Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire Sunday 2nd September 2012

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader: Jimmy Need (with Andrew’s help)   Distance: 10 miles

We leave Pateley Bridge and make our way to, and on, the Nidderdale Way which we will be following on and off throughout this walk. The first port of call will be Glasshouses, soon followed by Whitehouses. From here we make our way over some very nice lush fields and meadows to our lunch stop which I think you will like, weather permitting! After lunch we make our way to Summerbridge. From here it is a nice amble back alongside or just off the River Nidd.

Moderate Leader: Cynthia & David Prescott   Distance: 7.5 miles, 1000 ft height

This walk has clear tracks and quiet lanes along with field paths, and a lovely section of the Nidderdale Way. It begins with an uphill climb for the first 1.5 miles but most of this is fairly manageable for anyone fairly fit. The scenery is straight out of “Last of the Summer Wine”. We walk to the Providence Mine where we hope to stay for lunch as it is a pleasant spot next to the old mine workings and Ashfold Side Beck. The track then takes us up again and then back down to the stream and on through a caravan site. We then head up Grange Lane, and down quite a steep grassy bank to Wath Bridge. From here it is a pleasant level walk back to Pateley Bridge following paths near to the river, and back to the Park and the coach park. There are no problems with stiles on this walk.

Leisurely Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance: 6 miles

The walk takes us through the village of Bewerley, up to Yorke’s Folly, along to the radio mast and down through the woods to the village of Glasshouses, and finally along the riverside back to Pateley Bridge. The walk is varied, with some fine views as we go along lanes, up fields, through woods, along the edge of the moors, and then along the river bank. The downside is a bit of a climb up to the folly, but as the famous nursery rhyme goes ” ..once we are up we are up..”. There will be a bit of mud in the woods, but there are only a few stiles and the riverbank is a proper walkway.

Easy Leader: Joan McGlinchey & Margaret Black   Distance: 5 miles

As we start with a steep uphill walk, which will be taken gradually, we wish to set off straight from the coach. Walking up the high street we join a tree lined footpath leading up to the more level and aptly named Panorama Walk. After passing through the hamlet of Blazefield we continue across pleasant farm pasture, crossing a few walled stiles, and leading downhill to the River Nidd. The footpath here is narrow at first – well away from the river itself – but soon opens up onto a hardened surface leading through the Victorian industrial site of Glasshouses. Past the reservoir and back alongside the river into Pateley Bridge.

Notes On The Area

When the Yorkshire Dales National Park was designated in 1954 its eastern boundary was drawn to exclude Nidderdale, presumably because most of the valley above Pateley Bridge and the surrounding watershed of the Nidd, are associated with providing water for the City of Bradford, and as a result the reservoirs of Gouthwaite, Scar House and Angram impart a new element to the landscape which differentiates it from the other dales.

Pateley Bridge is the only route into Upper Nidderdale but it, and the small villages which surround it are well worth exploring. Tourists are well catered for and there are a number of well-appointed caravan sites. The Nidderdale Museum was opened in 1975. Run by local enthusiasts it occupies part of the former council offices opposite the parish church.

The name Pateley may derive from Pate, which is the old name for a badger, or perhaps from Patleia which means a path through the glade. Originally the main village was set high on the hillside near the ruined 14th century church of St Mary which was damaged during the Scots raids around 1318. In 1320 a market and a fair to be held on the Feast of St Mary was granted. This market has lapsed, but the Feast, the first Monday after the 17th September, is now the date of the Nidderdale Show, and the highlight of the year.

The present parish church, built in the 19th century, is dedicated to St Cuthbert, but it does have on view a bell brought to the town when Fountains Abbey was dissolved in the late 1530s. This now has a place of honour in the body of the church and its Latin inscriptions are clearly legible.

A bridge at Pateley was first mentioned in 1320 but this would have been made of wood, the present structure being built in the 18th century but subsequently widened on the upstream side. Beyond it is a pleasant little park with a children’s playground, tennis courts and bowling greens lending it an almost seaside atmosphere.

Brimham Rocks must be one of the most haunting geological formations to be found anywhere in the world – huge sandstone structures formed in desert conditions around 300 million years ago. Worn by wind and rain into truly fantastic shapes, the rocks have been given equally fantastic names including Indian’s Turban, Baboon’s Head, the Sphinx, Dancing Bear, Blacksmith and his Anvil, and the Druids Writing Desk. When visitors first began exploring this heather-clad area, the legend grew that they had been carved by the Druids. There are well-marked paths running among the rocks and, next to one called the Crocodile is Brimham House, now an Information Centre in which the local geology is explained. The 362 acre site is owned by the National Trust. From the trig point near Brimham House, 987 feet above sea level, there are splendid views, as well as many a stiff breeze. On a clear day one can see the Humber Estuary and York Minster.