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Bolton Abbey Estate. a Jewel in the Yorkshire Dales.

Updated on October 1, 2015

Notes from a Lancashire Countryman.

This foray north along the M6 motorway saw me taking the Preston/Blackburn turn off at Junction 31, following the signs for Blackburn and Clitheroe I soon joined the A59, which I was to stay on , all the way to my destination-The Bolton Abbey estate at Wharfedale in the beautiful Yorkshire-dales

Continuing along the A59 following now, the signs for Skipton, I eventually passed by the Pendle Hill, {famed for its witches that resided there in archaic times}

Pendle Hill Lancashire

The mysterious Pendle hill. Famed for its witches in archaic times.
The mysterious Pendle hill. Famed for its witches in archaic times.

My destination

My destination was much farther along the A59 heading for Harrogate. The sign post for Bolton Abbey is clearly marked. The Village is accessed via a B road. Ignoring the car park on the left as I entered the village I continued along the lane which carried me under a narrow bridge and up the hill. The main driveway to the estate is on the right. Close to the end of this descending drive way you are required to stop by a hut to pay an entrance fee, which allows entry on to the riverside car parking area. At the time of writing, April 2010, the charge was £6. This may seem a little excessive to some, but it is worth every penny to spend the day at this beautiful location. There is so much to see one would need a full day {at least} to take it all in.

Turning right at the bottom of the driveway there is an almost endless riverside car parking area. The river Wharfe runs through this country estate which will be described in greater detail below. The reason you have to turn right at the bottom of the drive is a barrier that prohibits vehicle access. However, pedestrian access is allowed to enter into an area much utilised by the visiting public. This area consists of the Cavendish Pavilion, built in 1898, and underwent a full refurbishment in the 1980s. The pavilion is licensed to sell alcohol should one wish. It also provides a great service by way of food and refreshment. You may dine in doors or at the tables provided at the front of the building , or as I choose to do in fine weather, carry your meal across onto the grassland at the side of the river. Picnic tables are also situated here. There is also a gift shop next door and excellent toilet facilities which are kept immaculately clean.

The pavillion

The Cavendish Pavilion is well utilised by visitors.
The Cavendish Pavilion is well utilised by visitors.

Natural beauty

Just past the gift shop there is a hard core path {suitable for wheel chairs} that takes you along the river through some of the finest woodland the estate has to offer. The river Wharfe is to the right hand side of the track while the main woodland is rooted on a steep bank that rises high above the river. Across the river glimpses of the surrounding fells may be observed through gaps in the trees that enhance this natural beauty.

The track I walked is part of the Strid wood nature trail which signs various walks allowing the choice of varying degrees of difficulty and length. It is a locality I have often visited however, it still makes my naturalists spine tingle with excitement. As I entered the woodland I came upon a carpet of wood anemones, also called wind flowers, scattered like snow along the woodland floor. Little babbling brooks cascade from high up the slopes tumbling over large moss covered pebbles before passing under the track and falling away to the river on the opposite side.

Arrow shaped Arum leaves, in answer to the call of spring, rise up on long stalks above the leaf litter, as birds flit among the lofty boughs above. Sun spurge tenanted the banking their yellow green flowers competing with dog's mercury for space. From the track to the summit of the slope the foliage of wild garlic{ramsons} forms a dense pungent carpet which stretches for hundreds of yards. It delights to grow in damp situations hedges, shady damp meadows and riverside localities. The active ingredients include essential oils, vitamin C and iron.

