Skipton Castle Woods is a lovely place to wander whatever the season. I always seem to be drawn here in the Winter , when it is easier to spot birds busy in the bare branches of this centuries old woodland.
The Woodland is looked after by The Woodland Trust. Eller Beck runs through the valley and Skipton Castle is nearby. You don’t even have to imagine the medieval hunting that went on amongst the shade of ancient oaks. Anna Crosses evocative willow sculptures give you a glimpse of what it was like here all those years ago.
After a saunter around the Woods a Hot Chocolate was a welcome treat. The Chocolate Works on the High Street ( there’s one in Clitheroe too) was a great choice. 🙂
Do you have a favourite woodland you like to have a wander in?
So the world must slowly be getting back to normal , for I have been out for Afternoon Tea. Oh yes I had my cake and ate it too…..though there were definitely enough goodies left over for a doggy bag.
Gill booked a table for five at the suitably stylish Alexanders Grand Cafe & Restaurant in Skipton. Situated on High Street this elegant venue has botanically inspired decor and a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere. Perfect for whiling the afternoon away with the girls. 💗
Like all the best Afternoon Teas, Alexander’s is served on pretty vintage china. I actually used to own an identical ivy patterned teacup and saucer set , which I turned into a teacup candle in my craft fair days. I still appreciate a vintage tea service. 🙂
The food was delicious. A shot of velvety veloute, three choices of sandwich, pork pie, a selection of cute cakes and of course , a fluffy scone served with jam, strawberries and clotted cream. Tea, coffee or hot chocolate were included in the price of the afternoon tea, which was £25 per person. We additionally paid for a glass of something each, Becky and I chose a refreshing Cherry Blossom Cocktail from the cocktail menu. Cin Cin !
Afterwards I joined the girls for an hour or so, exploring the canal side and shops, before catching the train from Skipton to Langwathby in Cumbria. Langwathby happens to be a village not far from Melmerby where the caravan is based. Wil and Hugo had driven to the van a day earlier and were due to pick me up from Langwathby station. I was quite excited to board the train as I would be travelling on the famed Settle – Carlisle Railway.
This is a very scenic train journey that meanders its way through the stunning Yorkshire Dales and Eden Valley countryside. We passed over the impressive 24 stone arch Ribblehead Viaduct and through England’s highest mainline station at Dent. I did find it pretty impossible to take many good photos out of a speeding train window though, so I borrowed a couple online.
At Garsdale Station a statue of a dog on the platform peeked my interest.
Back in the 1980s the Settle to Carlisle Railway was under threat of closure. On a quest to save the iconic transport link, The Friends of The Settle – Carlisle Line managed to obtain over thirty thousand human signatures plus one pawprint signature. The pawprint belonged to The Friends co – founder Graham Nuttalls 14 year old border collie Ruswarp, a frequent traveller with him on the line.
It was Ruswarps pawprint that swung the decision and after years of campaigning the line was saved in 1989. 💗 🐾
In January 1990 Graham Nuttall and Ruswarp went walking in the Welsh Hills. Graham was never to return, his body was found by a stream eleven weeks later by another hiker. His faithful companion Ruswarp had remained at his master’s side all that time.
Ruswarp was cared for by an RSPCA vet and lived long enough to attend Graham’s funeral but died soon after. A bronze statue of the loyal collie was erected in 2009, a tribute to the many people….and one wonderful dog, who fought to keep the Settle – Carlisle Line open.
After googling Ruswarp and Graham’s story, I felt quite emotional, I can tell you. I for one am very glad that the beautiful rail route survives. I enjoyed my one and a half hour train journey from Skipton and was very happy to see my other half plus faithful companion, waiting for me at Langwathby station. ☺️
Ruswarp was not the only dog statue I saw last weekend. On Sunday we happened to be in Keswick, where we came across Max, a popular Springer Spaniel. His handsome bronze statue had only been unveiled the day before in the town’s Hope Park. You can read here about Max The Miracle Dog and his amazing fund raising efforts. I have loved following Max’s walks, along with Paddy & Harry and their owners Kerry ( and Angela behind the scenes) on Facebook, especially through the lockdowns.
