Sedbergh to Ripon
Take a trip across the Yorkshire Dales National Park
Sedbergh to Ripon itinerary
Pateley Bridge to Fountains Abbey
Follow the route - Sedbergh to Ripon
Sedbergh to Hawes
> From Sedbergh continue east along the A684 to Hawes.
Hawes is a centre for sheep-marketing and a focal point of Upper Wensleydale life. Just off the main street are quaint alleyways and old cottages which have not changed much for 200 years. The National Park Centre is located at the Dales Countryside Museum, which is housed in an engine shed of the old railway.
Hardraw Force, the highest waterfall in England, is also considered to be the most spectacular, and is accessible only by foot through the grounds of the Green Dragon Inn. The water drops 90 feet (27m) over the limestone Hardraw Scar, into a narrow valley, once the venue for brass band competitions.
Places to stay in Hawes
Hawes to Bainbridge
> Take the A684 for a further 4 miles (6.5km) to Bainbridge.
This little Dales village, with its lovely stone buildings set round the green, was the former centre of the once great Forest of Wensleydale. Low Mill, on the east side of the green, has been restored and is occasionally open to the public. Brough Hill, a natural grassy hillock to the east is the setting for a Roman fort, and gives fine views of Wensleydale and the village.
A little further along is Askrigg, another charming village, built of local stone and set among hills, valleys and waterfalls. Most of the buildings are 18th- and 19th-century, built as a result of increasing prosperity in the clock-making, lead-mining and textile industries. Waterfalls are numerous, but especially dramatic is Aysgarth Force.
Places to stay in Bainbridge
Bainbridge to Buckden
> From Bainbridge cross over the River Ure and then turn right. From here, continue on unclassified roads, then after Aysgarth take the B6160 to Buckden.
Buckden, in Wharfedale, is a very popular holiday and walking area. Kettlewell, further down the valley, was formerly part of the estate of the Percy family, ancestors of the Dukes of Northumberland.
This stretch of road passes the imposing limestone outcrop of Kilnsey Crag, one of Yorkshire’s most distinctive landmarks, alongside the all-weather attraction of Kilnsey Park, which has been established as a Visitor Centre.
Places to stay in Buckden
Buckden to Grassington
> Follow the B6160 south and turn left at Threshfield on to the B6265 into Grassington, a distance of 11 miles (18km).
This is Wharfedale’s principal village and another National Park Centre, for the North York Moors. Its small passageways, cobbled marketplace, medieval bridge and interesting old buildings all add to the appeal. There are Bronze and Iron Age settlements at Lea Green, north of the village, and further east, along the B6265, are the underground caverns of Stump Cross. The main cave has been developed into an impressive floodlit show cave, with wonderful stalagmite and stalactite formations.
Places to stay in Grassington
Grassington to Pateley Bridge
> Continue along the B6265 to Pateley Bridge.
Visiting Pateley Bridge
This pleasant town has been the focus of everyday life in Nidderdale since ancient times. The picturesque ruins of Old St Mary’s Church stand above the village on the hillside, and the Nidderdale Museum has fascinating exhibits including the Victorian Room and a replica cobbler’s shop. A mile (1.6km) from town is the former Foster Beck Hemp Mill, now a restaurant, which features a huge 17th-century water wheel, the second largest in the country.
East of town, along the B6165 (turn off at Wilsill) and unclassified roads are Brimham Rocks. These curious rock formations have been sculpted out of the millstone grit by wind and rain over thousands of years, and there are wide views from the surrounding moorlands.
Places to stay in Pateley Bridge
Pateley Bridge to Fountains Abbey
> Leave by the B6265 turning right after 1 mile (1.6km) on to the B6165. At Wilsill turn left and follow unclassified roads past Brimham Rocks to Fountains Abbey.
Visiting Fountains Abbey
Founded by Cistercian monks in 1132, Fountains is the largest and perhaps the finest abbey in England. Particularly notable are the tower, nave and lay brothers’ quarters. It was acquired by William Aislabie in 1768 and became the focal point of his magnificent landscaped gardens at nearby Studley Royal Park, which contains typical ornaments of the period, such as a lake, a temple and statues. The park’s original house burned down in 1945, but there are still estate cottages, huddled round a 19th-century church designed by William Burges. Deer and other livestock can be seen grazing in the park.
Places to stay in Fountains Abbey
Fountains Abbey to Ripon
> Return to the B6265 for the journey back to Ripon.
If you like your churches with history, then check out Ripon Cathedral. In AD 672 St Wilfrid built a church on this spot.
You can still see the crypt of that church – it’s the oldest complete Saxon crypt in any English cathedral. That alone would make the cathedral worth a visit, but it has lots of good things in its own right. The impressive west front dates from 1220, the east front from 1290, and inside there are
500-year-old woodcarvings, a 16th-century nave and some exceptional stained glass to enjoy. All-in-all, it’s a building not to be missed.