abbey does not charge per person but per car regardless of how many passengers there are which is £6.00.
Mother Shipton's Cave is located in the Knaresborough area of North Yorkshire and is considered to be one of the oldest attractions in the UK.
Mother Shipton was a witch from North Yorkshire who predicted some of England's most terrible tragedies such as the great fire of London and predicted other events such as the Spanish Armada.
When purchasing a ticket you can walk through and along the caves believed to be where Mother Shipton lived and stand beside the Petrifying Well. The Petrifying Well is a so called Magical Well where anything that touches the water coming from the Well will be turned to stone.
Along the walk you will see the wishing well, the petrifying well, children's play areas and if you walk to the very bottom you will be lead to some old castle ruins and the small town of Knaresborough.
Please note that Mother Shipton's Cave is shut from November to January.
Lovely country location. Not a big place so makes a nice half day out.
The Centre is open 7 days a week from the 1st of March to the 31st of October.They have three displays per day at 11:30, 13:30 and 15:30 which are well worth seeing and really informative. It's fantastic to see the birds flying, the falconers are very knowledgable and obviously passionate about what they do.
They also offer experience days which are listed on their website.
There is a decent size carpark with toilets. There is a small shop and indoor area to have something to eat.
Admission prices 2011:
* Adults: £6.50
* OAP: £5.50
* Children: £4.50 (children under 3 years go FREE)
* Family tickets: £19.00 ( 2 adults + 2 Children )
* Adult groups (10+): £5.50 per person
At the time of writing you can use Tesco Clubcard Days Out vouchers for admission/part admission.
Dogs are not allowed.
Fantastic for bird photography and they also offer photography workshops. Again, these are listed on the website.
Richmond's castle is the main attraction to visit in Richmond and is a must do.
Centrally located in the town, it was built by the Normans on the Riche-Mont (strong hill,) hence the name Richmond.
Work began on the castle in 1071, by Allan Rufus, kinsman of William the Conqueror. It's the oldest stone built Norman castle in the country and it's well preserved keep rises to 100 feet with it's walls being 11 feet thick. To get to the top involves climbing a straight, very steep, staircase which brings you out on to the top where you are rewarded with spectacular views of the town. Not for the faint hearted and not on a very wild day!
There is a shop, an information centre and display where you can view video footage of graffiti from coscientious objectors who were imprisoned in the castle keep during WW1.The keep was also used (as well as primarily a fortress) as a barracks for the army during WW2.
It's a great place to wander at your own pace and of course Philip loved being able to get to the top of the keep!!I made it to the top as well but it was a little wild and I didn't linger long!!
It's an English Heritage property, so well maintained. For prices, see web site.
More info on my Richmond page.
Privately owned by the Ingilby family, this is a great castle to visit. It's open all year and guided tours are the norm. We didn't like the idea of this but it turned out to be very interesting and great fun.
The castle has been awarded the Best Small Visitor Attraction and justly so. Not only do you get to see the castle and all it's beautiful furniture and antiquities but it has it's own deer park, a lake and spectacular gardens and grounds where you'll find thousand year old oak trees growing. There's also a walled kitchen garden where unsual vegs. are grown.The fantastic hothouses, renovated in 1991, are home to all manner of fruit trees and palms.
Weddings are a regular occurance where you can choose which magnificnt room to hold your reception.
I remember on our visit, in the tower room where all the armour is displayed, our son was "made" to dress up in armour which he wasn't very thrilled about!!
Unfortunately, our visit was before we had a digital camera and we appear to have taken only one photo!!
Definitely go on this railway line. It is beautiful. But don't just stay on the train - get off and explore the region (just beware of muddy 'public footpaths' - see Grosmont travelogue). A must for fans of Harry Potter, Heartbeat and Wuthering Heights.
Apparently unique in Yorkshire this small church has a tower with wooden boards as seen in the photo. The church dates back to the 15th century and if you step inside you'll be delighted to see the use of wooden beams around the altar.
Another feature I really liked about the church is the living churchyard concept where locals are using some of the green space of the churchyard to encourage wildlife by careful and natural management techniques. They also have a small collection of impressive sheep - the rams have amazing horns - see the photo.
Don't miss visiting Brimham Rocks if you are anywhere near Harrogate or Pately Bridge. They are such an incredible sight!! We have visited twice but unfortunately the second visit was bitterly cold.
The rocks are scattered over an area of 50 acres on Brimham Moor, which is at a height of over 300 metres. The land belongs to the National Trust and you pay to park, £4.50 for over 4 hours. Be warned that the place becomes extremely busy on nice weekends and Bank Holidays and you need to get there reasonably early to park, if you are in a motorhome or anything else large.
The huge stones sit precariously balanced, many having been given names after their shapes. There is a main walk taking in all the most spectacular rocks and you are given a map with the named rocks and facilities marked.
