The river Nidd is about 50 miles long rising on Great Whernside and flowing to become a tributary of the Ouse near the site of the battle of Marston Moor. It is the fourth longest of Yorkshires nine rivers
The Nidd flows through Pateley Bridge, Glasshouses, Knaresborough, Summerbridge and Ripley crossing the A1 at Walshford. It is no surprise the villages and towns often include the word ‘bridge’ or ‘ford’
The upper valley of Nidderdale is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Nidd feeds three notable reservoirs, Angram, Scar House and Gouthwaite Reservoir.
In dry weather the Nidd can disappear underground into the sink hole known as Manchester Hole returning at Goyden Pot.
The Nidd Gorge stretches from the Nidd viaduct at Bilton to Grimbald Bridge, just south of Knaresborough. It is noted for being home to many birds, butterflies and several species of Ladybirds.
Places to visit enroute
Stump Cross Caverns are noted limestone caves containing formations of stalactites and stalagmites
How Stean Gorge is a good base for outdoor activities.
Brimham Rocks is an amazing collection of natural rock formations managed by the National Trust in the Nidderdale area of ONB.
Beningbrough Hall near the river Ouse is home to more than 100 portraits and has extensive grounds.
Ripley Castle near Knaresborough is on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park with a historic garden in a neat village.
Mother Shiptons at Knaresborough is the former home of the famous prophetess and the petrifying well . It first started charging vistors in 1630 but I bet prices have change over almost 5oo years.
Moor Monkton and Nun Monkton have historic importance rather than natural or man made beauty but are worth a visit
The River is reputed to be good to fly fish for brown trout and grayling.
Before reaching Nun Monkton and joining the Ouse, the river Nidd at Cattal is deep and quite still. This is in contrast to the crossing the Romans developed lower down stream where it was shallower and wider. This is probably where the thirteenth century ford existed.
The present bridge is just over 200 year old with 3 segmental arches with pointed cutwaters which rise to the top of the parapets.
Twice in the last 150 years large blocks of ice were brought down with spring flood water. The ice weighed over a ton and in one instance destroyed the bridge one mile up stream at Hunsingore. The Cattal bridge survived the ice which was broken up by the local blacksmith.
Cattal in History
The Roman road that goes through Cattal runs between Tadcaster and Boroughbridge.
Cattal Bridge is one of the few places to cross the River Nidd.
In the 18th century Colonel Thornton a local landowner raised the Yorkshire Blues against the Young Pretender with the help of Blind Jack of Knaresborough. Blind Jack lost his sight after contracting smallpox aged six but became a hunter,local musician and road builder of some renown. Blind Jack was a military musician and recruiting sergeant for Colonel Thornton who led the Yorkshire Blues at Culloden.
Despite being a small village it is served by Cattal railway station, just to the north, on the Harrogate line.
Dave Bunnell showing the most common speleothems. CC BY-SA 2.5
Old Stone Bridge by tj.blackwell CC BY-NC 2.0 DSCF3617 by Chris Parker, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The river Wharfe in Spring looking from Castley to Pool In Wharfedale
Crossing the Lower Wharfe since the doomsday book times in 1086 has been no mean feat despite fords at Knots Ford and probably Pool where the bridge now stands. Pool bridge was built in 1793 and widened in 1815 and it seems there have been road works there ever since. The volume of water after rain in the dales is massive and has led to flooding many times in near by Castley. Over the years the volume of water must be staggering. This water has been the core of industry at Pool in Wharfedale since the reformation. The original wool mill dated 1673 was swept away with Pool Low Fulling Mill and two bridges. Paper mills (that use lots of water) were built in the 18th century and this trade has been carried on by the Whiteley family and others ever since. A Flour mill was also operated along side the river but the village was located 200 yards away for fear of flooding.
A mile to the east of Pool in Wharfedale on the south side of Wharfedale lies Arthington where records of the Priory go back to 1271 and the then prioress, Sara. Other Cluniac nuns in charge included Maud de Kesewik died 1299, Agnes de Pontefract 1302, Isabella de Berghby 1311 (demoted after leaving from the priory without permission), Sibil Plesyngton 1437, Marjorie Craven 1463, Alice Hall 1496 and Elizabeth Hall 1532. The Priory was surrendered in 1540 to Thomas Cranmer. more history Staircase Lane running from Bramhope through Arthington to Pool is the place of a ghost story based on a wager with a member of the Dyneley family. Whilst galloping his horse down the staircase he was thrown and killed. The ghostly hooves can still be heard today!
The roads of Old Pool Bank and Pool Bank up to the Dyneley Arms have been the cause of many over-heated car engines and traffic jams as vehicles climbed out of the valley up to Yeadon Airport. These are the main roads between Bradford and Harrogate with other Wharfe crossings at Otley and Harewood. In the village near St Wilfrids church there was a blacksmith and wooden stocks whilst in Arthington there were kilns and forges. There are a couple of pubs, an active village hall and local cricket and football teams.
One of the big annual events approaching Christmas time is the visit of Santa Clause helped by gnomes from Otley Lions on the sleigh.
Fork in the road in Buckden. To the right, Leyburn. To the left, a tough climb over Fleet Moss to Hawes
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.
Not all the wonderful barns of the Yorkshire Dales have been converted in to holiday lets or cottage homes. These distinctive, rustic almost run-down but utilitarian structures still abound. Originally erected in 18th and 19th centuries many of these barns were built, to store hay near the point of use and were called Laithes, or as Hogg Houses (Hoggs are young sheep) to overwinter the sheep. Tudor Tythe barns still exist at Riddlesden Hall Keighley and Botton Abbey.
