Aysgarth Falls, Middleham Castle and Leyburn

The next morning we planned to drive a route along Wensleydale as far as Hawes in the west and set off early and stopped first at Aysgarth Falls about half way along the route.

Aysgarth Falls is a natural beauty spot where thousands of gallons of water in the River Ure tumble, leap and cascade over a series of boulders and broad limestone steps.  Sometimes passive, sometimes aggressive and sometimes playful like today.

It was featured as the location for the fight between Robin Hood and Little John in the film ‘Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves’ and in 2005 it was included in a BBC television list of seven best natural places in Northern England.  The other six were The Lake District, River Wear, Whin Sill, River Tees, Holy Island and Morecambe Bay.

I had visited Aysgarth Falls before, around about twenty-five years ago with my children…

And five years ago I visited with my grandchildren…

Middleham describes itself as a township; smaller than a town but bigger than a village and it is a very fine place. Less frantic than other towns in Wensleydale but blessed with history and a magnificent castle, almost as big as the town itself. We parked the car (free parking) and found a pub for lunch inevitably called ‘Richard III’.

Richard was the last Plantagenet and House of York King of England, the last King of England killed in combat, at the battle of Bosworth in 1485, and succeeded by the victorious Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster.  Before he became King in 1482 he lived for a while in the castle here in Middleham.

After lunch we walked to the castle.  Between us there were mixed opinions about paying the entrance fee but with my new castle enthusiast pal, William, eager to climb the battlements everyone finally gave in and we went inside.

It was once a massive castle, one of the biggest in Northern England built on a site previously garrisoned by both the Romans and the Normans and deep within the labyrinth or towers and walls is a statue of Richard III and for those who say he was evil he looked arm less enough to me!

Next we drove to the town of Leyburn which was horribly busy and after we had secured a much prized parking place I gave in to the demands of the others and visited the shops.  Actually, I rather liked the shops in Leyburn  and the reason for that was that there were none that I recognised.

Usually in England every town has the same shops, there is practically no individuality in the town centres.  Every shop that I can expect to find in my home town can be found anywhere else.

These are not shops that interest me a great deal in Grimsby where I live so it was completely unlikely that they would do so elsewhere.  To make it worse, in a typical English town there is an over-supply of banks, building societies and pay-day loan money lenders and the trouble with financial service providers is that they simply cannot make their window displays interesting and except for a different logo all they can display is a list of lending and savings rates most of which are exactly the same anyway.

This, I am happy to report was not the case in Leyburn where there were an abundance of traditional shops owned and run by local traders and I rather enjoyed an hour or so looking around.  Please don’t spread that around too much, it might get back to Kim.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

31 responses to “Aysgarth Falls, Middleham Castle and Leyburn

  1. Yes, I really like places where the shops are all local businesses.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice to tell of one’s town to remember is to live again: Cheers

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You’ve talked me into a springtime visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I too like lots of independent shops.


  5. River Ure – always an easy joke.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You, in a shop??

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah well here’s a point for you to ponder then, Andrew. You’ve mentioned before that you like the familiarity and uniformity of Premier Inn. Well of course, it’s precisely that comfort factor felt by customers which drives retailers to seek conformity in their various outlets, and is ultimately the reason that so many of our town centres are disappointingly similar. That exact feeling of familiarity is the whole base of uniformity: shoppers look for the same recognisable features in a shop as do visitors to chain hotels in a temporary base. It satisfies one basic need yet makes for less than exciting High Streets!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. A fine advocacy. I’ll forgive the ‘armless joke


  9. I think a mix of local shops and chains is the answer – if this is possible. I love local shops and I’m lucky to have bakers, butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers, all privately run and providing good service, but I have to admit I do need supermarkets for the things the small shops can’t supply and for their ability to deliver to people like me who can no longer drive. And despite my good local clothing stores, I would miss my M & S should it pack up and go!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When M&S goes the High Street goes.
      I saw a TV programme this week – Gregg Wallace ‘The Factory’, he was following a production line for M&S Christmas party food. I don’t understand why M&S allowed it because it put me off boxed party food forever. From anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I like independent shops and hate the uniformity of usual High Streets with the chain stores and charity shops, not many banks and building societies now though.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. An interesting set of pics, Andrew. I love those falls, have never actually been on the walls in Middleham castle, and always like quirky village shops.


  12. Great photos, Andrew. The falls looked more than playful to me. And I laughed at your armless pun, first assuming you had forgotten the H. As for Robin Hood, I cut my eyeteeth on him as soon as I could read. So he lives on forever in my mind. And no, I won’t tell Kim about how you enjoyed shopping. Are you listening, Kim. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Zorro for me. When I caught up with Zorro it was the original, Tyrone Power, and it fixed me for life as a fan of romantic nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “Armless.” I see what you did there. Love the Hawes photo, with the crashing water in front of the stone house. In fact, I liked all the falls, and see why you visited more than once.

    Liked by 1 person

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