Pateley Bridge and Brimham Rocks 9 March 2017

Posted by Geoff Wall on 2017-03-25
March 9th – Pateley Bridge and Brimham Rocks
We started out as a party of 8, but by mischance but good luck bumped into David as we were approaching Brimham Rocks.  He had arrived late at the Car Park and had decided to go for a walk in the general direction of the Rocks, so we were well met.
After a number of good natured jibes at the leader for not knowing his left from his right, following a “whoops” in my E mail about parking arrangements, we set off in the correct direction to get onto our route.  The Nidderdale Way is a circular walk up and down the Dale and so, at Pateley Bridge, it follows the high ground on both sides of the valley. We touched on the Way in both the morning and afternoon parts of the walk. 
We started by walking through the pleasant village of Bewerley which dates back in part to the time when the Yorke family were important landowners in the area and owned Bewerley Hall – now demolished.  We climbed steeply up to the ridge that runs along the south side of the valley, leaving a quiet road and climbing through Guisecliff Woods and past Yorke’s Folly. This had been built in the form of ruined Cathedral Arches or Stoops at the end of the 18th Century as an employment scheme at a time of agricultural depression.  It is in a lovely spot with great views up and down the dale.  There are only two stoops now, the third fell down at the end of the 19th Century. The distant views continued as we followed the way up to the communications mast , then down through fields to cross the Nidd near Harewell Hall Farm. There was plenty of water in the river, a reminder of recent rain.
We climbed again past the interesting old Mill Buildings and Knox Hall towards Smelthouses, and up the bridle way towards Brimham Rocks – it was here we met David coming the other way!
Lunch was taken at the rocks.  The day had been fine, if a little breezy at first. A super spring-like day that lasted into the afternoon without ever turning cold. The Rocks gave us a chance to let our imaginations run wild, and lots of “obvious” shapes were spotted and identified, with varying degrees of support from the party as to the reasoning for our various ideas.
At this point in the walk we were at the highpoint of our trip along the northern edge of the valley and we made our way over rather muddy ground through the side dale containing Fell Beck and back onto the Nidderdale Way to return up the main Dale to Pateley Bridge.  The route on OS Maps had measured 10 miles – but with the ups and downs it felt a little longer.  Those with a bit of time on their hands had chance to try one of the very many tea shops in this lovely town before setting off in the late afternoon sun back home.
Geoff Wall
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