Iona goes to Harrogate

Trip 14; Bilton Farm Park,Harrogate


We set off on Tuesday morning for Harrogate. The first 80 miles on the A1 and then across country to Harrogate and Bilton Farm Park.

The campsite is in a field next to the main campsite but it does have limited number of electric points,however we went off grid which is normal at this time of year. The sun was out with clear skies and little wind so we were soon set up.

We are 3 miles from the centre of Harrogate but it is an easy walk to the local Pub,The Gardeners Arms and a fair bit further to the COOP. There is an old railway track that you can follow into town so we may try that during our stay.

We went for a short walk along the railway trails and then called in at the Gardeners Arms for a pint on the way back to the van.

The rest of the afternoon was spent reading before we started tea. This evening Sue cooked a risotto in the Cadac. It got quite chilly after eating tea so we moved back into the van. Today we walked 5.8 miles.

Day 2: 7.9 miles walked today

Today we headed out along Bilton lane that runs past the campsite. We then joined a footpath that took us into a forest and eventually the path lead down to the river Nidd.

We crossed over the river and then followed the forest track up a steep hill and then down to the river. We walked along the river bank for a short way and then turned around and headed back to the bridge but this time we followed a path beside the river.

We crossed the bridge and turned right heading away in the opposite direction that we approached from. We followed the river for a couple of miles.

Burgess Bridge

We stopped by some trees that had been felled, here we sat to eat our sandwiches. After a break we continued along the river where we found a large seat made out of stones.

This was opposite a house and there was also evidence of a bridge, now long gone, that once lead across the river to the house. We saw a kingfisher sitting on one of the original bridge supports.

A little further along the river we saw another kingfisher and as it flew off three others flew by. So from only seeing one we saw 5 in a day.

We followed the river until we came to the old railway viaduct across the gorge. We didn’t realise how deep the gorge was until you were on the viaduct. It was built with local stone and featured ornate stonework. This sort of bridge you could not afford to build nowadays .

We left the viaduct and followed the railway trail back to where it crossed Bilton lane, here we headed along the lane towards the campsite, but we did stop off at the Gardeners Arms for some refreshment before the final push to the campsite.

The sun eventually came out from behind the clouds at 17.00. We had another mixed BBQ tonight before retiring back inside before it got too chilly.

We left the campsite at about 10am and headed along the cycle track into Knaresborough. We stopped to read an information board about a lady who was a 5 times world champion cyclist.

Day 3:

We followed the map to get into the centre of town where we hoped to find an ATM, eventually we found two so we went for the one outside Tesco.

Armed with cash we headed for the castle and along the way we found Murals had been painted where house windows had been blocked up.

The castle remains are limited to sections of the outer wall and a tower. We took picture looking from the castle to the railway viaduct that spans the Nidd Gorge.

We moved onto the original court house which is now a museum. It was interesting to see the court room layout with the trap door where the prisoners where brought up from the cells. The original wooden benches that had seen many a minor criminal tried for misdemeanours.

Our next stop was back to the market square to have a proper look at the architecture that was so old, the other reason was that I had seen a couple of bakeries and we decided we needed a sweet pastry too finish off our packed lunch , so we chose a couple of Danish pastries.

We headed for some ornamental gardens on the way down to the bottom of the gorge. Once at the bottom we followed the river towards the viaduct where we found some benches. We made ourselves at home and ate our rolls and the pastries. A butterfly decided that Sue’s Danish pastry was worth eating,we could see it feeding on the sugar icing.

It was time to move so we made our way along the riverside towards Conyngham Hall, here we came across the remains of a farmstead that had been reclaimed from the vegetation. It showed pig sty’s, and stables with the original flooring. A milking parlour and various rooms.

After the farmstead we found a bridge over the river and a footpath that took us back to the cycleway where we headed back to the campsite.

We walked by the campsite entrance and continued down the lane to the Gardener’s Arms for a well earned pint, then it was back to the campsite. The sun had disappeared so it was quite chilly to sit outside although Sue stayed in the quest while I retired to the motorhome to read.

Today our walk was 7.9 miles again. Our tea this evening is Cornish Pasty,Chips and mushy peas.

Day 4:

Today we left the campsite to walk to Ripley. There is a castle and Ripley is famous for it’s ice cream.

We followed the Bilton Greenway which is an old railway line. This went all the way to Ripley so the walking was easier than the other day when we followed the river Nidd.

A monument the the Tour de France that past by Ripley

Once in Ripley after 3.5 mile walk, we continued into the village which was all built by one family including the castle. It is a model village with a hotel, church, school, town hall, hair salon, castle, butchers, ice cream shop, general store, distillery, craft shop and tea rooms.

It is well worth a visit just to see the architectural features. All the houses have the same design of windows from the two terraces to the hotel.

We went to the castle but only the gardens were open because there was a wedding in the castle itself. We did not bother paying to see the gardens but we were disappointed not to be able to see the castle. The tours are 75 minutes long so there is a lot to see.

The village is not very big with everything on the Main Street so it was easy to find the Ice Cream shop. We both had two scoops of different flavours and at £3.50 they’re were good value compared to a Walls Magnum for example.

After finishing the ices we started to make our way back to the campsite. We crossed the River Nidd by the aqueduct and headed into the common where I had seen a bench on yesterday’s walk. Here we sat and had our lunch before continuing.

We stopped at the Gardeners Arms for a drink, it is only right to finish a walk with a beer. The pub garden was busy today which may have been down to the sunshine and the sheltered position. We drank up and walked the last 1/4 mile to home.

Todays walk was 9.4 miles. It now seems a long way to go for an ice cream but looking around Ripley was worth the leg pain.

The rest of the afternoon was spent sat out of the wind in the Quest room. We read our kindles until is was time to pack the quest away ready for tomorrow’s departure.

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