Monday, September 8, 2008
The YORKSHIRE DALES is a special place. Established in 1954, the Park has breathtaking, dramatic scenery, abundant wildlife and rich cultural heritage.
Covering an area of 1,762 square kilometres (680 miles), the National Park is located in the North of England and straddles the central Pennines in the counties of North Yorkshire and Cumbria.
June (Poons) offered to take us to the Yorkshire Dales on the Monday following the VT Meet. We were joined by Sue (Suet), Angie (Angiebabe) and Sue (Suvanki).
We started our day in the lovely town of Haworth and then drove on little country roads through breathtaking countryside until we came to Bolton Abbey.
Our last stop was to visit Brimham Rocks. We capped off our wonderful day together with a Chinese dinner in Knaresborough.
To me, the most peaceful and serene part of Bolton Abbey was THE GRAVEYARD. Many date back hundreds of years.
I googled Bolton Priory Graveyard and came across the website "Mostly Haunted" which tells of a ghost story about Bolton Priory. It's as follows:
"It is quite common for many ruined abbeys in the country to claim to have a ghost of a monk or nun, and perhaps the most famous is that which haunts Bolton Priory. The Black Canon is the name given to a ghost that has been seen on numerous occasions and by many people at Bolton Priory throughout the years. The Black Canon is described as a man in his late sixties, with a heavily lined and wrinkled face, with several days’ growth of grey stubble on his chin. The Black Canon is also described as wearing a black cassock, black cloak and a flat black hat, and has been seen in the Priory grounds, the Choir, and around the church. It has often been reported that the sound of feet in sandals can be heard"
Founded in 1151 by the Augustinian Order. BOLTON ABBEY PRIORY was built on the banks of the River Wharfe, on land which was given to the order in 1154 by Lady Alice de Romille of Skipton Castle.
In the early 14th century, Scottish raiders caused the temporary abandonment of the site and serious structural damage to the Priory. The nave of the Abbey Church was in use as a Parish from about 1170 and onwards.
The "Dissolution of the Monasteries" resulted in the termination of the Priory in 1539. The east end remains in ruins. Most of the remaining Church is in the Gothic style of architecture.
St. Mary and St. Cuthbert, the PARISH CHURCH is a living church within the ruins of the Bolton Abbey Priory. I must say, I was quite surprised to see this wonderful Church, after walking around the grounds and seeing nothing but ruins. June (Poons) asked me "did you pop your 'ead in?'' I certainly did and was amazed at its simple beauty.
A wall was erected to seal off the eastern end of the nave and a new church was born from the remains of the old. The centuries passed and the old Priory buildings slowly crumbled away, while the Parish Church continued as a focus for the community's spiritual life.
One of the things I really liked about the Brimham Rocks, was the lovely HEATHER that grew on some of them. They really were beautiful and they say that in September, they are at their absolute best colour.
The National Trust manage Brimham Moor without any of the traditional burning off of old Heather. Instead, clumps of Heather are left to mature naturally.
Although I didn't identify all of them, the MOST POPULAR ROCKS have been named. Some of them include:
Druid's Writing Desk - a mushroom-shaped rock on the edge of the Brimham Plateau.
The Idol - this rock shows the effect of sandblasting at ground level. It blances on a tiny spit of stone.
The Flowerpot - the cylindrical shape of this rock result from erosive action whittling down a cubic shape to resemble a flowerpot
Druids Castle Rock
If you take a close look at a rock-face at Brimham, you'll see cross-sections of sandbanks which formed in a river. Each of the layers picked out by weathering was deposited on the downstream side of a shifting sandbank.
Feel how coarse the rocks are and you will see that they're made up of sand grit and small pebbles, all held together by a kind of natural cement. The glassy looking crystals that make up 80% of the Brimham sandstone are pieces of quartz, a tough mineral that is harder than steel. The remaining 20% consists of a softer mineral called feldspar.
Favorite thing: This is quite a dramatic looking dale just north of Swaledale (which it meets at Reeth) and not as green as the latter either. Instead it has rocky crags and can be quite spooky in bad weather. The main village is pretty Langthwaite and that is where you find most services in an otherwise farily quiet dale, although by no means abandoned as "All Creatures..." was filmed here too. Excellent for hiking or riding and out of season it is really not much visited. The picture here still shows Reeth but just where Arkengarthdale starts with the rocky cliffs in the background.
Formerly known by the name of Yoredale, after the river Ure that runs through it and has several waterfalls along its way, Wensleydale was renamed after the village of Wensley in the lower end of the dale, despite most other Dales still being named after the rivers running through them. Wensleydale is the biggest and broadest of the Dales and one of my personal favourites. Despite giving less dramatic views than for instance Swaledale, I love the great, sweeping vistas it has. The size of this dale, along with the fact that its major town Hawes is a market town, makes farming lively here and everywhere you go there are people with sheep dogs and Land rovers, emphasising my view of what Yorkshire should be like. Even more so since it has the village of Askrigg which was the village mostly used when filming the TV series "All Creatures..." about vet James Herriot. Wensleydale also has lots of historical sights in the form of castles, and it feels like people have always met and lived here. This feeling is strenghtened by the fact that Wensleydale has the only major road through the Dales, between the Vale of York and Cumbria.
Fondest memory: My fondest memories of Wensleydale is from the lower bits of it, outside the National Park boundaries, where I love the little village of Middleham with its castle (see page). I also like Hawes a lot.
Favorite thing: One of my favourites, this is a very overlooked dale which is because it is sort of hiding between Grassington and Aysgarth and not all people drive this way into Wensleydale. Their loss as this is a really wild and narrow dale, reminding you a bit about the Lake District fells. British TV viewers might remember Hannah Hauxwell who lived on a fellside farm with a handful of cattle and no mod cons. Well this is where she lived before she moved on to County Durham.
The biggest of the northernmost Dales, Swaledale is immediate love. A narrow and very green dale, in June full of buttercups amongst the stone barns and in August full of heather on the moorland above, it is simply gorgeous. The river Swale is England's most fast flowing river, although it is hard to imagine during dry summers with low water. Richmond is the town at its lower end, just outside the National Park boundaries, whilst the former mining village of Reeth is the dale proper's hub with the Swaledale Museum and lots of pubs and galleries. At the upper end is Keld which is no more than a scattering of cottages. This is where you come past if you walk Coast to Coast, or if you are on your way to England's highest pub, the isolated Tan Hill inn. My own favourites are Muker and Gunnerside - villages full of charm.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Swaledale...A sunny day outside the King's Head in Gunnerside, looking at walkers and just watching the world go by at a very slow pace.
Fondest memory: The broad valleys with greystone villages and lush green meadows scattered with stone barns, sheeps and drystone walls are what I liked most about the Yorkshire Dales.