Have you been for Afternoon Tea recently?
Have you travelled on the Settle-Carlisle Line?
Do you know of any other monuments to inspirational dogs?
The weather in my hometown of Clitheroe in Northern England today was foggy, wet and grey so we decided to pop over the Lancashire border to Skipton in the drizzly Yorkshire Dales. A planned walk up Pendle Hill has been postponed ( I admit I was a teeny bit relieved! ) until a less misty day.
My other half hadn’t seen the newish ( 12 months old) willow sculptures in Skipton Castle Woods ,so I suggested we blow off the cobwebs with a walk there. I have blogged about the Sculptures previously, but it’s nice to share their beauty with you all again. It was Hugo’s first sight of them too. 😁
After our walk and a nosy round some shops we were ready for lunch. I thought we could treat Hugo ( and ourselves! ) to dinner at The Kibble Bakery on Sheep Street. When we arrived it was completely empty of customers so I quickly took a few photos, it was busy with both hounds and humans by the time we left.
The Kibble Bakery & Coffee House is a bright and cosy ( and very dog friendly) cafe. It is run by a mother and daughter team who as well as making and baking delicious food for humans, make and bake for our four legged friends too. Hugo sampled a cheesy pup biscuit, I wish I could tell you he tasted the flavour but being a greedy Labrador , he wolfed it down in seconds…..
On our way home from Skipton we had a bit of a walk down the canal side at East Marten, but the weather had changed for the worst , so no more pictures. Six miles done though so making a good start to the #walk1000miles challenge I’m joining in with again this year. 2019 I managed just over 1900 miles so a big improvement on 2018s 1600 + miles. Although I’m very happy with the mileage done, I know I’m still terribly unfit. Put a hill in front of me and I nearly die. The only remedy to that though is of course practice! And more fells, hills and mountains. So my aim for this year is not to improve my mileage, but to improve my chances of getting up a hill. Wish me luck! 😅
Sometimes I love to revisit places on my blog and Skipton is no exception. On Friday a friend and I took a bus over the Yorkshire border to this pretty market town, often known as The Gateway to the Dales. With its 900 year old Castle, cobbled shopping streets and beautiful woodland walks, Skipton makes for a grand day out. 🙂
As my friend had never visited Skipton Castle, we decided to head there first. The incredibly thick walls of this formidable fortress held off a three year siege in The Civil War. Visitors can explore the many rooms including The Great Hall , the Muniment Tower and the charming Conduit Court. In the grounds Spring brings a glorious display of dancing daffodils.
After aquainting ourselves with the Castle, we felt a bit peckish ! This tasty pie selection in Farmhouse-Fare was to much temptation. Pies bought, we ambled toward Skipton Castle Woods ……. in search of sculptures.
Skipton Castle Woods is a rare ancient woodland with over a thousand years of history. It’s diverse wildlife includes dippers, kingfishers, woodpeckers, deer, bats, badgers and bluebells. Paths follow Eller Beck , meandering through a green carpet of wild garlic leaves. We used the Mill Bridge Entrance to access the woods.
Since my last wander in Skipton Castle Woods two beautiful willow sculptures have appeared, both looking incredibly natural in their forest surroundings. Other new installations include an Eller Beck Information Board and a gorgeous kingfisher carved bench.
After our walk and nosy round the shops we finished our day off with cake. 🙂
My favourite place to go for tea and cake in Skipton is the colourful and Quirky Cakeole in the Craven Court Arcade.
I have visited the beautiful Bolton Abbey Estate on the banks of the river Wharfe many times in both the Spring and Summer, but never in Autumn before. A mistake I believe, as this is now my favourite time of year to explore the Priory ruins and the acres and acres of woodland trails. We were meeting up with my Sister and her family as well as our cousin and her husband, who were holidaying in the area.