The Yorkshire National Park Authority’s Planning Committee have approved the temporary use of a free-standing ‘eco-pod’ inside an isolated barn on the Bolton Abbey estate near Skipton. Yorkshire Forward are supporting this and other conservation measures to protect the 2000 odd barns that are suffering from dereliction.
The National Trust owns Town Head Barn Malham and this 18th century barn has been restored it to its original condition when it would have been used to house overwintering cattle and hay to feed them. It is located on the edge of the village next to its farm and is therefore a rare survival. Most village barns in the Dales have been sold off for house conversions.
Barns of the Yorkshire Dales by Andy Singleton & David Joy is prefaced by Bill Bryson “‘Many of the best of England’s barns are in the Dales. So it is wonderful to see a book celebrating, with wit and affection and penetrating historical insight, the Dales barn in all its undersung glory. This truly is a delightful and valuable book – almost as good, in fact, as the barns themselves.’ ”
Barn at Burnsall
Mark Banks Dales Barn series
Main photograph at Hardwick House looking towards Nesfield and Beamsley Beacon.
Farndale, aka ‘Daffodil Valley’ by virtue of the ‘Lenten Lilies’ which carpet the valley floor in a sea of yellow each spring. The Daffodils, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, were probably brought to the valley and Douthwaitedale by 12th century Monks and got the old name Lenten Lily from the fact they normally bloom around Easter, a little later than most British Daffodils. If you are not worried by crowds then a weekend trip at the end of March or April will repay your perseverance. Because of the cold weather this year you may find a warmer and quieter time to visit will be mid-week mid-to late April.
Walking The Dove and Farndale
If you are not on your bike ‘Walking world’ has a range of interesting walks including Church houses in Farndale on this site. Wikipedia’s entry for Farndale must have been written by a southerner who dislikes moorland as ‘Farndale is surrounded by some of the most inhospitable moorland in England, and is sandwiched between Bransdale and Rosedale. …… Around the north of Farndale, is the track bed of the old Rosedale Ironstone Railway which forms part of two Long Distance Footpaths these being Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk and The Lyke Wake Walk’. Well they are right about walking so forgive and forget. There are many fine walks along the banks of the river Dove starting at the small hamlet of Low Mill where a nearby field is used to accommodate the hundreds of cars which arrive during the daffodil season.
Tea Rooms and Refreshments
Refreshments are available at the Daffy Caffy at High Mill and the Feversham Arms Inn at Church Houses. The “Daffy Caffy” cafe tearoom is situated on the well known daffodil walk in beautiful Farndale, North Yorkshire, England. The scenery and walking is quite magnificent, whether it be along the river or climbing up to Rudland Rigg on the North York Moors. In the hamlet of Church Houses, Farndale, the Feversham Arms ‘serves good food and beer for the passing walker’. Just up the road is St Mary’s Church a small moors village church built in 1831 and well worth a visit even when the Daffodils have gone.
Other Village Activities
Alt country bands, renown folk singers and even Yorkshire Countrywomens Associations use the Band Room in Farndale variously described as ‘England’s tiniest major venue,’ ‘The greatest small venue on Earth,’ and ‘a corrugated iron shed in the middle of nowhere.’ There is a big gig no 29th August 2010 the night before the 103rd Farndale Show staring Megafaun ( I will say that a bit louder). Built for the Farndale Silver Band in the 1920s this 100-capacity wooden building adds atmosphere to most performances if you can get a ticket.
Picking Daffodils is not an activity that can be pursued as Farndale is now a protected Nature Reserve. Leave the flowers for others to see and the seeds to reproduce naturally.
Nostalgia is not what it used to be except in Yorkshire where you can see old railways like the one that runs from Embsay to Bolton Abbey. Of course you can also see the National Railway Museum and many working steam railways. So like Beeching’s axed railways, nostalgia is making a comeback.
This is Embsay Moor between Bolton Abbey and Embsay. It is looking north in the direction of Grassington. To the south of this photo is the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway which is run by enthusiasts for tourists and train enthusiasts. It is a beautiful part of the county, though an open cast mine diminishes the beauty of the view to the south.
Steam engine services run throughout the year on Sundays. In the summer, train services run every week. For timetable details see: Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway
For children there is the Embsay Tank Engine Club.
Embsay Tank Engine Club is an organisation for young visitors to the railway to join. The club is ideally suited for all children of all ages. On offer to members of the club are:
• free travel (on normal operating days – see our timetable for dates.)
• cheap tickets (on special event days)
For the shoppers in the family the market town of Skipton is close enough to spend a fortune, or miles away if you want to avoid the missus spending too much. Photo Credits
Bolton Abbey Railway Station by Bods CC BY-SA 2.0
Embsay Station by reinholdbehringer CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Embsay Station by Helen Olney CC BY 2.0
One of our favourite Yorkshire Dales walks is through the lower Wharfe valley between Bolton Abbey and Burnsall. The walk along the river is relatively easy and is surrounded by the dramatic high fells of Burnsall. Along the route there is much interest from the ruins of Bolton Priory to Barden Castle and the beautiful village of Burnsall.
Points of Interest along the way
Look out for the disused railway viaduct and disused railway
Valley of Desolation near Cavendish pavilion
Simons Seat is a good hill walk from the valley floor
The Dales way runs (or walks) through Bolton Abbey
Strid woods have colour coded walks and lead to the dangerous Strid where several people have drowned trying to cross the river.
It is also worth taking a detour away from the river and climb, at least part of the fell to get a breathtaking view along the valley.
There is no shortage of cafes and pubs along the way for refreshments. Buffers Back o’ th’ Hill Farm, Storiths, Bolton Abbey is in a converted barn and shippon, built in 1633 which now houses the Coffee Shop and Railway Gallery. The cafe at Burnsall offers an excellent array of traditional cafe fayre with home made cakes.