Thursday, 2 April 2015

A Very Romantic Walk: Bolton Abbey to Simon's Seat. . .

We were lucky with the weather on last Sunday's walk. All week it had threatened gales and heavy showers, but in the end we only had a sprinkling of about twenty minutes of rain.  I didn't mind the grey at all; it was a splendid backdrop for a rather romantic, moody walk, showcasing all I love about the Yorkshire countryside.

We started on the extensive grounds of Bolton Abbey, where the Priory was first founded in 1154. These ruins are what is left after Henry VIII began his destruction of the monasteries in 1540. 

It's a great place to spend the day especially for families. There are tons of well laid out paths running beside the River Wharfe suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs, and lots of cafes and tea shops.  And an antiquarian bookshop that I would have loved to explore, but alas, we were there to walk, so off into the lovely countryside we went.

We shortly entered what is known as the Valley of Desolation, so called because of a terrible storm in 1826 that destroyed many of the oaks in the area.  There has since been lots of replanting.

Gorgeous rapids and waterfalls soon appeared, courtesy of how the Ice Age carved out this landscape.

And then it was straight out onto the moorland.  I wish I could better convey how wonderful the colours were against the browny-purple of the heather and gorse and those grey skies.  Just look at this deep green.

And muted purples and rusts.

And look at this shock of orange moss!  I want to find yarns in all these colours and knit up a shawl.

Ah, and what is that in the distance, looming out of the mist?  Is it a castle?

Unfortunately no, just a large rock outcropping known as Simon's Seat, but possibly named after Simon Druid, a Celtic magician.  This was the high point of our walk and we ate our lunch amid the stones.

On the other side you get great views of the surrounding fields.

If we met any magical princes on our walk, they were definitely taking the form of birds. Here you can see how wonderfully the grouse blend into their surroundings.

Here was our descent, back down towards the banks of the River Wharfe.

The lambs were out in the fields, along with a beautiful rogue pheasant.

Back down by the river, we followed the lovely Dales Way back to Bolton Abbey.

Gorgeous bridges cross the river.

And so another grand walk comes to a happy ending. 

No comments: