Pateley Bridge – 30th June 2019

Strenuous Leader: Rob Rose                                                    Distance: 10.00 miles

From the village centre we go over the bridge on paths to Eagle Hall and then following the Nidderdale Way past Ladies Rigg, Hillend and Providence House, through quarries and over the Ashfield Beck.  When we come to Low Farm we turn north past Heathfield to arrive at Gouthwaite Reservoir. From here we walk to Wath bridge and then alongside the river back to Pateley bridge.

Moderate Leader: Peter Denton                                               Distance: 7.00 miles

We start our walk with a bit of a slog up hill to get out of the town so we can enjoy some very nice vistas of the valley. This is a very nice walk with some good photo opportunities. There is a large llama farm up there, they don’t seem as scary as cows, ha ha. After our Lunch we have a lovely riverside walk back into the town. I did encounter a couple of stiles, but nothing too horrific. Happy rambles.

Leisurely Leader: Dave Hatchard                                             Distance: 6.00 miles

We set off following the River Nidd towards Glasshouses. Then we make our way to White Houses Farm. We next travel to the hamlet of Blazefield, then head back along the panorama walk above the steep slopes of Ripley Bank and finally make our way back to Pateley Bridge. The walk follows paths fields and quiet back lanes. The walk is mostly flat with a hill near the end to enjoy the excellent views above Ripely Bank. There are 4 stiles in good condition.

Easy Leader: Irene Wilcox                                                         Distance: 5.50 miles

This is a lovely walk but it can be a bit muddy in places. With a little effort and some gentle climbs, the views are spectacular. We make our way along the Nidderdale Way to Merryfield Mines through delightful scenery, heading towards Low Wood Caravan Site. From there we head to Mosscar Farm, walking along a good track where lots of rabbits were running about. We now make our way back towards the main road back into Pateley Bridge.

Notes on the area

Pateley Bridge is a picturesque village and 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 several 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, which takes place on the first Monday after the 17th September, is now the Nidderdale Show, and the highlight of the year.

The present day parish church, was built in the 19th century, and is dedicated to St Cuthbert, but it has a bell which was 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 in1320 but this would have been made of wood. The present structure was built in the 18th century and was subsequently widened on one side. Beyond it is a pleasant little park with a playground for children, 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. These huge structures are made from sandstone laid down in desert conditions around 300 million years ago. The sandstone has been worn by wind and rain into truly fantastic shapes which have been given equally fantastic names including Indians Turban, Baboons 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 362acre 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.