Autumn Half Term is a great time to visit with the kids, as spooky goings on are happening deep in the woods. A family friendly Pumpkin Trail with hidden clues to unravel a witches spell, is proving a spooktacular attraction. 🍄 You can pick up a leaflet from the Cavendish Pavillion Shop.
The estate is also pet friendly with miles of on and off lead walks to enjoy. And plenty of chances for a dip in the river. 😉
Car parking is quite expensive. £10 per vehicle, although the ticket does let you move round the various car parks on the estate. Make the most of your day there and pack a picnic or visit one of the cafes on site. We liked The StridTearooms , a short walk from the end of the pumpkin trail, and they welcome four legged friends.
As well as completing the trail, the kids also enjoyed the Welly Walk, playing in the river and looking for wildlife. The Wharfe was teaming with various bird life including Herons, Dippers, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtails and Ducks.
Here are a few photos from our day. We spent a good five hours exploring and loved the Autumn colours. 🙂
The 30,000 acre Bolton Abbey estate encapsulates all that is typical of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside. Rugged moorland, colourful wildflower meadows, shady woodland and meandering riverside walks. As well as the ruins of a magnificent old Priory.
From 1154 to 1539 Augustinian canons lived and worked here until the dissolution of the monasteries. Fortunately the accompanying church was left intact after Prior Moone negotiated with Oliver Cromwell, to keep it as a place of worship for the local community .
I have stayed on nearby campsites in the village of Appletreewick, but never at Catgill Campsite , which is on the Bolton Abbey Estate itself, just a few minutes walk from Bolton Abbey Village.
Wil, Hugo ( our labrador) and I arrived at the site early on a Friday afternoon . The campsite accepts tents and camper vans and has a relaxed check-in and departure policy . You can roll up or depart at any time during the day before 9pm. Dogs are welcome too at no extra charge. We payed £40 for 2 nights camping in a tent.
After checking in at reception we were told to pitch up anywhere we wished in either of the two fields. We chose the lower field and set up camp by the stream. Catgill campsite is part of a working farm and has been open since 2014. The facilities still feeling fresh and new, include separate ladies and gents shower blocks, a pot washing room with two fridge freezers, kettle, microwave and plug sockets and a small shop that sells the basics. We were soon ready to explore.
Bolton Abbey village is a small picturesque parish adjacent to the Abbey grounds. It boasts a couple of tea rooms, book shop, village shop/post office and a large car park. We entered the grounds through a small archway called the ‘ Hole in the wall.’ 🙂
Instead of turning left towards the Priory ruins , we headed right along the river Wharfe, in search of the Devonshire Arms pub, which is also a rather posh hotel and spa. Sure enough after a pleasant 15 minute walk , we arrived at the pub and enjoyed a couple of drinks in the beer garden. Named for the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire , the hostelry is part of their Chatsworth Estate. After a while it got a bit chilly, so I asked the young bar staff if we could move into the ‘Dog Lounge’ which I had previously read about here. Unfortunately I was told that the entire hotel had been booked out for a two day wedding! But he kindly agreed to let me take a peek at the cosy dog – themed salon, where guests can relax with a drink and their pampered pooch.
We spent most of the weekend at Catgill either walking on the estate or chilling by the tent, but there is plenty more to entertain anyone who visits. A stones throw from the site ( well literally next door!) is Hesketh Farm Park , which is a popular family day out. If you fancy a ride on a steam train, The Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway runs between both villages. And there are miles of walks including a kids adventure trail Welly Walk.
The estate is popular with dog walkers and Hugo had plenty of off-lead time, racing through the woodland and paddling in the river.
Catgill Campsite is a relaxed family-friendly site with helpful amiable hosts and attractive modern facilities.
Shower blocks have family wash rooms.
Pot wash room with two large communal Fridge freezers, Microwave & Kettle.
Small shop selling the basics.
Fire Pit and BBQ hire.