The plant has been used for the treatment of asthma, digestive problems, rheumatism and high blood pressure.. The fresh leaves in salads, soups and with soft cheese are well known by country folk. They are also said to effective in the loss of appetite or common digestive disorders. They have has its name suggests a strong smell and taste of garlic. Fresh leaves should be chopped into small pieces and eaten fresh. DO NOT confuse the leaves with those of the poisonous lily of the valley to which they are quite similar. If they do not smell and taste strongly of garlic do not eat them. The flowers that appear later in the month are white and of a spiky globed outline, quite unlike the small white bells produced by the lily of the valley plant.

gallery of flora

The high slopes are clad with the foliage of wild garlic. D.A.L.
The high slopes are clad with the foliage of wild garlic. D.A.L.
The arrow shaped leaves of the arum plant.D.A.L.
The arrow shaped leaves of the arum plant.D.A.L.
babbling brooks cascade down the slopes D.A.L.
babbling brooks cascade down the slopes D.A.L.
sun spurge brightens the woodland. D.A.L.
sun spurge brightens the woodland. D.A.L.

The Strid

While walking in this natural wonderland, the sound of the River Wharfe serenaded me. The flap and plop of the wavelets hitting the bank while the main body of water gushed over sunlit rocks soothing yet stimulating. In the depth of the water with its caverns of shade and dappled light, long strands of emerald green vegetation among which the trout lies. Pricked along the bank were small forests of A more idyllic setting I can not imagine. The opportunities for walkers is limitless from woodland, river, river and fells. It is estimated that there are over 80 miles of footpaths in this region alone.

The strid wood is named after the awesome Strid, a place where the river becomes suddenly narrow and water gushes with great force, a deep thundering channel. The Strid was formed by the wearing away of the softer rock by means of circular motion of small stones in hollows, forming a series of pot holes which in time linked together. This formed a deep water filled chasm. The Strid takes its name from the belief the channel was a stride wide. However, it is much wider than it looks and the rocks tend to be treacherous to the unwary. One slip can lead to fatalities. A wonder of nature that needs to given the greatest respect.

Back in the locality of the Cavendish Pavilion there is, directly opposite, a bridge that crosses the river allowing walks along the opposite bank and access to the fells at various points.

Two views of the River Wharfe

River Wharfe--D.A.L.
River Wharfe--D.A.L.
The river meanders through natural beauty. D.A.L.
The river meanders through natural beauty. D.A.L.

Bolton Priory

However, staying on the side of the car parking region a walk down the river passing the cars, a distance of about a quarter of a mile, you come across a gate that allows access on to a large meadow created by the river meandering around a great bend. From this meadow the old ruins of the famous priory can be observed. It is possible to get right down to the ruins from access points in various locations. The ruins are what remains of the 12th century priory. Set in such natural beauty they are well worth the visit alone.

Gallery of sights

The ruins of the 12th century priory across the river Wharfe. D.A.L.
The ruins of the 12th century priory across the river Wharfe. D.A.L.
 The Bolten Abbey Estate is set amid natural beauty.
The Bolten Abbey Estate is set amid natural beauty.

Finally you never know what you will encounter in the English countryside like this handsome vintage car.


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    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      BOLTON ABBEY ESTATE. A JEWEL IN THE YORKSHIRE DALES. amazing ly beautiful with such photos and the scenery is breathtaking and what a wonder of nature with short walks so much can be noticed.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi, pastella13 thank you for the visit it truly is a wonderful place for peace and tranquility especially in Spring. Best wishes to you.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      It's so beautiful around that area. Lots of unspoilt landscape and peacefulness. A great hub.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi B, no problem what ever you call your poetry it is always a joy to read. Thank you for the visit,always appreciated.

    • Joy56 profile image


      8 years ago

      i forgot to leave a comment when i stole the photo for my hub. I called it babbling brook, but i think it was actually the River Wharf, oops. i love the Yorkshire Dales, thanks for this lovely reminder of a beautiful place.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      jayjay40, thank you.

      Darlene, Thank you darski for reading . I do not bike ride I prefer to amble and see everything.Enjoy the spring.

      Money Glitch, your welcome, thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Oh my you have captured some awesome pictures of nature here. Thanks for sharing this experience of spring and the English countryside :)

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Finally, Spring is here, and oh what a joy it is. Thank you my dearest friend for this outstanding journey, do you ever bike ride? Thanks for sharing his hub with us....

    • jayjay40 profile image


      8 years ago from Bristol England

      Great hub as usual, a lovely read


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