With rolling hills, sullen skies, close to ancient sites and with more literary references than you can poke a stick at, Yorkshire is definitely my cup of tea!
With a wealth of ties to literary greats like the Brontë sisters, Bram Stoker, Tolkien and Ted Hughes, plus an international reputation for it’s tea, a visit to Yorkshire was probably inevitable for me.
The largest traditional county in England, in the 1970’s Yorkshire was divided into four separate regions and, with just a few days to spare after our visit to Scotland, we had to limit which bits of it we had time to visit.
I’ve already shared our visit to magnificent Bolton Castle, but there’s so much more to see in this astonishingly gorgeous part of England.
Just to the north of Yorkshire and not so large or imposing as York Minster in York, Durham Cathedral is no less impressive. The cathedral was founded in the 11th century, but the bishopric dates from 995.
The site was selected by monks fleeing Vikings and searching for a safe, defensible spot to establish their community. According to legend, they followed two milk maids who were searching for a dun-coloured cow when they found this strategic position, overlooking the River Wear. One of the streets that passes the cathedral is still called Dun Cow Lane, although history fails to mention the fate of the milk maids.
Yorkshire abounds in fabulous, grand historical cathedrals (and equally interesting small parish churches), fascinating historical remnants tying modern England to ancient Rome, charmingly picturesque villages – and everywhere, picture-postcard vistas of moody skies, rolling hills and all the bucolic images we’ve come to associate with England’s ‘green and pleasant land’.
Just north of Yorkshire and originally 80 Roman miles long, Hadrians Wall runs from the eastern coast of England to the western coast. It is the largest roman artefact in the world, a British cultural icon and the region’s major, ancient tourist attraction. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987, much of it remains and it’s possible to walk the 117 km length of the wall along a designated path. The Bloke has plans for us to walk this next year, although we are yet to talk all of the offspring into such a vigorous family holiday.
While in Yorkshire, I happily realised I had booked our accommodation (in the wonderful Stone House Hotel) in a region made famous when I was younger, by a British television series called “All Creatures Great and Small”. The weekly show was based on books by a country vet, and was set in the Yorkshire Dales. Heart-warming and hugely popular, it documented a rural vet’s life in the 1930’s and made the stunning Yorkshire Dales as much a character of the show, as the people in it.
The hotel was just out of a typically gorgeous Yorkshire village called Hawes, and to get there we were able to ramble through the local sheep paddocks, by the river, along the public footpaths. Not a system I think will ever catch on here, these are designated public rights of way, often through privately owned fields, and a wonderful way to enjoy the true English countryside.