Posts Tagged ‘Wensleydale’

Aysgarth Falls

January 21, 2015

Today I am returning to our holiday in Yorkshire which was at the end of November last year. We seemed to go in for waterfalls and this included the falls at Aysgarth.

Aysgarth Falls are in Wensleydale which means it is the waters of the River Ure which are tumbling down here. The Ure is quite a big river which means an impressive amount of water makes its way over a sequence of falls. None of the falls are that high and, we gather, in dry seasons the flow reduces to little more than a trickle. But these falls are a tourist honeypot, probably due to good communications – in the past. Even now there is a big carpark (charging big carpark prices) and a visitor centre with associated tea room. But the popularity of the falls probably stems from the adjacent Aysgarth Railway Station which we have already seen on this blog (click here).

We stayed in Carperby and that was no more than a mile away from the falls – a delightful walk through what I call ‘stone country’. We’ve looked at that before as well (click here).

On that occasion we did end up seeing two of the falls at Aysgarth.

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Not much height but plenty of water make this impressive.

A couple of other tourists give this some scale.

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Being a tourist site, this is laid out with firm paths, steps and safety fences.

You walk a bit further to reach the lowest fall and things get a little less well trodden and just a tad wilder.

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You can get close up to the fall here.

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Now my unsolved question. Maybe you have an answer. The water looks much like churned up water on the more level sections. Why does it look so brown on the tumble?

These falls were well worth the visit but for us the walk from and back to Carperby was also very lovely.

England’s tallest waterfall

December 18, 2014

Those people who have travelled the world and seen some of the most dramatic falls there are – Niagara, Victoria etc. – may not think much of little Hardraw Force. But I say give it a chance and prepare to enjoy a cascade, dramatic in its own way. Like many falls, it may be better in winter when there has been rain than it would be in a long dry summer. I saw it on 25th November 2014 and there was plenty of water about.

Hardraw Force is privately owned and in the off season the entrance is via the Green Dragon pub in the village of Hardraw.

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The sign is entertaining.

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So D Mark Thompson is an innkeeper and waterfall provider.

When you step into the pub, you are transported back a couple of generations. It was mid-afternoon but a roaring fire was lit in the small bar area. It’s worth the visit just to experience the pub.

They charge a small fee, but they provide easy footpath access with picnic benches in places. We gather that at times band competitions are held amongst the dramatic scenery.

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Having already tumbled the stream – the Hardraw Beck – is in something of a gorge. It is making its way down to the River Ure and Wensleydale. Hardraw is about a mile from Hawes.

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And here is the fall.

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That single drop of about 90 feet is the longest single drop fall in England. The quantity of water is not huge but even so, the noise it makes as it hits is really quite deafening.

Another photographer wandered into shot and he – an average sort of chap for size – provides scale.

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If you can spot him, he’s a tiny blob to the right of the fall.

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I thought I ought to get my wife to pose in front of the fall.

She did the same and put me in the spotlight.

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You can see and hear a very brief video by clicking here.

Aysgarth Station

December 13, 2014

I have done a blog about the Wensleydale Railway in the past. You can click here to see what this heritage line was like back in 2006.

Regular readers may realise that we recently had a holiday in Wensleydale, a little to the west of the railway’s present terminus at Redmire and about a mile from the closed station at Aysgarth. We took a walk from the cottage we rented in Carperby to look at the waterfalls at Aysgarth. The walk took us past the station, recognisably an old station, partly because of a clear railway bridge crossing the road.

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The station approach heads off left and has a gate which is clearly labelled PRIVATE. We stood by the gate and I could make out what I thought was an old station sign.

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At this point a chap in car and trailer arrived and opened the gate. Did he recognise railway nerds? He promptly invited us to take a look round the station. Seemingly he and two others had taken on the task of making the station look presentable whilst awaiting the arrival of tracks – years down the line yet – from Redmire. He gave us a guided tour.

Still from the gate – a general view of the station yard.

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On the right we have the coal depot, roughly in the centre there is the main station building and to the left there is the goods shed.

Now we’ll walk forward and see the coal yard and depot.

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Something like this would have been standard at every country station. Coal, now a despised fuel, used to be King Coal, of course.

The station building is big enough to form two dwellings at the moment. One is privately owned and the other is owned by the Wensleydale Railway and in use as a holiday let.

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This is the goods shed.

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Outside they have an 1880s truck given as a project by the National Railway Museum.

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A railway museum is being created inside. They have a variety of signs and items.

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Billingham is a station. The sign below comes from a signal box.

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They have a photo history of the line as well. And lots more signs.

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The weighbridge is an original feature of the shed – still in situ.

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Outside the trio of men are laying some track. They hope to be able to offer very short rides.

They have acquired a diesel shunter loco which is stored outside, under wraps.

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We were taken to see the waiting room and the signal box.