Morning Coffee Shop serving fresh coffee, hot drinks, juice, croissants and other pastries. We especially liked this idea. 🙂
The only downside is trying to find a level pitch as the site is quite sloping in places. Otherwise this is a cracking little find , in the beautiful Wharfedale countryside. 😊
Hope you enjoyed this campsite review. Our next camping trip is to a family-friendly festival in Gisburn Forest next weekend!
On Monday Wil and I had a day off together and as I was in dire need of some new walking pants, we headed up to Skipton, a North Yorkshire market town with a good selection of outdoorsy type shops. Skipton also has an impressive medieval castle and the ancient Skipton Castle Woods are perfect for a walk with the dog.
We entered the woodland via the Bailey entrance where a carpet of snowdrops welcomed us. Apparently the woods really come into their own later in the spring, when bluebells, wild garlic and primroses adorn the forest floor.
Skipton Castle Woods are looked after by The Woodland Trust and there are three short trails that meander their way through the canopy of trees. You can’t tell from the pictures but the weather alternated between rain, sleet and snow! We returned to the town through the woods entrance on Mill Bridge.
The town is the perfect mix of high street and independent shops, quirky cafes, old fashioned pubs with names like ‘The Woolly Sheep’ and colourful canal boats. Great for a wander round and a spot of retail therapy. 🙂
We had lunch in Coopers Cafe Bar on Belmont Street. This is a fave cafe of ours in Skipton. A really friendly and relaxing place with good tasty food. Afterwards we did the tourist thing and bought tickets to look round Skipton Castle. Tickets are £8.30 for Adults, £5.20 for children and dogs are accepted, though not in the shop or tearoom.
A sturdy castle over 900 years old, Skipton is steeped in history. It was the last stronghold in the North of Engand during the English Civil War between Oliver Cromwell and the Royalists. Legend has it that sheep fleeces were hung over the walls to lessen the impact of cannon fire. My favourite part of the castle is the shady inner courtyard, where Lady Anne Clifford planted a Yew Tree and set about restorations after the battle. There are lots of rooms to explore….and its a great place to escape from the rain!
Its a Christmassy Sunday Sevens this week. If only I had some snow to show you, but its been sadly lacking in Clitheroe. And the snow I did see, whilst travelling with my friend Fi over Pendle Hill last weekend, was beautiful if a smidge scary. I did not want to insist that we stop her little smart car for photographic opportunitys, when we were running late for a Willow Angel weaving morning with ‘ The Willow Witch of Pendle.’ Luckily The Willow Witch was lovely about our lateness and a very patient teacher. Can you believe these Angels were constructed out of 16 bendy willow rods. Quite impressive!
There were 5 of us who took the class and we all came away with an Angel. Some more angelic than others! I love how Louise has wrapped fairylights round the wings of hers. 🙂
After braving a snowy Pendle Hill back , Clitheroe was a bit of a non event snow wise..
Last Sunday I went to Skipton with some friends as there was a Christmas market on. Check out the festive Stilt Walkers! And Christmas is not Christmas without an Afternoon Tea. 🙂 My lovely friend Gill had booked us into Alexander’s
, a gorgeous piano bar and restaurant on the main street. It even has a pop up Alpine Den ( very Hygge) throughout December. I want to go back! My Goddaughter Mady brought her 2 little ones ,and we can definitely say Alexander’s is very family friendly too.
The Christmas Tree is up at last! As you can see its laden with an eclectic mish mash of decorations and baubles. Over the years I have collected and been gifted various bits and pieces. I am one of those people who find myself buying decs for the tree even in the middle of Summer. I once found a Christmas shop in Sorrento, Italy , in the middle of July…..and a cherry red ‘ Bon Natalie’ bell, has graced our tree every Christmas since. 🌲
The living room is all properly decorated now , thanks to my wonderful other half. 🙂 He has proved himself brilliant at wallpapering, painting, laying the floor and tiling the hearth. I treated myself to a textured black & white cushion from Rafffia in Clitheroe, to celebrate.