Thousands of years ago layers of grit and sand washed down from Scotland and Norway and the forming layers, which included millstone grit, created a delta. Gradually, due to glacial erosion, the rocks were formed from the harder, exposed millstone grit remainig as the softer stuff was washed away. As you gaze at the wierd formations, it's hard to believe they are a natural phenomenon.
At Easter there is always an Easter hunt and quiz and I know we became very competetive for our disinterested son's sake!!!
Take a picnic, enjoy the scenery but it can be VERY cold here!!
Toilets, small gift shop and light refreshments.
There has been an unusually early fall of snow this year (2008). In early December we were visiting family in North Yorkshire and of course the dog needs to be taken out for walks, come rain or shine - or snow in this case.
We found a car park off the main road and set off in our thick clothing and wellie boots. There were no signs showing the way so it was just as well our family knew where they were going. The woodland is of mixed conifer and deciduous trees which is always more interesting than the thick, densely packed, and very dark coniferous plantations found elsewhere in Britain. The woodland is harvested and on the side of the tracks are large piles of timber waiting to be carted off to the sawmill.
There are a couple of small lakes where, in places. the Rhododendrons come right to the waters edge. This lake would be ideal for picnics on a warm May evening.
We saw a large group of ramblers so clearly the Howardian Hills have more to offer than just a place to walk the dog and to get out into the fresh air and countryside.
The Howardian hills have been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we certainly appreciated the gently rolling hills, the woodland aspect and the wildlife - see my next tip. The snow just added another dimension which made it a particularly special walk in the countryside.
Coming from the south of England I'm not too familiar with Yorkshire ( despite having lived in Leeds for a year). I'd never heard of Easingwold but our relatives wanted to take the dog for a run in the park and we happened to stop a while in this interesting town.
Every now and then it's possible to come across these places in the UK that are a bit off the map but have much character in an understated way. I think this town has that appeal. There are no major attractions nearby and it's not even en route to anywhere but it's just the sort of place we'd like to retire to. Perhaps it helped that the sun was shining?
Take a look at the photos and decide for yourself.
The broad, cobbled Market Place in the centre of Richmond is brightly lit before Christmas with numerous coloured lights that enhance the festive spirit and encourage the shoppers to linger, browsing around the stalls on a Saturday. If you're there on the 3rd Saturday of the month there is a chance to sample the delights of the Farmers Market when it's possible to buy some of the local Yorkshire delicacies. From mid December apparently the Market Place also hosts a horse-drawn Santa Claus carriage ride to help you really get in the seasonal mood. I think the lights suspended from the obelisk make a change from the traditional Christmas tree.
We happened to stop by the general grocers Ken Warne, in one of the older side streets and discovered some fantastic items that were perfect as Christmas presents. They had a wide selection of cheeses including one called the Stinking Bishop - I didn't try it - partly because it was rather expensive.
There are all sorts of other specialist shops and drinking places to rest awhile in the town centre so after you have done the 1.5mile town trail or the perhaps just the family shop you can easily find an interesting coffee shop to refuel.
The snowfall in the Howardian Hills ( December 2008) gave us a chance to spot the evidence of wildlife even though we didn't see the creatures that left their tracks in the snow.
It's important to remember that the tracks get bigger with time as the snow melts so what could have been small prints to start with could turn into much bigger ones later in the day.
We saw bird ( Pheasant and Moorhen) and mammal ( Rabbit, Deer and lots of dog - or were they Fox?) tracks - see the photo.
Don't forget that a number of British mammals hibernate ( Badgers and Hedgehogs) which reduces the number of possibilities as to the originators of the tracks you find.
It's also quite interesting to speculate how the animal was moving, either running , hopping (the rabbits have 4 prints close together) or just ambling though the snow .
A really great way to add interest to a wintry walk. If you're very keen on this sort of thing there is a terrific book by Bang and Dahlstrom (1974) Collins Guide to Animal Tracks and Signs . It features all sorts of ways of tracking down the activities of wildlife - your first step towards becoming an animal detective.
Brimham Rocks is a National Trust Property, 11 miles NW of Harrogate.
I visited these dramatic rock formations after the Amazing VT weekend -'Fish Chips and Mushy Peas' in Halifax organised by Ricky 52.
I'd had such a brilliant time at my first VT meet, that I jumped at the chance to extend the weekend, by joining Poons, Suet, Lori Pori, Waalewiener and Angiebabe on the Monday visiting Haworth, Bolton Abbey, Brimham Rocks then Knaresborough.
to be continued....
Looked after by the National Trust, these rocks out near Pately Bridge in the middle of the Yorkshire is a lovely spot Id until never heard of - even though Im a longtime member of the National Trust and read my thick book of all their sites from cover to cover each year(?!!).
But I was very pleasantly surpised and impressed to have been brought here on our spare day after the excellent Halifax VT meet to see some sights in the surrounding area.
Apparently this area of rocks has been a popular place to visit over the last 200 years.
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