: A Wensleydale Trio
is a bit of a misfit. It is not really the record
of a Great Little Walk but of several Great Tiny Explorations
celebrating our 44th wedding anniversary which had had
to be postponed by 11 days. I had long wanted
to visit Middleham in Wensleydale, mainly because I
remember driving through and being curious about what
looked to be the ruins of a rather large castle. But
also because Wensleydale is a nice part of the country
I booked us into the Blue
at East Witton, a picture postcard village
just a few miles to the... now which direction
was it? As a further clue, as seems
plausible, if the name Middleham is the
corruption of the name Middle Witton, you
will know exactly which side. Call
high rating of the Blue Lion is well deserved.
It is very old and its decor reflects
the fact but neither in a twee way or in
a run-down fashion. Neither sheek
antique nor shabby old.
it was clean, the food was good, the staff were friendly
and the bed comfortable.
evening stroll round the old village was pleasant but
not particularly worthy of record.
on the other hand, is worthy of record. Dating from
1146, it, or what is left of it, was a Cistercian Abbey
laid waste by Henry 8th. Sufficient remains that
when coupled with the guidebook and a strong imagination
you can get a good idea of what was what and why.
I can't enthuse about its café.
It would be unkind (and obviously untrue) to suggest
that its flapjacks were cut from the ruins or the cappuccino
raised from the ditches but they were not very good.
on the list was Middleham
from 1190 and later the childhood home of the future
Richard 3rd. In its day it must have been most
impressive with strong outerwalls protecting the huge
inner keep with its massive kitchens at ground level
and splendid hall higher up. Again good information
and imagination is called for in order to properly understand
its constituent parts but sufficient remains to enable
a good idea. English Heritage have put in an authentically
placed wooden staircase that enables a safe climb to
the ramparts where there is an impressive view over
the town and dale.
had been advised also to visit the Middleham Church
but didn't find anything particularly noteworthy there.
final target was Aysgarth
Falls but we took
the scenic route past Bolton
Castle. This building
dates from the 14th century and seems to be in
a much better state of repair. Further inspection
will have to wait for a future visit.
Falls are in three parts. The upper part is on
private land so costs £2 entry (but only if you
are honest). The middle and lower falls are below
the Visitor Centre and are reached by a looping footpaths.
Each set has sudden but modest drops in levels
where the rocks have been gouged out by water filling
in the cracks then freezing and expanding, eventually
causing the stone to shear. At least that is my
the golden leaves starting to carpet the ground, it
was a pleasant autumnal walk to round off our visit
to Wensleydale. We shall return.
Monday 19th October 2015
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