All that hard work deserves a couple of drinks down the pub. 🔥🍻
Thanks to Natalie at Threads And Bobbins for organizing Sunday Sevens.
A couple of weeks ago it was Afternoon Tea Week here in the UK, so what better excuse for an indulgent treat at The Cake ‘Ole in Skipton. My friends Arwen and Gill and I, just happened to be walking past this Hidden Gem whilst enjoying a little retail therapy. 🙂 Tucked away in the Craven Court Arcade, just off the high street , The Cake ‘Ole’s funky vibrant decor enticed us through the door.
The lovely staff were charming and friendly and found us a table straight away. Our eyes were drawn to every colourful nook and cranny. The Cake’Ole is definitely a cafe that likes to dazzle you with it’s quirky decor. 🙂
I’ve experienced the Cake ‘Ole’s mouthwatering cakes before, so I was eager to see what our Afternoon Teas would look like. As expected , they were served on pretty vintage china. I had a refreshing fruit tea with mine.
Our Afternoon Teas were prepared speedily and oh so wonderfully scrumptious. There was an assortment of soft roll sandwiches on the bottom tier. The middle tier contained the obligatory fruit scones with clotted cream and yummy strawberry and black pepper jam. On the top tier a super selection of delicious cakes rounded off our feast.
We found our dining experience at The Cake’Ole to be the perfect addition to our girly afternoon shopping in Skipton. Quirky, friendly and fun , with a delightfully delicious Afternoon Tea. 🙂
A week off work, so a good way to summarise it, would be to join in with Sunday Sevens I think. Its been a pretty great week, despite the very unpredictable weather! Here are 7 pictures of what I have got up to over the last 7 days. 🙂
1. We took Hugo on a walk from Cleveleys to Blackpool. Here he is on the wonderful Comedy Carpet , in front of Blackpool Tower. Wonder which joke or catchphrase has caught his eye? Boom, Boom ! maybe. 🙂
2. Wil treated me to lunch at a new eaterie in Skipton called Alexander’s. It was a rare dry sunny afternoon and we shared this delicious platter outside on their lovely sun terrace. He definitely did treat me as it cost him £32. Yikes!
3. Last weekend we were camping with friends in Ingleton , in the Yorkshire Dales. We walked the Ingleton Falls trail and got our hands muddy knocking ten pence pieces into this money tree. 🙂
4. Yesterday we went a walk round Ribblehead Viaduct ….and it was bloomin freezing! Felt more like November than mid August. Seen in the black comedy film ‘Sightseers’, Ribblehead has 24 arches and is the longest viaduct in Europe.
5. You may have heard the story of how Ribblehead was built in the 1800s. One Hundred railway workers ( Navvies) lost their lives building the iconic structure, which carries the Settle-Carlisle Railway over Blea Moor. The Navvies also built shanty towns on the moors , where they lived whilst constructing the viaduct. I quite like this shot of a train journeying accross.
6. We visited Northern England’s Book Town ‘Sedbergh’ which is also in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. There are 7 or 8 book shops here, most selling other products too ,such as outdoor gear or gifts and toys. I picked up some pretty postcards, an Observer’s book of Wild Animals from the fifties and a couple more RSPB pins for my collection. As I flip through my Observer’s guide, I am definitely picking up clues to the demise of some of our beloved wildlife. Badger Hams were apparently a ‘thing’ back in the day. What!!
7. This week has been National Afternoon Tea week in the UK, the perfect excuse for booking a sublime afternoon tea at The Cake’Ole in Skipton. My friends Arwen, Gill and I tucked into the treats. I will blog about it very soon!
Natalie at Threads and Bobbins organizes Sunday Sevens. Anyone can join in on a Sunday with 7 ( or more ) pics of their week.
Northeast Allie is a blog that reflects influences from the Philadelphia area and the regions around it. It explores perspectives on life, encouragement, travel, wellness, and local living so that you can really enjoy this unique community!