Fascinating Facts about the River Nidd

Old Stone Bridge

Geographic Facts

  • 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.
  • See Knaresborough viaduct

Cattal Bridge

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.

DSCF3617

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.

Credits

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

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