March 2016. Loving Yorkshire and after an emotional 4 months with my Father-in-Laws declining heath and passing, Hubby and I decided on a day out to recharge our batteries in our favourite area of Wensleydale. We dragged along our Teenage Student too for the fresh air, because he likes the area as much as we do.
As often happens in our home, we left late. Although ‘Ethel’ our trusty phone satnav said that our chosen route was clear, we had delays. Our plan for an easy 3 hour drive, arriving at lunchtime in the pretty village of Carperby wasn’t to be. Scuppered by the M1/A1 delays, we changed plans and arrived at Castle Bolton in Wensleydale at 2.30pm.
We planned a 6 mile walk, taking in Bolton Castle, its pretty little dales village and the stunning waterfalls at Aysgarth and back via Carperby, walking back to the castle across Bolton Moor.
Castle Bolton stands on the North side of Wensleydale with a great view over the valley, catching the sun all day long.
Since we were last there, they have introduced some ‘beasties’ up by the the car park: 10-12 Wild Boar with gorgeous long brown coats snuffling in the mud who came to say hello.
We left the castle behind and walked off down the hill. A fallen tree trunk was on the left, which has been skillfully carved into a dragon who has feasted on a Knight!
Shortly after, we left the road to walk across the fields to Aysgarth Falls. We passed across the now defunct railway line, several fields and across to another farm. We picked up a pleasant track which took us down to the Freeholders Woods.
There were lots of catkins on the trees. We had a scramble down to the river bank though a very narrow gap in the rocks. This rock is a perfect handhold and has been worn smooth and black by centuries of human use.
When the river is low the limestone plates makes for a great place for a picnic.
We spent a while here taking photographs. Experimenting with shutter speeds, ISO and aperture settings until we got really cold. It was time to make a move as we were still not quite halfway through our walk.
We turned away from the river and the thundering Lower Falls to walk through the wood. On your left is the entrance to the car park and National Park Centre and public conveniences. Walking up the road, under the old railway bridge you soon come to a gate on the right back into the woods. Taking a route back across and slightly climbing the valley across to the village of Carperby. While walking through the wood my hubby caught sight of these tiny wild primroses.
I saw my first lambs of the year too.
From Carperby, we found the footpath that led up onto Bolton Moor. From here, it was almost a straight line’s walk across the pastures, up the valley side and back to Bolton Castle. By now, the light was fading, we crossed several little streams like this one burbling away – I love that sound!
We got to a stile and took some selfie photos, turned around and discovered we had a ‘Welcoming Committee’, a couple rather inquisitive local sheep!
We just made it back to the car park in the last few minutes of dusk. The Wild Boar on hearing us, set up a creepy, eerie grunting and roaring sound, quite enough in the dark to give you the heebejeebies.
(All photographs are (c) to Sally-Jane and may not be used in any way without prior permission.)
More information about places to stay, eat and local attractions.
www.wheatsheafinwensleydale.co.uk Bar, Food, Accommodation
The Wheatsheaf is a 19th century country inn in the pretty village of Carperby. In 1941 James Herriot took his honeymoon here. There is a friendly bar and restaurant with a good choice of local beer and food.
www.georgeanddragonaysgarth.co.uk Bar, Food, Accommodation.
A 17th Century Coaching Inn, located in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, near the spectacular Aysgarth falls.
www.boltoncastle.co.uk Visitor attraction, Castle, Falconry, Wild Boar.
Bolton Castle, built as one of the finest and most luxurious medieval homes in the land and is still one of the best preserved castles of it’s time. It bears the scars of over 600 years of fascinating history.
The castle is privately owned by Lord Bolton, the direct descendant of the castle’s original owner Sir Richard le Scrope.
www.yorkshire-dales.com/aysgarth-falls The River Ure descends over a series of broad limestone waterfalls, known as Aysgarth Falls, although not particularly high, the falls are one of Wensleydale’s most famous beauty spots. There is a pleasant riverside walk linking the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. Car parking and toilets are available at the National Park centre.
www.lawsons–studio.co.uk A charming 18th century holiday cottage in the conservation village of Castle Bolton, ‘Lawson’s Studio’ has a picturesque view of Wensleydale. Nestled alongside the village green and facing South, this quirky former artist’s studio enjoys stunning panoramas. The spectacular medieval fortress of Bolton Castle is only 200 yards along the lane and viewable from the lounge.