Nidderdale AONB in North Yorkshire.
At the heart of Nidderdale lies the picturesque market town of Pateley Bridge, with it’s traditional mix of independent retail shops that populate it’s steep little High Street.
Here you’ll find national award winning butchers, the Guinness accredited World’s oldest sweet shop, cosy cafes, tearooms and pubs, all offering a warm Dales welcome that has been the appeal for generations of visitors alike. It’s also a mecca for walkers, cyclists and those keen on a multitude of activity based pursuits like water sports, fishing, pot-holing and rock climbing and with a safe and enclosed children’s play area within it’s Recreation ground, it’s also an ideal location for those with younger families to cater for. Linger a while on a summer Sunday afternoon and you may well be treated to the strains of music in the air, drifting over from the town’s handsome bandstand.
Explore the town in a little more detail and you’ll discover some of it’s hidden treasures, like the Nidderdale Museum, housed in the original Victorian workhouse, this winner of a National Heritage Museum of the Year Award, through it’s vast collection of artefacts, proudly charts times gone by and the history of life within the Dale. With eleven rooms of exhibits to enjoy, you can see the re-creation of a Victorian parlour, cobbler’s shop and school room amongst the many treasures it has in store. Not far away there are the King Street workshops, a craft centre where you can watch the creative skills of artists involved in stone and ceramic sculpture, glass blowing, jewellery making, along with the studio of Alister Colley, the artist chosen to paint the official painting of “The Yorkshire Grand Depart 2014” T for the Tour de France. The town also has an active dramatic society and presents regular productions in it’s delightful 73 seat Playhouse theatre, which is equipped with a healthy lighting rig and sound system, audio loop, heating and airconditioning, all to add to your comfort and enjoyment.
Tradition is also enthusiastically observed, with the annual Nidderdale Agricultural Show -one of the country’s finest – which is held in late September and regularly attracts crowds of 20,000. This marks the end of the agricultural show season and is followed immediately by the Pateley Bridge Walking Festival.
Within easy reach, is Yorkshire’s latest and highest attraction, the Coldstones Cut, a huge sculpture created by artist Andrew Sabin, which is cut into the side of a limestone quarry, offering both the opportunity to walk through and explore and also gaze on the panoramic and spectacular views of Nidderdale and the wider horizon, including on a clear day, views all the way to the coast!.
Investigate further a field and you can see nature has been busy sculpting a truly spectacular landscape at Brimham Rocks. Fashioned over centuries of being exposed to the elements, this amazing collection of weird and wonderful rock formations makes for a splendid day out for all the family, climbers and those wanting to simply enjoy the pleasures of fresh Nidderdale air. It’s not only on the surface that nature has weaved it’s magic, as any trip to Stump Cross Caverns will testify. Here some 20 metres underground you’ll find stalagmites and stalactites on a grand scale, fantastic geological formations which have taken millions of years to evolve.