The Gems of Bewerley Village, Nidderdale

After discovering some interesting facts about this beautiful village we climb to join the Nidderdale Way before returning via field and woodland paths.
Start: Pateley Bridge, Bus Stand 10.50
Finish: Pateley Bridge approx. 15.30
Distance/Grading: 4.5 miles / Easy to Moderate

Last Sunday's walk

Nidderdale is my new favourite rambling region so I was happy to join fellow members and supporters of The Dalesbus Ramblers last Sunday for a shortish walk full of interest.

From Pateley Bridge it was a short walk to Bewerley where we stopped to study the local stone mason’s work – a depiction of the major features of the village carved in stone.

Stone carving of Bewerley

The Stone Mason’s Work. Frank explains the Latin Motto.

“soli deo honor et gloria” Honour and Glory to the only God.

Yorkes Folly picked out

Yorkes Folly picked out in stone


Leaving Yorke's Folly

Yorkes Folly for real (on a previous walk)

“Built around 1810 the folly was constructed by labourers working for John Yorke of Bewerley Hall. He commissioned the folly during a depression to keep his labourers in work and above the poverty line. Each labourer was paid a shilling a day and an loaf of bread. The folly was known as Three Stoops until a violent storm during the night of 17th November 1893 blew one of the towers down. Today it is known locally as the Two Stoops.” [Information Board at the folly]

Further along through the village we arrived at The Chapel of Ease.

“A small grange chapel of Fountains Abbey built by Marmaduke Huby which has remained intact. The Chapel was fully restored for worship in 1965. The chapel is open during daylight hours. We have services on the first and third Sundays of the month at 9am.”

Latin motto

Our leader Frank showed us the Latin motto on the exterior rear wall of the Chapel and Marmaduke Huby’s initials carved on the wall and in the windows.

Chapel window


MH window


MH on windows and walls

From the Chapel we hurried along to meet, as arranged, the owner, Dr Peter Brambleby, of Fishpond Wood. We had a guided tour through the wood which Dr B called his “Natural Health Service”.

Peter says one of his priorities will be to support educational use, and especially to encourage a love and respect for nature amongst children. He has already entered into an agreement to permit the Bewerley Park centre for Outdoor Education to use the area to the east of the public footpath and pond.

Woodland, like much of the English countryside, is shaped by generations of active management, and Fishpond Wood is no different. It will benefit from thinning out of invasive rhododendrons, from planting young trees to renew the aging stock, and from restoration of the pond, paths and walls.” Read more about Peter’s work and plans here.

Ice House

The Recently Rediscovered Ice House – we were able to go in and look down at its full depth


The Fishpond


Improved Footpaths through the Woods

Dr Brambleby showed us the route out of the wood and we were soon climbing up, up, up steadily before the walk levelled out and we crossed the busy B6265 and descended to The Nidderdale Way and thence back to Pateley Bridge.




Villages and Churches of Upper Nidderdale, Part 2

Subtitled : Learn some of the history of the villages of Upper Nidderdale.

Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome to another year of rambles (in more senses than one!)

Arriving at Ramsgill

Dalesbus arriving at Ramsgill in Nidderdale

Such a pity that I missed Part 1! But I had never heard of Dalesbus Ramblers when that walk took place. At the end of last year I discovered walking with the Friends of the Settle – Carlisle Line and one the leaders told me about Dalesbus Ramblers so today I drove to Harrogate and joined my first walk with that particular group. With my new Metro Concession Bus Pass I enjoyed free travel from Harrogate up through Nidderdale where the group assembled for the walk:

Learn some of the history of the villages of Upper Nidderdale.
Start: Ramsgill: 11.05
Finish: Pateley Bridge: Approx: 14.20
Distance/Grading: 5 miles / Moderate
TRAVEL: Outward: Bus 823/825 from York (08.58), Tadcaster (09.20), Wetherby (09.40), Harrogate (10.05) and Pateley Bridge (10.50). Connections on bus 36 from Leeds (09.15) to Harrogate or Ripon (09.45) to Ripley.
Return: Bus 24 to Harrogate for onward connections.
Walk Leaders: Duncan & Brenda: 0796 951 2743

Naturally, our first church call was at St Mary the Virgin, Ramsgill just across the road from the bus stop.

St Mary's Ramsgill

St Mary the Virgin, Ramsgill

Most of the 20 or so houses in Ramsgill were built in the 19th century and the church was built in 1899 but on the much older site of a grange of Easby Abbey. The remains of the Abbey buildings are  behind the present church.

Easby grange

Remains of Easby Grange, Ramsgill

We also found out that Ramsgill had been one of the film locations for the 1997 movie ‘Fairy Tale: a true story‘ about the two little girls in Cottingley, near Bradford, who in 1917 took a photograph believed by some to be the first scientific evidence of the existence of fairies [The Cottingley Fairies]. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was one of those who believed this to be true.

Ramsgill scenes :

Village Hall

Ramsgill Village Hall

Ramsgill Houses

Ramsgill Houses

Yorke Arms

The Yorke Arms, Ramsgill

So we moved from Ramsgill to Bouthwaite where we came across our second church – the Wesley Chapel built in 1890 and joined the Nidderdale Way down to Pateley Bridge.

Bouthwaite chapel

Bouthwaite Chapel


Wesley Chapel, Bouthwaite

Ramsgill and Bouthwaite lie less than a mile apart at the head of Gouthwaite Reservoir. Our walk continued down the valley parallel with the reservoir and mostly overlooking it as far as Wath which lies at the southern end of the 3 mile long body of water.

Gouthwaite 1

Gouthwaite Reservoir lunch stop

Gouthwaite 2

Looking back up Gouthwaite

Gouthwaite 3

Gouthwaite and the Nidderdale Way

Gouthwaite 4

Gouthwaite Dam

The small Wesleyan chapel at Wath seats just 50 and has 5 walls. It also has links with Rudyard Kipling whose grandfather was once minister here.

Wath chapel

Walkers stop at Wath Chapel

Wath and chapel

Wath and Chapel

From Wath our path joined the trackbed of the former Nidderdale Light Railway to our destination Pateley Bridge where there was just time to have a well-deserved cuppa before catching our return bus to Harrogate. The Dalesbus system, which operates on Sundays with limited winter timetables, enables walkers and others to reach more remote and beautiful areas in North Yorkshire and I hope to make more such excursions during the year.

Old rail track

The track of the former Nidderdale Railway track approaching Pateley Bridge