Saturday 20 November 2021

Circular walk from Richmond Station via Easby Abbey

Family friendly walk setting off from The Station in Richmond

A visit to The Station in Richmond is a one-stop destination.  Its the perfect place to head to, regardless of the weather.  The Victorian station building has been creatively transformed into a restaurant / cafe, art gallery, cinema and independent shopping outlet but more of that later.  

Park up in the The Station carpark and walk along the front of the building to where the old railway line came into the station.

Follow the disused railway track through the trees.
The entire walk is easy, level going and very simple to follow.
Walk over the wide, wooden bridge that crosses the River Swale.

The path bears left following the river.

After approximately a mile (I'm sorry I didn't take note of the distance) the Parish Church of St Agatha and the abbey come into view.  The church is open and there is no charge to enter the abbey.
Follow the path round the corner and the gate to the abbey in on the right.
Easby Abbey, even in its ruined presence, is an astounding place to stumble upon.

Established 700 years ago but demolished & picked over since the mid 1500's the abbey is a feast for the imagination.

Although the old walls mustn't be climbed on, the abbey grounds are a lovely place for children to explore, to trigger their imaginations, to prompt questions and hopefully spark an interest in their history.  Bring a picnic and create your own story about the white canons of Easby however who knows what their young minds will conjure up? Click here to go to the English Heritage site Easby Abbey   

On leaving the abbey turn right along the tarmac road.  The path follows round behind Abbey Mill.

The footpath is clearly marked.  At the end of the path pass through a kissing gate into a field. Keep left along the edge of the field to a second kissing gate and a path that picks up the river once more.

Steps down to river if you want a brief detour.

The leaves this autumn have been crisp and deep and crunchy!

The path is easy to follow and a pleasant amble.  No map reading skills required just wander and wonder and enjoy!

After a short while and with the river flowing below, the view of Richmond Castle and the town opens up.

The path bears left between houses and meets the main road.  Turn left and walk over the bridge (see photo) and back to The Station.

The Station at Richmond has lots to offer The Station Richmond It has been cleverly designed to retain all the features of a Victorian station including the original platform, station seating & furniture, waiting room and ticket office.  By now you will be ready to put your feet up in the cafe. Or how about seeing a film in one of the three small cinema screens?  And if the weather has scuppered your plans to walk to Easby Abbey then Richmond Swimming Pool is directly opposite the station Richmond Swimming Pool 

So you see, visit The Station at Richmond - you can't go wrong!



Monday 8 November 2021

Walking from the doorstep - Pry House to Keld via Ravenseat and the C2C Path

Pry House to Keld via Ravenseat and the C2C Path

A walk from the doorstep of the farmhouse.

Its sometimes nice to put your pack on your back, leave the car behind and let your feet do the walking.  This walk from Pry House Farm follows the road to Ravenseat Farm and then picks up the Coast to Coast footpath to Keld.  Varied and diverse, it has become one of my favourites.

 Head west from Pry House Farm and turn right signposted Ravenseat.  This is a quiet, single track road and easy walking.

After a mile and a quarter Ravenseat Farm and hamlet comes into view.  Walk over the stone, packhorse bridge. Instead of walking up to the farm follow the path right towards Ravenseat Cottage.

Walk over the wooden footbridge. As you approach Ravenseat Cottage there is a fingerpost signposted Tan Hill and Keld.

Through the hinged gate and you are on the Coast to Coast footpath to Keld.

This is an easy walk to navigate as it is well signposted with stiles, gates for walkers, fingerposts, yellow waymarkers and several sections of flagged paths which have been laid by the Yorkshire Dales Rangers to prevent erosion of the peat paths.  Fabulous - no maps needed!

See Whitsundale Beck rushing along to meet the River Swale.

 A little further along keep a look out for Hoggarths and Pry House Farm. They are over to the right.   I like to see the farms from this angle - they look completely different.

After walking through pastures and moorland on paths, track and sheep trods, after passing disused cow'uses and derelict houses the track drops down past Smithy Holme.

Shortly after Smithy Holme and as the track drops steeply,  keep a sharp look out for a post with waymarker signs and a sign for Frith Lodge Bed & Breakfast both directing you left.

 This next section of the walk is the most intriguing and the most exciting.  The path is directly above the huge limestone scarr that rises above the river from Wainwath to the Old Smithy.  What you see and what you experience depends on the season. 

