Clapham without doubt is one of the loveliest of dales villages. Clapham beck which is crossed by a number of old stone bridges runs through the centre, with many of the old surrounding stone houses dating back to the 18th century. (One of which is owned by writer and playwright Alan Bennet) Popular with cavers and a stopping place for those setting off to climb Ingleborough, it is generally a lot quieter than some of the other better known villages like Grassington and Malham. (left Click images for an much improved view)
I am thinking this is maybe a wise old bird. I’ve seen it here on a few separate occasions, unlike most pheasants it seems remarkably tame, I took the above photograph from a few feet away and it did not appear to be particularly bothered. Hopefully it will remain nearby, thereby avoid ending up on the table.
With an amazing old 18 foot inglenook fireplace, and included in the Good Beer Guide ‘The Bunkhouse’ is a great place to relax with a pint, after exploring the local area.
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The Kilnsey Show in Upper Wharfedale Nth.Yorkshire, has been welcoming visitors every autumn since the 1800’s. Officially it began in 1897 and has always been organised by the local farming community. Held in the shadow of Kilnsey Crag, the show attracts thousands of visitors and provides numerous events and attractions, including sheepdog trials, dry stone walling, falconry display, prize giving for sheep and cattle, horse events and even fly fishing demonstrations.
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Over the years we have been regular visitors to the South of France and have done this walk on numerous occasions. Starting from Beaulieau-Sur-Mer the walk in total is approximately nine kilometers. In places the path is quite rugged, but it is not particularly difficult to complete. With far reaching views out to sea, wonderful aroma’s from the variety of herbs and shrubs, the constant chatter of the Cicada’s and spectacular scenery all the way, this is a beautiful walk and a real treat for the senses.
From Beaulieu, it is a short walk along the Promenade Maurice Rouvier to St Jean Cap Ferrat.
Approaching this magnificent sugar pink villa, with it’s private mooring and lower terrace’s directly onto the sea, an elderly man nearby with his wife, seemingly quite excited, turned to me and exclaimed ‘ Beautiful ! la villa Rolliing Stones’ Hmmm !! I didn’t like to disappoint him but had to point out that this was in fact called ‘Le Fleur Du Cap’, and once the home of film star David Niven. He seemed a little surprised, but I explained that it was the Villa Nellcote that he needed to find, and that it was not too far away on Avenue Louise Bordes overlooking the bay of Villefranche (top left corner of the map above)
The gates to Villa Nellcote, (link) Keith Richards opulent villa in the seventies, where the Stones recorded Exile on Main Street. Nothing can be seen of the actual villa itself from the gates, dense foliage and huge trees protect it from view, however a bit further along, and down the steps to the beach on the bay of Villefranche, it is possible to see part of it, including a glimpse of the huge marble pillars which front the villa.
Having deviated slightly here from the walk, back to Promenade Maurice Rouvier. Continue onward along the footpath, eventually after a short distance you will reach St Jean. Here at the tourist information you can pick up a free map. Follow the narrow main road through the village, turn left at the end and head for Paloma Beach. The footpath crosses the beach, past all the alfresco diners and continues on around the tiny peninsular on the eastern side of the cap.
Left click above picture to enlarge (as with them all) The large pinkish seafront villa near the centre belongs to U2 singer Bono.
Arriving at this point, follow the road (Avenue Claude Vignon) to the left passing Plage Des Fossettes and Plage Des Fosses. Turn left at the point below then follow the footpath through a narrow private road which leads out along the coast.
A rather innovative and futuristic design, the above villa is owned by London architect Sir Norman Foster. One of his many well known designs, and also one of the most prominent features on the London skyline is the building known as the Gherkin.
Once rounding the tip, climbing the steps up to the top near the lighthouse on the western side of the cap, is just about the most strenuous part of this walk. From here the scenery becomes much more dramatic, in places the narrow dusty track twists and turns, clinging to the rock face with sheer drops down to the sea and the jagged rocks below. Here at various points along the way, you can find steps leading down to your own private little bay. (assuming nobody has got there before you)
Reaching the fountain at top of the steps there are two footpaths, to continue on the walk follow the footpath to the left. However if you have a particular interest in literature it is only a short deviation from the walk to visit Villa Mauresque once the home of English playwright and novelist Somerset Maugham. Apart from the war years Maugham lived in the villa for nearly forty years until his death in 1965.
The villa can be found at the top end of Avenue Somerset Maugham. Many of the rich and famous of the period were guests at the villa over the years, including Picasso, Noel Coward, Evelyn Waugh, Winston Churchill and the exiled Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who lived nearby at Chateau de la Croe on Cap D’Antibes, now the home of Roman Abramavich.
Follow the footpath onward through Plage Passable, turning left at the top of the steps, continue along the road before reaching this narrow passageway featured below. This will lead you back across the cap to St Jean.
