Bolton Abbey is nowhere near Bolton
I was recently taken on a surprise trip to a lovely little B&B, Throstlenest Farm, https://www.throstlenestfarmbandb.co.uk/ just outside Skipton in the the Yorkshire Dales. A good base to stay when you want to visit Bolton Abbey.
The market town of Skipton
On a gorgeous summer’s afternoon in February (yes really!) we arrived in the lovely market town of Skipton. Busy market stalls, independent gift and craft shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes with a canal-side walk not too far away from the town centre adds up to make a very nice place to visit. http://welcometoskipton.com/ There’s a castle, museum, historic church and a vibrant high street.
As I said, Bolton Abbey really is nowhere near Bolton
Bolton Abbey is about 6 miles from Skipton in Wharfedale, North Yorkshire. As you might expect there is an abbey in the grounds although the 12th century Augustinian monastery is now in ruins. It fell victim to King Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. It is actually about 60 miles from Bolton in Lancashire.
Open all day
As a rule of thumb the grounds are open from 9am to 6pm – longer in the summer. We arrived at the Strid car park at around 10am and left at about 3.30pm. It is dog-friendly although they must be kept on leads. https://boltonabbey.com/your-visit/admission/
You will need £10 to park
The park is open to visitors for most of the year and there are miles of walking routes. We chose one that included Strid Wood. This stretch has one of the largest remains of sessile oak trees in the Yorkshire Dales. The cost to park is pretty steep – £10 per car which can be used at other areas in the park – but then the area is immaculately maintained with excellent paths. A lot of it is pushchair- friendly. An easy-to-use map with discounts for the various tea rooms makes the parking fee a bit more acceptable.
Take your binoculars, you’ll need them
The walk follows the banks of the river Wharfe with some inclines that give way to magnificent views. There was evidence of acres of faded snowdrops, plus the green tips of imminent bluebells and the faint aroma of new, wild garlic. Spring must be truly stunning in these parts. Dippers, woodpeckers, grey-wagtails and more were spotted and it seems there are kingfishers and even otters to be seen too.
Part of the Cavendish Family
If you have ever visited Chatsworth House in Derbyshire you will see that Bolton Abbey clearly belongs to the Devonshire family. There is the same immaculate attention to signage and customer service. And the name Cavendish pops up everywhere. The 6th Duke of Devonshire and the Rev William Carr created the walks in the early 1800s with strategically placed seats to drink in the views.
The Strid, a natural wonder, where the river suddenly narrows forcing the water through at great pressure. It was formed by the wearing away of softer rock by the circular motion of small stones in hollows. Clever eh?
A seven mile circular walk
Our walk along the riverside took us to Barden Bridge, over it and along the opposite bank. We crossed the river Wharfe at one point to visit the Pavilion for coffee to cross back again and on to the stepping stones. I preferred to take the bridge, only having little legs, to the abbey ruins and back along to the river bank to complete the circuit at the Strid.
A good 7 mile walk.