 From beating a track through a jungle of giant bracken ....
 .......  to enjoying the autumn colours

A glimpse of the river through a fracture in the limestone.



A cluster of brightly painted toadstools; a feast for the imagination, a fairytale in the making.

The path finishes half way up Silver Hill (the twisty, helter skelter hill that goes up to Tan Hill).  From here take the footpath directly opposite to East Stonesdale then down to Kisdon Force and up the steep  path into Keld village.  

Alternatively where the path meets Silver Hill turn right down the hill and at the junction with the B6270 turn left signposted Keld.  In Keld you will find the Keld Countryside & Heritage Centre, an unmaned visitor centre with some names and places you may recognise!  Keld has both a winter and summer tearoom and public loos!

Pry House via Ravenseat and the path as described above is 4 1/2 miles.  To return to Pry House by the road is 2 miles.
If you prefer a more scenic route back to Pry House then I suggest you walk onto Angram and take the moorland path back to Hoggarth Bridge.  In Angram, at the telephone box, walk up the lane a short way.  Look out for a fingerpost on your right pointing you in the right direction. 

 Click on the link for details but don't forget this blog describes the walk from Hoggarths Bridge to Angram and you are doing it in reverse!  However it will give you an idea of the lie of the land and like most walks if you follow the tracks and stiles - you can't go far wrong.  Enjoy!



Wednesday 11 August 2021

Beyond the Buttermart - Barnard Castle

 Beyond the Buttermarket in Barnard Castle

The Buttermart or Market Cross in Barnard Castle is an iconic landmark in the town. The Buttermart, as the name  suggests, was once used as a market place for butter and dairy products.  The enclosed building above the veranda was once a jail but the golden weather vane at the very top can lay claim the most interesting story.  The two holes in the vane were made by bullets, fired in response to a challenge in 1804.  Two local marksmen took aim and fired from the door of the Turk's Head -  a range of 100 yards!  Barnard Castle is just over the North Yorkshire / Co Durham border and makes a great day out when staying at Pry House Farm or Hillcrest Cottage. 


But what lies beyond the Buttermart?  Beyond the Buttermart is called The Bank.  The Bank, for many years, has been well known for its many antique shops. Infact you will still find half a dozen excellent antique shops to browse and enjoy.  However it doesn't stop there. 
Beyond the Buttermart is fast becoming the Artisan quarter in Barnard Castle.  Several new shops selling an ecclectic range of goods have now opened their door including The Hand Crafter's Hub who support local art and crafters

The Old Curiosity Shop, home of David Harper Arts, is full of unusual finds.  Colourful and quirky, its one of Beyond the Buttermart's 'must call in shops' 

The Antique Centre at the bottom of The Bank is divided into small spaces for individual dealers to sell their wares.  Robson's Antiques is the oldest established antique shop on The Bank.

Without doubt, the most impressive, intriguing and interesting building in the whole of Barnard Castle is Blaygraves House.  Not only the oldest house in the town but one of the most historic, from rafters to cellars.  This 15th century building has links with Richard 111, the princes in the tower and Oliver Cromwell, who lodged and dined here. Its attics were once a brewery and its cellars or dungeons are reputed to have had a passageway leading to Egglestone Abbey or The Castle itself. Who made their escape via this passageway, I wonder?
Today Blaygraves House is a fine restaurant serving the very best food in historic surroundings.

Sitting comfortably amongst the antique & collectable shops is Claire International Ltd bespoke knitwear, Tinkerdog Computers and Connelly's Toyshop.  Connelly's seems to be have on The Bank forever, an independent toy shop selling traditional & modern toys and baby goods and still as much in demand as when my children were small  If you are having computer problems then Ben at Tinkerdog is your man.  So knowledgeable, so nice - he will have you fixed and away in no time

Of course there is more to Barnard Castle than Beyond the Bank.  The Bowes Museum is internationally renowned and holds exceptional exhibitions, artwork, ceramics and events  The Castle itself is well worth a visit.  Sitting on a high rock on the edge of the town but only a minutes walk from the market place, the castle ruins and grounds make the perfect escape from the busy shops, cafes and eateries 

Whatever you choose to do when you visit Barnard Castle you are guaranteed a great day out.  Town trail maps can be found in the bed & breakfast and Hillcrest Cottage and all the shops in Barney.  Have a good time!