Through the Arch Window – Views at Fountains Abbey

Easter warrants the simplest of crosses in the hall at Fountains Abbey

The complexity of the construction at Fountains Abbey makes you consider what might have been without the dissolution in the 16th century. Arch way lead to arch and yet another arch!

Framed by the remnants of one window are the impressive ruins of the Cistercian monastery at Ripon

The moss and ferns give atmosphere to the steps many monks would have taken out of the main abbey hall.

March has not yet awakened the leaves on the branches. Spring would be an exciting time for the monks and shepherds who would have been hoping for a good crop of lambs for future wool production. Wool and sheep were the source of most of the abbey’s wealth.
This view was too stimulating to ignore even though it of arches and buttresses rather than just arch windows.

Leeds Reflections – Window Shopping

When you want to see your local city from a new angle look carefully at the windows of modern buildings. Since glass and reflective materials became the  cladding of choice for constructors and architects there are many visual delights and photo opportunities. It may take a moment to see the buildings reflected in the windows of this Leeds University block but the pattern will soon show.


Some think that the first double glazed windows were installed  at Tan Hill, Great Britain’s Highest Inn. In fact that was just the place where the farmer and TV presenter ‘Ted Moult’ fronted the advertising campaign for window shopping. Talking of window shopping the Trinity center has window views and photographic opportunities that will deflect you from spending money in the 120 or so shops and retail outlets.

More distorted reflections in this picture’ of Holy Trinity Church an early 18th century grade 1 listed building constructed in 1722. Reflecting on the Trinity shopping I note it will have been open for 5 years in March 2018. The church has been open a good deal longer.


A landscape fit for Pylons moving electricity around the county.

A portrait of a pylon standing erect around Bolton Woods quarry in West Yorkshire

It isn’t the barbed wire that is dangerous but the wires above that can be shocking.

Gloomy clouds massing over Shipley. Very unfair on Shipley a post industrial town that needs all the sunshine and good luck it can muster.

Bradford October 2017

Bradford has a museum to be proud with the National Science and Media Museum. The author and a friend are pictured taking advantage of one display that showed thermal images of visitors. The white eyes are the hottest and I am the one with the ‘ruddy’ complexion 

When the sun is shining the glass walls of the Broadway center reflect the old and the new with the Wool Exchange seen from a new angle. The complexity of the photographs of buildings reflected in windows was pointed out by painter William J (Bill) Gall to a Thursday Oil Painting group at a recent tutorial.

With a bit of luck Ivegate is starting to perk up and the Bradford ‘Boar’ was looking good, in the autumn sunshine, on top of the Old Crown. Let us hope it is returning to its former glory.

West Witton – Grave Situation

Below is the church of St Batholomew in West Witton where the churchyard (above) was consecrated in 1752.

The majority of the grave stones follow a dales tradition of using uncarved local stone as  markers or memorial.

When shown together these numerous limestone markers give testament to times and people gone by make an impressive display.

The church contains this Victorian stained glass, a carved  stone Saxon cross now on display above the pulpit and a traditional lychgate.(below)

A tribute to the local district nurse

Off to Wetherby Races

Boroughbridge 031

If you are thinking of a drink on the way to or from the races, jump too it. Bear in mind that you need to be well shod at the Three Horseshoes on the Horsefair at Boroughbridge (below). The Wetherby Steeplechase was in the bar at the Grantham Arms (the painting not he race itself).

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Ure river of choice must have been bridged on Ermine Street at a place conveniently called Boroughbridge. The Great North Road was a better name than the A1 but the A1(M) is a traffic jam waiting to happen (or is that the name of my horse at Wetherby?) Continue reading “Off to Wetherby Races”

Newby Hall Gardens for Cornus & Interesting Plants

Newby hall

Back in 2009 I took a trip to see the Gardens and plants at Newby Hall. This photograph fails to do the gardens justice but see them in full flower on their web site.  Sylvia’s garden area was in fine form except for the walkway. Until recently the walkway was flanked by special beds of red Roses of Lancaster opposite the White Roses of York to commemorate the Wars of the Roses. Sadly these Roses got rose sickness and had to be replaced. Why on earth Olive trees have been selected to replace them I do not know (it still isn’t time to offer an Olive branch to our old foes.) It also seems to follow that children visiting in future will not be taught (by sight smell and notice board) about our traditional ‘Roses rivalry’.

