The Yorkshire Dales--- Bolton Abbey.

The Yorkshire dales plays host to some of the most beautiful countryside that the north of England has to offer. In the first of this series I visit The Bolton Abbey Estate.


This foray took me along the M6 motorway north to the Preston/Blackburn turn off at junction 31.Following the signs for Blackburn and Clitheroe I soon joined the A59, which I was to stay on ,for the greater part of my journey to The Bolton Abbey estate at Wharfedale in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

Continuing along the A59, following now the signs for Skipton, I eventually passed Pendle Hill, famed for its witches in archaic times.    photo-Dal

The mysterious Pendle hill on a misty morning.

My destination was much further along the A59 heading towards Harrogate. The sign post for Bolton Abbey is clearly marked. The village is accessed via a B road. Ignoring the car park on the left as I entered the village I continued along the lane which carried me under a narrow bridge and up the hill. The main driveway to the estate is on the right. Close to the end of this descending drive way you are required to stop by a hut to pay an entrance fee. This fee allows entry on to the riverside car parking area. Turning right at the bottom of the drive there is an almost never ending  riverside car parking area. The river Wharfe runs through the estate which will be described in greater detail below. The reason that one has to turn right at the bottom of the driveway is a barrier that prohibits public vehicle access. However, pedestrian access is allowed, to enter an area much utilised by the visiting public. This area consists of the Cavendish Pavilion, built in 1889 that underwent a full refurbishment in the 1980s. The pavilion is licensed to sell alcohol should one wish. It also provides a great service in the way of food and refreshment. You may dine in doors or at the tables provided at the front of the building, or as I chose to do, carry your meal across on to the grassland at the side of the river. Picnic tables are situated here. There is also a gift shop next door and excellent toilet facilities that are kept immaculately clean.                                                                                           photo-Dal                                       

The Cavendish Pavilion a much utilised venue.

 Just past the gift shop there is a hard core path {suitable for wheelchairs} that takes you along the riverside through some of the finest woodland the estate has to offer. The river Wharfe is to the right hand side of the pathway while the main woodland is rooted on a steep bank that rises high above the river. Across the river glimpses of the surrounding fells may be observed through the gaps in the trees that enhance this natural beauty.

The path on which I journeyed is part of the Strid Wood nature trail which signs various walks allowing the choice of varying degrees of difficulty and length. It is a locality I have often visited, however, it still makes my naturalists spine tingle. This particular foray was undertaken in Spring and as I entered the woodland I was greeted with a carpet of wood anemones, also called wind flowers, they were scattered like snow along the woodland floor.

 Little babbling brooks cascade from high up the slopes tumbling over large moss covered pebbles before passing under the pathway and falling away to the river on the opposite side.---photos--Dal

Arrow shaped Arum leaves rise up on long stalks responding to the call of spring, as birds flit among the lofty boughs above. Opposite leaved saxifrage tenanted the banking their yellow green flowers competing with dogs mercury for space. From the track to the summit of the slope the foliage of wild garlic {ramsons} form a dense pungent carpet which stretches for hundreds of yards. It delights to grow in damp situations, hedges, shady damp meadows and riverside localities. The active ingredients of the plant include essential oils, vitamin C and iron.

TOP--photograph arum leaves. middle wild garlic foliage bottom the flowers of the golden saxifrage and the foliage of dog's mercury.

While walking through this natural wonderland the sound of the river serenaded me. The flap and plop of the wavelets hitting the bank while the main body of water gushed over sunlit rocks it was a soothing sound yet stimulating. In the depth of the water with its caverns of shade and dappled light, long strands of emerald green vegetation among which the trout lie.

Prickled along the bank----

Were small forests of forget-me-nots.A more idyllic setting I can not imagine. The opportunities for walkers is almost limitless from woodland, river,and fells. It is estimated that there are over 80 miles of footpaths in this region alone. 

The Strid wood is named after the amazing Strid, a place where the river becomes suddenly narrow and water gushes with great force, a deep thundering channel.The Strid was formed by the wearing away the softer rock by means of a circular motion of small stones in hollows forming a series of pot holes which in time linked together. This formed a deep water filled chasm. The strid takes its name from the belief that the channel was a stride wide. However, it is much wider than it looks and the rocks tend to be treacherous  to the unwary. One slip can lead to fatalities. It is a wonder of nature that needs to be given the greatest respect.


Back in the locality of the Cavendish Pavilion, there is,directly opposite, a bridge that crosses the river allowing walks along the opposite bank and access to the fells at various points.However,staying on the side of the car parking region you may walk down the side of the river . This is the popular side for most people where barbeques are common place competing with picnic blankets spread out over the grassland.


After walking for about a quarter of a mile or so we come across a gate that allows access on to a large meadow, created by the river  forming a huge bend as it meanders along. From this meadow the old ruins of the famous priory can be observed. It is possible to get to the ruins from various locations. The ruins are what remain of a 12th century priory..

Set in such natural beauty  it is worth the journey alone. 

Photographs on this page by Dal

Thank you for visiting.