A Circular Walk from Pateley Bridge Past Yorke’s Folly

pateley bridge yorkes folly walks yorkshire

Stepping Up to Yorke’s Folly

by Matt Callard

It’s a curious kind of benevolence that bestows employment to a ravaged local community via the construction of an entirely useless and egocentric – albeit impressive – stone column folly.

Such were the eccentricities of all-powerful John Yorke of Bewerley Hall that a shilling and a loaf of bread a day in wages probably seemed more like a splendid upper crust gift to the downtrodden masses rather than the outrageous irony it appears today.

Yes, different times and all that, and surely the needy workers were thankful in some roundabout way for the sandwiches, but you can’t help but imagine the bitter grumblings that must have accompanied every stacked lump of stone. Couldn’t he have opened a dark satanic mill or something?

Two thirds of John Yorke’s 1810 triptych still glower over the Dales village of Pateley Bridge today. Originally intended as ‘modern ruins,’ at least  we can now admire a good landmark, ponder a decent place of interest and wonder at the strange vagaries of Georgian landowners.

yorkshire dales moorland“Panoramic feast”

You can start this two hour circular in Pateley Bridge if you wish but this would entail a fair bit of road walking. Try instead to park in the convenient lay-by on the hairpin bend of the Bewerley-Hayshaw Moor Road where you can immediately hit the upward moorland track that will take you (5 minutes) to the folly.

A Victorian gale felled one of the columns but two remain, sentinel-like, gazing out at the wonderful views across Nidderdale. There’s a convenient bench if you wish, but the tough stuff hasn’t really begun yet. Take the stile and you’ll find a well-defined footpath and a wall on your left to guide you.

Soon (15 minutes) the spectacular views reveal themselves. High above Guisecliff Wood you’re afforded a panoramic feast of postage stamp hamlets, geometric farms and geographical drama. Notice too, vast Gouthwaite Reservoir to your left.

Important to point out, you’re accompanied along this first stage of the walk by a perilous drop. You’re hardly tiptoeing along a crumbling ridge but on occasion the pathway flirts with vertical misadventure (and believe me, those trees below wouldn’t come close to breaking your fall) so this is absolutely not recommended for small children or the unnecessarily reckless!

yorke's folly two columns stone“Open moorland”

Head towards the incongruity of the TV transmitter (forgiven on this occasion as a useful landmark) and remain on the right side of the wall. Leap the ladder stile and follow the perimeter fence all the way round until your path eventually joins up with a track leaving the fenced area. Soon you’re on the open moorland. There’s a path to follow, with a quarry on your right and Heyshaw village (30 minutes) in the distance.

The well-maintained moors that accompany you for the whole of this walk are used primarily for the rearing of grouse but they also host multitudes of lapwings – and keep a keen eye out for that elusive mini-killer, the merlin.

The remainder of the walk crosses exposed moorland until you reach Heyshaw. Once in the hamlet, turn right and walk down a narrow road which joins the Dacre to Bewerley Road. Turn right again and follow the road until you’re back onto moorland and the path that will lead (40 minutes) back to the parking place.

Should you require further entertainment, the nearby village of Pateley Bridge hosts a few decent pubs, a lovely park and the oldest sweet shop in England. Not to mention a friendly museum. But for those seeking the cash-free privileges of the Yorkshire Dales you can do much worse than following the footsteps to John Yorke’s folly.

Additional Amenities and Attractions at Pateley Bridge

Consider visiting a range of attractions after enjoying your hike. You'll find a nice selection of Local Dining venues within a short stroll, including several traditional pubs offering similar, homely atmospheres just 500 meters from the hall. For those with a sweet tooth, don't miss the chance to visit our renowned sweet shop.

In terms of Nearby Parks, delight in the scenic landscapes within a brief walk from the town centre. Finally, under Local Shops, there are numerous unique boutiques worth exploring, each distinctively showcasing the spirit of Pateley Bridge.

How To Get There:
\nThis section provides directions to reach the starting point of your trek in Pateley Bridge. Pateley Bridge lies to the northwest of Harrogate, just off the B6265. To find your start of the hike, journey towards Greenhow on the B6265. Take your first left turn towards Bewerley. Progress towards Turner Bridge and then move onto Nought Bank Road. Conveniently for hikers, a small parking area is located near the top on the hairpin bend of Nought Bank Road. Once your vehicle is securely parked, you're ready to commence your picturesque adventure through the Yorkshire Dales.

Or How About…
Venture to Settle, home to Richard Preston's fascinating Yorkshire folly known as The Folly. This 17th-century architectural mystery mirrors John Yorke's unique stone columns in their shared eccentricity. Built in 1679 as the standout masterpiece on Preston's estate, The Folly stood tall as the height of 1670's fashion. Its restoration now allows us to marvel at its elaborate and unusual design. Discover it's intricately crafted interiors on a guided tour, or simply enjoy the surprise elements of its distinct architecture on a leisurely day out. The Folly, layered with history, charm and peculiarity, makes for a truly engaging family experience.

More info: thefolly.org.uk

map of pateley bridge walk heyshaw

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