Following the Rose theme there were some sculptures around the garden and I called this Dog Rose.

Dog rose
Whilst this was called ‘No Bark or Rose on Addingham moorside.’

dog sculpture

It is fitting that a National Collection of Cornus is held at Newby Hall as they are also called Dog Woods or Flowering Dogwoods. These trees and shrubs were worth visiting on their own and I was taken with the whole garden and would recommend a mid week visit. I guess the children’s attractions including a miniature railway will make it a busy spot at weekends.
There is a leaflet about the Plant Heritage National Collection at Newby Hall & Gardens called Cornus Trail. It highlights 15 specific trees and shrubs from over 100 individuals in 5 different beds.


This fine specimen was at least 40 foot tall and was covered in white floral bracts down to ground level. Many of the feature dogwoods were tiered like a wedding cake and looked in great form in the middle of May 2009. An interesting place to visit with something for everyone. I didn’t go inside the house so can’t comment on Georgian elegance of the Christopher Wren Richard Adams combo.

Sunken garden

2012 is the time to visit or in my case revisit to see the gardens and plants at Newby Hall near Ripon.
27 May 2012 as threatened I revisited and despite the strong sun that burned out some of the colour here are some more photographs from Newby Hall Garden.

Newby Hall gardens Strawberry
Newby Gardens flowers on a Strawberry

Newby Hall gardens Azalea
Scented Azalea Lutea in Newby Gardens

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Primula by the pond Newby Gardens.

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Parcevall Hall and Gardens

Parecvall Hall garden lies on a steep hillside near Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Built in 1582 as a farm house it is now a retreat leased to the Diocese of Bradford by the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Extensively refurbished by Sir William Milner who bought the Parcevall Hall estate in 1927 he bequeathed the estate to the College of Guardians of the Shrine in 1960. Sir William was an architect and founder member and honorary director of the Northern Horticultural Society where he pioneered the establishment of Harlow Carr gardens, at Harrogate.

Not surprising with Sir Williams background and passion for plants that the grounds today are a wonderful Gardens for the public to visit. 24 acres of formal and woodland gardens command impressive views of Simon’s Seat and Wharfedale. These features and the many planted trees  create a microclimate that helps special plants to survive and thrive 800 feet above sea level. The view of the herbaceous border as you approach the house is flanked by two orchards of fruit trees containing some special Yorkshire apple varieties. All the hedges are neat and well maintained a tribute to the current head gardener and his helpers.
The Alpine garden at the rear of the house houses acid loving and limestone loving plants in close harmony due to the rocky out crops in this part of the Skyreholme valley. I also noted that the numerous Hostas had not suffered any slug damage and the gardener put it down to the birds having a good feed.

They were not the only ones having a good feed. In addition to the bees above, the cafe down by the car park was doing a roaring trade.

Despite the  ‘liquid sunshine’  during my visit these Helenium made up for any negative feelings and the whole trip was tranquil, educational and positive.  If you are invited on a retreat then it will undoubtedly be an experience. If you enjoy walking there are many places to visit close by including Trollers Gill, Stump Cross caves and Simons Seat. However for just an afternoon garden visit I can recommend the Parcevall Hall Gardens between May and August.

You can buy A Guide to Parcevall Hall by Heather M. Beaumont from Yorkshire at Amazon containing highlights from 1984.

‘As part of the retreat house and conference centre of the Church of England Diocese of Leeds it is available to private individuals as well as to religious and secular groups. Grade ll listed Parceval Hall can be booked for residential conferences and holidays or for day groups and evening functions.’

The gardens reopen after winter on 1st April