Off to Wetherby Races

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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

Images of Yorkshire Moors & Wolds

Moor & heath

Yorkshire is blessed with dramatic and unrivaled scenery. From the East coast through Moors, Dales and Wolds there are umpteen images to catch the imagination.
You can access these images via short or long distance walks, from car windows, glossy books, old postcards or surfing the internet as you are currently doing.

On to Ilkley Moor

Roman road roam’n’ all over the place?
Book Cover
‘The Yorkshire Moors and Wolds’ Book by Mark Denton

A collection of wonderful panoramic Yorkshire images of Moors and Wolds. These are two very different landscapes separated by the Vale of Pickering and encompassing forests, remote farmlands, dramatic rocky landscapes and gently rolling hills.

The Beauty of Trees. Thixendale,Yorkshire Wolds. UK.


The Beauty of Trees. Thixendale,Yorkshire Wolds. UK. by Philip Ed CC BY-NC 2.0

Bridge Over Untroubled Water

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Underneath the arches in Leeds usually means the Dark Arches with bridges over the Aire and railway bridges over both. This is the bridge to the Calls on the Calder Aire navigation link.

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A view of the Leeds bridge cast ironwork in full painted regalia. Not big enough to require a Forth Bridge paint job.

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The Leeds Liverpool canal at Dockfield in Shipley has a packhorse bridge where the old Bradford canal joined.

beamsley wharfe bridge

Walking from Addingham up to Beamsley Beacon I crossed this footbridge over the river Wharfe.

Packhorse Bridges in Yorkshire

Built like a Packhorse bridge over the Leeds Liverpool canal this bridge has the traditional narrow, one horse wide masonry arch and low parapets so as not to interfere with the horse’s panniers. It is at the junction of the now defunct Bradford Canal and was opened in 1774. The canal and the bridge carried industrial revolution products too and from Bradford. Despite many problems with the water flow into the canal it was a commercial asset until it closed in 1922 due to the high cost of pumping water back to the head of the canal.

Pleasure craft now float under this fine old bridge heading towards Shipley.

The Roman fort of Olicana now known as Ilkley, once guarded this strategic crossing of the Wharfe, on the legion’s road to Boroughbridge (Aldborough). This packhorse bridge was built in 1674 close to the Roman built ford across the river Wharfe. It is an unusual bridge as it is wider than many packhorse bridges and would allow two loaded pack animals to pass on the bridge. It is closed to traffic but you can wheel a cycle across. Continue reading Packhorse Bridges in Yorkshire

What They Teach in Bradford History Classes

Forster Square - Post Office & Cathedral

A good Yorkshire education began with a Bradford wool merchant and Member of Parliament for Bradford in 1861. William Edward Forster was the son of a Quaker who was active in the anti slavery movement.

W E Forster moved to Bradford into premises that were eventually to become Swan Arcade sadly demolished. The business at Waterloo mills employed over 500 at it’s peak and W E Forster organised reading facilities and education classes for his workers that included children aged eight. The workers even enjoyed a ‘works trip’ to London from Apperley Bridge railway station when W E F was elected as a Member of Parliament.
In 1850 with his partner he purchase two cotton mills at Burley in Wharfedale and converted Greenholme Mills into a worsted manufacturer also employing upwards of 500 people.

15a - Swan Arcade, Bradford

After the 1868 General Election, William Gladstone appointed Forster as Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education. Forster therefore had responsibility for carrying through the House of Commons the 1870 Education Act. This role had the responsibility of providing some form of education for the hordes of industrial towns children who were not catered for before the act came into force. He set up school boards who had to make provision for schools in their area. Thus he earned the right to be called the father of universal elementary education.
It is for education that W E Forster is best known and he had Braford’s Forster Square and subsequently the Midland railway station named in his honour.

01 - Forster Square & Richard Oastler statue, Bradford (1890s)

From 1880 he was chief secretary for Ireland, and worked tirelessly on the Compensation for Disturbance Bill a task was made more difficult by the agitation which arose in consequence. ‘During the gloomy autumn and winter of 1880-81 Forster’s energy and devotion in grappling with the situation in Ireland were indefatigable, his labor was enormous, and the personal risks he ran were many: but he enjoyed the Irish character in spite of all obstacles, and inspired genuine admiration in all his coadjutors. On the 24th of January 1881 he introduced a new Coercion Bill in the House of Commons, to deal with the growth of the Land League.’ Read more about Home Rule for Ireland and Forsters part in the process.

W E Forster died in 1886, on the eve of the introduction of the Home Rule Bill, to which he was stoutly opposed and is buried in God’s Little Acre at Burlay in Wharfedale.

Village Cemetery
‘This looks like it may be a Victorian municipal graveyard. Its name is “God’s Acre Cemetery” and it is situated just north of Menston. There are a couple of churches in the vicinity but nothing immediately nearby. It’s a very pretty place.’

Photo credits
Forster Square – Post Office & Cathedral by Bradford Timeline CC BY-NC 2.0
15a – Swan Arcade, Bradford by Bradford Timeline
01 – Forster Square & Richard Oastler statue, Bradford (1890s) by Bradford Timeline all CC BY-NC 2.0
Village Cemetery by tj.blackwellCC BY-NC 2.0

Buckden Yorkshire Dales

Cycling Yorkshire Dales

Fork in the road in Buckden. To the right, Leyburn. To the left, a tough climb over Fleet Moss to Hawes

Cycling Yorkshire Dales

A Date with History

A Classic car driving through Buckden.
Although the village of Buckden was founded in Norman times, the village lies on the route of the roman road from Ilkley (Olicana) to Bainbridge (Virosidum) where the Romans had a fort.
The bridleway known as Buckden Rake follows the path of the roman road, heading up through Rakes Wood towards Cray and then over Stake Moss.
Following a visit in 1650 from George Fox the founder of the Quaker movement nearby Hubberholme became a Quaker meeting House
There is a Quaker burial ground adjacent to Scar House cottage.
Lead mining was an early local industry.

Continue reading Buckden Yorkshire Dales