If you venture into the woods near Ilton & Masham, you're sure of a big surprise... a Stonehenge-like structure known as Druids' Temple. It's a curious folly in a somewhat hidden location, much loved by children in search of an adventure.
The stones aren't as huge as those at Stonehenge but they are more accessible and intact. The 'main ring' has an impressive entrance which leads to a double circle of large stones, many over 8 feet tall, and at the back there's a dark gloomy 'Tomb of Transformation' with a long flat stone table. Druids Temple was built much more recently than Stonehenge - at some time between 1700 and 1800. The landowner of the time, William Danby is said to have paid locals to build it as a work-creation project during a recession. This was at a time when many young men travelled around Europe, fascinated by the Romantic movement and nostalgic for ancient customs. There was something of a 'fashion' for druidism.
There are stories that William Danby hired a hermit to live there, ‘speaking to no one and allowing his beard and hair to grow’. Some say say he stayed for 7 years, others only for a few days.
Children love to play hide and seek in and around Druids Temple. (Don't try to walk on the top of the stones: a local girl broke her leg trying it). Pathways stretch off into the woods (great for dog walking when it's lambing season as there are no sheep here and dogs can run around in search of plentiful sticks) in different directions so you can easily enjoy a circular walk. Within the woods you'll also find random piles of stones and dens others have made. Follow the path downhill and you'll eventually come to a gate and open moorland where you can see plentiful pheasants and grouse, and look down on Leighton Reservoir. There's also a bird hide where you can watch curlews, lapwings, golden plover and various birds of prey if you visit at the right time.
After exploring Druids Temple, you might like to pop down the hill a little way to the quirky Bivouac cafe, also part of the Swinton Estate. Druids Temple can be found by following the signs around Masham to Bivouac or to @Swint Swinton Park and then Bivouac from there. ... See MoreSee Less
How is it December already? 😯 It's day one of our annual #YorkshireDales digital Christmas advent calendar🎄
We're starting with a cracker of a photograph - hoar frost along the riverbank of the River Ure close to #Aysgarth in #Wensleydale ❄️
The word ‘hoar’ comes from old English and refers to the appearance of the frost and how the ice crystals form to make it look like an old man's white hair or beard.
It forms when the water vapour in the air comes into contact with solid surfaces that are already below freezing point, and the temperature is unlikely to rise above zero for several hours, as was the case on this day 🥶
An historic poster for a Beatles concert in Harrogate's magnificent Royal Hall is expected to make over £3000 at auction.
The vendor states'Tha Apaches and The Mustangs were local Harrogate groups. Johnny Lockhead of the Apaches kept this poster from the 1963 night, in the 1970's he took it into a picture framers on Strawberry Dale Avenue in Harrogate to be framed. He never returned for it!
What's the connection between the Yorkshire Dales, the Hound of the Baskervilles and Sherlock Holmes?
Some believe that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired to write his books thanks to connections in this area. His mother, Mary Doyle lived at Masongill Cottage near Ingleton for about 30 years. When Conan Doyle visited her it's likely he'd have travelled by train to Ingleton and then onwards through Holme Head to Masongill.
One of Conan Doyle's early stories was called Uncle Jeremy's Household, and published in the same year he married. The main character was from Baker Street in London and in the story he comes to Ingleton by train to meet his friend, a chemist.
There's a stained glass window in the tower of St. Mary's Church, Ingleton which is dedicated to a man called Randal Hopley Sherlock who was killed by lightning at the railway station. His brother was once the local vicar, taking services in Ingleton and possibly Masongill. Was this the inspiration for Conan Doyle's famous character's name?
Conan Doyle married his first wife, Louisa at St. Oswald's in Thornton in Lonsdale between Ingleton and Masongill, where the Reverend Sherlock also sometimes took services.
Many believe that the Hound of the Baskerville story was actually inspired by the mythical Barguest who lived in Troller's Gyhl by Skyreholme (this photo) and who was supposedly a saucer-eyed, wolf-like creature (the three creatures in this photo are not quite wolfs!) What do you think?
For those who enjoyed my earlier post on place names - Skyreholme is thought to mean 'bright water meadow'. A Holme is a water meadow and skirr an old Norse word for bright. ... See MoreSee Less