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Gazing out of the window on a cold dull rainy March morning, it did not look to be the most inspiring day to set off for a walk in the hills. However, the weather forecast did look promising, with snow forecast for later that morning. This I thought might give me an ideal opportunity to capture a few picturesque snowy scenes. By around 9.30 am the snow was falling quite heavily, and with my rucksack packed I set off for Settle about an hour later. The weather actually turned out better than I expected, with blue skies and bright sunshine by midday. (Well this is the Pennines) These are a few of the images I captured, all taken between Langcliffe and Stainforth. Left click for larger images.
These images all form part of the route from an earlier post, but taken early last year on a bright day, but minus the snow. (click here) https://whartonpjw.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/settle-lancliffe-stainforth-yorkshire-dales/
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I imagine if a person familiar with the area was asked to name one of the dales they would quite possibly mention Wharfedale or maybe Wensleydale. I think it unlikely that Crummackdale would be the first to spring to mind. Often overlooked by the guide books this area is one of the dales ‘hidden gems’ the scenery being just as spectacular as the more popular areas, with the bonus that there are nowhere near as many visitors, as for example Malham.
Crummackdale is a secluded pastoral valley surrounded by Limestone uplands & rugged scars, much of it following ancient tracks and bridleways.
For this post I have decided to write a brief guide to the area and not map out a definitive walking route. With a decent map (O/S Yorkshire Dales Western Area 1.25 000) A number of different easy routes can be followed.
The photographs also are not chronological, but have been chosen from a number of walks I have undertaken during different seasons in the last couple of years. A popular starting point for exploring the area is the village of Austwick a few miles north of Settle. There is plenty of roadside parking or the service bus between Skipton and Kirby Lonsdale (Cumbria) stops at Austwick, click for (Timetable) From Austwick follow the narrow lane passing the village shop and the ‘Game Cock Inn’ excellent country pub and popular with walkers. Continue on passing the village school on your left, looking out for the bridleway alongside the barn conversion little further ahead to your right.
Best visited in the spring Oxenber Wood comes to life with an abundance of wildflowers.
Dalesbred are a hardy breed, capable of surviving the harsh conditions of the upland areas of the Pennines. They are a cross between Swaledale and Scottish Blackface breeds, and are best distinguished by a white spot either side of the black face, with a lightly grey coloured muzzle.
Wharfe is a tiny idyllic hamlet consisting of no more than about twenty dwellings a few of which are farmhouses. It is quite unique as there are no actual roads into the village, just a few bridleways, a track leads into the village from the nearest country lane which is about a hundred yards from its centre.
Left click all images for an increased picture size.
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The bleak and windswept moors above Grassington can be an extremely harsh environment especially during the winter months. In the nineteenth century these moors were home to a thriving lead mining industry. There is much evidence of this still to be seen today and the Grassington lead mining trail provides a fascinating insight into this once local industry.
The life of a miner would have been extremely harsh. Before even reaching the mine he would have to walk the two miles, maybe more from either Grassington or Hebden, crossing open moorland in all weathers, no shelter, completely exposed to the elements. Little surprise then that in 1863 the average life expectancy for these miners would have been forty six years.
Starting in Grassington, follow the main street through the vllage. On reaching the Town Hall at the top of the street, continue on straight ahead, along the road to the left. This is Moor Lane, a very steep and narrow country lane, with beautiful views either side across the wild and open countryside. Continue upward for about a mile until reaching Yarnbury, which consists of no more than a few houses. In the 19th century, this was a large lead mining area.
The above building at Yarnbury is the ‘Weigh House’ This is where the mine ore would have been weighed before leaving Grassington.
From the ‘Weigh House’ Barratt’s Shaft can be found about 100 yards ahead on the grass verge to the right. From here follow the stony track a little ahead leading out onto the moor. (As in photo below.)
From the chimney, retrace your steps back to the wide stony track. Continue on this track for a few hundred yards (passing the footpath to your right which formed part of the earlier route) Once reaching the gate continue onward a short distance and take the left turn as seen in the photograph below. The track to the right leads back to Yarnbury.
We now leave bleak and desolate moorland and head down to Hebden Gill for one of the most picturesque and tranquil walks in the dales. Hebden Gill or Ghyll is a relatively narrow, steep sided valley. To the left heading back in the direction of Hebden, the Gill is flanked by outcrops of rock and huge millstone grit boulders, with numerous mini waterfalls along the way cascading down from the moorland above. The head of the Gill is an excellent place for spotting the Wheatear a summer migrant bird which arrives here in Britain around late March early April.
The above photograph is the ruins of what was once thought to be known as ‘The Engine House’ this would have been where the mines steam engine attendant lived.
The bridge in the above photograph is known as ‘Miners Bridge’. This was part of a cart road constructed as a link between Hebden and the lead mines.
On reaching the main Pateley Bridge/Grassington Road, cross and continue through the village.
A short distance ahead, passing the old schoolhouse, now a cafe. Follow the footpath back down to the Gill (Photo above) Continue along the footpath following the signposts. Take a right turn on reaching the narrow country lane, then follow the signposted footpath to your left. This will bring you to the Hebden suspension bridge. From here follow the riverside footpath along the River Wharfe back to Grassington.
The bridge was built by the village blacksmith, William Bell in 1885 at a cost of ninety pounds.
Map covering the area OS Explorer Map OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern and Western Areas.
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