From one Yorkshire national park to another!
- 20 May 2021 -
Coxwold Cottages is inside the North York Moors National Park yet, in less than an hour, we can be in the heart of the adjacent Yorkshire Dales National Park! Recently, post lockdown, we ventured over to one of our favourite places, the mesmerising Aysgarth Falls, before walking along the gushing River Ure and across the rolling dales to majestic Bolton Castle before completing a circular walk back to Aysgarth again. A two to three hour stroll across a lovely part of North Yorkshire – almost as good as our own North York Moors! But it does show what a great base Coxwold is for a holiday. One hour East and you could be in fascinating Whitby on the Yorkshire Coast, one hour West and you are in the Dales, half an hour South and you could be standing in front of York Minster, and one hour North and you would be in the centre of historic Durham. So much to explore and enjoy on our doorstep. Staycation in Coxwold anyone?
We parked at the Aysgarth Falls National Park Centre before walking to the Falls – a series of three waterfalls, Upper, Middle and Lower Force. Surrounded by woodland and Dales farmland, the Falls stretch over a one mile stretch of the River Ure on its descent to mid-Wesleydale. The falls are spectacular at any time of the year, but if you catch them after heavy rainfall they are truly impressive. Aysgarth Falls have attracted visitors for more than 200 years, famous past visitors including John Ruskin, JMW Turner and William Wordsworth who all enthused about the sublime beauty. And, if you are a fan of the film “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves”, all three of the Falls featured in the film.
The River Ure itself is almost 75 miles long from its source on Abbotside Common, West of Hawes where Wesleydale Cheese is produced, to the point where it becomes the River Ouse, North-West of York, flowing through the City to the Humber and on to the North Sea. You can see Bolton Castle in the distance as you walk across farmland towards its sturdy walls. Although damaged in the English Civil War and “sighted” afterwards, much of the Castle survives. Amazingly, it has never been sold and is still in the ownership of the descendants of the Scrope family who built the castle between 1378 and 1399. It is probably most famous for its associations with Mary, Queen of Scots, who was held prisoner at the Castle for six months in 1568/9. Imprisonment for royalty was not what many today would imagine though. Mary resided in the Castle’s best apartments in the South-West tower and apparently had a retinue of 51 knights, servants and ladies-in-waiting. Her household included cooks, grooms, hairdresser, embroiderer, apothecary, physician and surgeon. Even then, Bolton Castle was not initially considered suitable for housing a Queen, so tapestries, rugs and furniture had to be borrowed from local houses. Mary’s keepers even allowed her to wander the surrounding lands and to go hunting. Legend has it that one day she escaped and made her way towards Leyburn, dropping her shawl on the way, hence the name ‘The Shawl’ for the cliff edge walk that runs West out of Leyburn towards Bolton Castle – a well-known spot for an easy walk with excellent views.
Yet another lovely day out from Coxwold Cottages. Made even better knowing you will be coming back to spend the night in either our luxurious holiday cottage or delightful shepherd’s hut. Sadly, even if your first name is Mary, we cannot provide a retinue of staff to wait upon your every need – although we do try to do everything we can to make your staycation as relaxing and enjoyable as possible!