Wharfedale New Year

by David Murray on 8 August 2014

in Rivers, Valleys, Yorkshire Dales NP

Although published here in August this item was mostly written back in January. As it was sitting here almost finished I decided to publish it now to revive the Around England site in spite of the long delay.

Our New Year outing into Wharfedale actually started in Airedale. The previous day had been wet (an understatement!) but Thursday, 2nd January started out bright. Soon there was blue sky over Skipton although everything was still damp from days of rain.

Skipton town centre

After a short photographic walk around Skipton Castle (just about visible above to the right of the parish church) we headed in the car toward Grassington in the next river valley, Wharfedale.

Hebden Beck

As we drew nearer to our destination the skies became ever darker, and the rain started to fall. We decided to give Grassington a miss, a pity because it’s a pleasant place in the right kind of weather but this was not a day for boots and waterproofs but for a drive, with a leisurely stroll in the dry if feasible. We drove on to Hebden and turned right toward Burnsall. The photo here is of Hebden Beck, from the bridge by the crossroads.

This is a land of rivers and becks. Unlike the Lake District the Yorkshire Dales have almost no extensive bodies of water but streams, streams and more streams. Very much like the Lake District, however, they do have sheep, sheep and more sheep.

Sheep above Burnsall

And bridges … . This is the bridge at Burnsall, where we are now headed.

Bridge at Burnsall

The road from Hebden to Burnsall is narrow. Several times we had to go slowly by groups of hardy walkers as they clambered onto the green bank to let us pass. Then the road emerges onto the side of a hill from which (after stopping the car and hoping that another doesn’t arrive anytime soon) we can look down on the valley beneath, the River Wharfe wending its way down from Grassington.

Wharfedale above Burnsall


The above two shots were taken from roughly the same spot. Looking dowstream we see Burnsall, and lunch is in sight at the Red Lion, next to the bridge.

Red Lion Burnsall

It was time to leave. Burnley was calling, the East Lancashire town where we grew up and in which we were married almost fifty years ago. Not this time to visit Towneley Hall park but for afternoon tea with the one remaining family member we have in the town.

Burnsall in New Year sunshine

As we climbed the hill out of Burnsall the sun came through again. I pulled over onto the roadside, rushed out to catch the moment with my camera, and landed flat on my back against a slippery grass bank. Ouch!! But I did get the shot.

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