When we were planning this current trip and deciding on Ripon I was eager to get out the Ordnance Survey maps and check out the places that were a “must visit”. For a long time Lynnie has wanted to visit Harrogate, so that will have to be included, but before that there are a couple of places that we want to revisit and rekindle old memories. Today it is Brimham Rocks.
It is only a short drive from West Leas Farm CL to the National Trust car park at Brimham Rocks. I have not been here since I was a nipper, when as a family we used to regularly holiday in Yorkshire with the Wilkinson’s. A trip to see the “Wilks’s’” often featured a day out at Brimham Rocks so the place holds fond memories.
It is odd how over the passage of time, almost fifty years in this case, some memories remain vivid and yet others from the era fade. I recall all eight of us loading into one car and going out for the day and I can remember how wonderful it was to play amongst the rocks. But I don’t recall thinking how impressive they were, or perhaps as a child I just accepted them as part of the landscape rather than something extraordinary.
Within minutes Lynnie is asking why I have never brought her here before, it is a truly amazing place.
The rocks, formed of Millstone Grit, have been eroded over centuries by glaciation, wind and rain. The result is an assortment of stunning outcrops.
We wander around for a while; it is all a bit organised with an information hut and a café. I don’t recall any of this from my childhood. There are plenty of families about. I hope that some of the youngsters will want to return when they are nearing retirement.
At moments like this I wonder where all the years have gone. Young Fred would have been clambering around the rocks, but now there is little chance of getting me climbing about.
Rather than wandering around whilst it is still relatively busy we decide to go for a walk and then explore the rocks when we get back.
There are a myriad of options for walking around the rocks, we choose a path that leaves the information area in a northeasterly direction gradually descending towards a track above High North Pasture Farm. On reaching the track we turn right and follow this along, enjoying fine views across the valley towards Pateley Moor, suddenly in the verge a few feet in front of us are a brood of pheasant chicks. The hen has taken cover and the youngsters are desperately trying to find a safe spot.
We give them a wide berth and continue along the track speculating about their fate in the coming months. After almost half a mile we reach a road and turn right. This road dissects Brimham Moor and alongside are clusters of rocks. I am sure that it was in an area like this that we pulled off the road and parked up when I was young. Nowadays that is not possible because a ditch has been dug to prevent cars stopping.
We take the second footpath on our left this leads down a track to Summer Wood House and then crosses a couple of fields to enter a copse. We continue down the track, crossing a beck that provides a welcome refreshment spot for the dogs.
Out of the woods we reach another farm track and turn right to gradually wend our way uphill. At a junction of paths we turn right onto the Nidderdale Way.
We pass through a gate and then on the edge of Brimham Moor encounter a stile with has no means of getting the dogs through. Crosby takes the initiative and is quickly on top of the wall and jumping down the other side. With help Dexter makes it to the top, but then stops to admire the view, waiting to be lifted off!
Our route continues straight across the moor until we reach the road and cross to go back into the National Trust car park. Our little wander has covered just over three and a half miles. Short by our standards but a very pleasant stroll.
Only a couple of cars remain in the car park, which was previously so busy and there is an hour before the gates are due to be locked so we head back to explore the main clusters of rocks.
The early evening views across Nidderdale are stunning.
This is definitely the best time of day to be here, with so few people about it has a very magical feel.
On returning to West Leas Farm CL we are soon planning tomorrow’s trip out whilst admiring a stunning sunset.
To follow this walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 298 –Nidderdale
20th June 2016
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2016)