Six reasons why Pateley Bridge is such a special place

Pateley Bridge.

Pateley Bridge. - Credit: Joan Russell

We take time to explore the area in and around the Nidderdale town of Pateley Bridge and discover why this part of North Yorkshire is so special

There is nowhere as blessed as the small town of Pateley Bridge surrounded as it is by some of the most beautiful countryside in Yorkshire, so said one of the many visitors putting on their walking boots to stroll along the River Nidd. The town sits at the centre of Nidderdale most of which is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The dale is not part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Does that matter? No because the area is protected by its AONB status which ensures the natural beauty of the landscape is not disturbed and that all of us are allowed the quiet enjoyment of the countryside. Join us on our mainly photographic tour.



High Street

Parking is exceptionally reasonable for the much visited market town. It’s either free or 70p at the Pay and Display car park just behind the tourist information centre. There is plenty going on in the High Street but sneak down an alley way to stop for tea and cake at your earliest opportunity as did Julie Everard and Ada Marshall, call in at the tourist information centre, shop for local produce and don’t miss the Oldest Sweet Shop in England (it opened in 1827) for some old fashioned confectionary.


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Brilliant walking

The banks of the River Nidd at Pateley Bridge are popular for picnics and provide lovely walking after a long car journey. There’s plenty of wildlife to absorb the birdwatcher or plant spotter. According to my badly scribbled notes the Nidd is dammed at three points to create Scar House and Angram reservoirs (the highest in Nidderdale) and Gouthwaite reservoir. The AONB guide Explore Nidderdale says a village was created to house the workforce which built Scar House reservoir. It had hot and cold water, electric lighting and flushing toilets together with shops, cinema, concert hall and on-site hospital. Apparently you can see the foundations of the village still if you look hard enough. The Nidd gets its name from the Celtic word ‘brilliant’.



Arts and crafts

The Old Workhouse in King Street is a hive of industry. Here craft businesses have begun designing and making unique pieces of art. It was the glassmakers Andrew Sanders and David Wallace who caught the eye of our photographer. They have worked together for more than 30 years using traditional English glassmaking techniques and recycled glass to produce all kinds of pieces from drinking glasses to perfume bottles and paper weights. We also met woodcarver John Hayton. Here he is with his son Joseph’s Green Man sculpture.

The Old Workhouse is also home to the volunteer-run Nidderdale Museum which has a broad collection of objects that give an idea of everyday life during different eras in the dale including wartime.



Ways to relax

There is always plenty going on to attract visitors but those who live and work in Pateley Bridge aren’t entirely forgotten. Bowls players Paul Kirkbright and Darryl Hall with groundsman Dennis Fryer make the most of their leisure time while Kieran and Erin play safely in the park



Religious times

St Cuthbert, the parish church, built in 1827 might be considered plain in architecture but we think it’s pretty imposing. It is dedicated to St Cuthbert who was an Anglo-Saxon monk and one of the most important medieval saints of Northern England. He spent time as a young monk at the monastery in Ripon.



Around and about

There are many reasons to take just a short drive out of Pateley to visit inspirational places including Brimham Rocks, Fountains Abbey, Stump Cross Caverns as well as take advantage of the many beautiful walks in the dale. But one of the extra special places we enjoyed was The Coldstones Cut, Yorkshire’s biggest and highest sculpture just two miles west of town. It was created three years ago and overlooks a Coldstones quarry. The views across Nidderdale are spectacular. It is a short but steep walk up to the sculpture from the car park and as you reach the top the views, and wind on less than perfect weather days, take your breath away.

The sculpture designed by artist Andrew Sabin sits 418m above sea level and is shaped like a streetscape with spiralling walkways. They lead to viewing platforms which reveal amazing panoramas. Sculpture notes say it interprets the quarry and the industrial history of the natural features of the Nidderdale landscape. It’s a wonderful way to view Nidderdale.