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This has been restored from a rather smashed up wreck.

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The person arriving at platform one was the 10am from Carperby for Aysgarth Falls. We apologise for the late running which was due to a fascinating bonus trip around Aysgarth Station. Fortunately, a signal had been found in undergrowth and erected at the platform end. Just near it is a quarter mile post similarly located.

Next stop is the waiting room which has been given over to a model railway showing the station in the 1930s.

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That’s lovely – with a camping coach parked at the platform end and all the other features we can still see. The waiting room is the small shelter on the right hand platform.

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And so to the signal box.

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Beautifully restored and with a signal operator in the doorway.

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Yes, it did operate that signal on the down platform. Our chaps had station clutter stored in the box but that sign in the background took the eye.

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That’s pre 1923 when the North Eastern Railway got absorbed into the LNER.

Fantastic visit. Thanks chaps!

The project to get the line to Aysgarth is worthy of support. The station is perfectly placed for the waterfalls and so a working railway will help to keep cars away from the narrow lanes. BUT there is a nearby carpark for present day visitors to the falls. If you happen to go there, maybe you, too, could visit the station and enjoy the almost unlimited enthusiasm of the men who volunteered to make it a station in waiting.

Feeding wild boar

December 12, 2014

A little treat we had on a November holiday in Wensleydale, was seeing the wild boar being fed at Castle Bolton. The castle itself was closed for the winter – we knew that – but the luck that can follow us did that day. The pigs in the wood still need feeding and are just as exciting a spectacle whether the castle is open or not.

We had walked around the little village and were returning to the car when I became aware of a pig on the edge of some woodland.

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Here’s an extract from my diary.

‘More appeared and started to get very excited. The castle may have been closed but feeding the wild boar still had to go on – one of the attractions of a castle visit. We were in time to witness it on this chill November morning. It was exciting – utter bedlam really. And so hard to get decent photos!’

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Other beasts of the wood turned up to enjoy the bounty provided by man.

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Dad looked pretty bear like.

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Let’s finish with a friendly face, seeking out the pig nuts.

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The Stone Country

December 11, 2014

We recently spent a week in Wensleydale – one of the Yorkshire Dales. I think most of the other Dales – Swaledale, Wharfedale, Nidderdale etc are named after the river that flows down them. The river in Wensleydale is the Ure. Wensley is one of several small villages in the dale.

Let’s take a short walk from Carperby, a village on the north side of the dale down towards Aysgarth which is on the river. I have called it the stone country. You’ll see why.

Small fields are divided up with stone walls. Many of them feature stone built sheds like this one which can offer access, or at least shelter, to two fields.

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Some of these sheds have fallen into ruins.

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The walls, too, tend to fall into disrepair but that makes for bigger field areas more suited to 21st century farming.

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Walls, shed and the village of Carperby with not a brick in sight.

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Stone walls as far as the eye can see.

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The walls, of course, are dry stone – no mortar has been used in their manufacture.

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Let’s finish with another shed – such iconic features of this landscape.

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The Wensleydale Railway

June 11, 2013

We left home on 31st August 2006 for a camping holiday near Ripon in North Yorkshire. Carefully packed in our car was a pair of white roses. We knew that August 1st was Yorkshire Day and anyone who arrived wearing a white rose got half price on the Wensleydale Railway.

These days, Wensleydale is probably best known for being the cheese loved by Wallace in the Wallace and Gromit films – and a fine cheese it is too. But the heritage Wensleydale Railway does a fine job too.

It is not – or at least it wasn’t, in 2006, a steam railway. It was all run by diesels which I tend to regard as modern, but in truth they are not. Take for example this loco parked up at Leeming Bar which was the terminus of the line.

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It’s what I call a Brush type two although younger folk might call it a class 31. The first of these engines entered service in 1957. Production continued until 1962 so even back in 2006 they were all well over forty years old. They truly were a part of the past history of railways. The loco behind is similar whilst a first generation diesel multiple unit stands at the platform.

You get pleasing scenery from the train. It’s a lovely ride.

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At the other end of the line at Redmire (a 16 mile journey) a vintage bus can take you on to Hawes.

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Level crossing gates were operated by the train crew. This was at Wensley itself.

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Here we see our train back at Leeming Bar.

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I never regarded diesel trains like this as quite proper when I was a train spotter. The trains did not have unit numbers, only individual carriage numbers which proved impossible to record as trains passed by. And as a result, I know little about these trains. However, this was categorised as a class 110 and was built by the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company in 1961/62. It was thus also well over 40 years old.

According to the railway web site, the line should be extended to the edge of Northallerton this year giving a length of 22 miles. The website also tells us that steam trains operate in the summer.

But steam doesn’t really matter on this line which offers a very valuable service to tourists in the area. Don’t trust this blog if you visit. A lot happens in seven years. Check up to date information.