Forever harmonious and timeless.
with a desirable, select, Hand Engraved Stone specifically
from the Medieval 'fallen walls' in St Josephs. Almost
everyone in the country has some connection with Aysgarth
Falls ~ Wensleydale, being the most famous of all the Dales
The Yorkshire Dales is famed for its
outstanding upland scenery. It has many attributes, from
wild & spacious
to tranquil & charming but at all times truly ~ awesome.
It is wealthy with idealistic narrow winding roads boarded
with flowering verges & hedge
rows, all placidly leading to small villages and hamlets
cradled in the valley bottoms. These settlements are subsequently
linked by an intricate network of dry stone walls, spontaneously
punctuated by field barns, as the rise in green
pasture turns to purple heather moor. The horizon, inverted
by peaks & high
fells, scars & scree slopes are accompanied by an abundance
of crystal clear waterfalls and pure fresh air.
carved valleys are inhabited by predominantly farming communities
creating history with successive family ownership, respectfully
following the contributions of their ancestors in the continuing
tradition of protecting The Dales rich cultural heritage.
Aysgarth Falls has inspired famous literary/artistic people
over centuries, as such Turner, Wordsworth, Ruskin,... more
recent times David Bellamy, Sir Chris Bonnington, Freddie
Trueman, George Harrison, Ian Botham, Leon Brittan, Jenny
Seagrove all as frequent visitors and some as residents.
the most southern point of Manor Grange Estate there is
30 acres of lush rich meadow where in 1999 in excess of 11,000
native trees were planted. The young woodland was christened
St Josephs Wood to Commemorate the planting. Historically St
Joseph was venerated as a Saint in several faiths, predominantly
the ' Patron Saint of Workers,' but also the patron of several
countries and regions worldwide, An apt name for
a commemorative woodland, engaging in the planting of a
tree in respect & recognition of very special
memories, in such a peaceful and restful location.
Josephs having being established
entirely in conjunction with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium
Trust; the Trust are key leaders in, not only the planting
of new woodland but also the re-generation of ancient, and
the management of existing native woodlands in the Yorkshire
Dales, actively generating and securing the future of the
wooded landscape for generations to come. Over the last few
years the Millennium Trusts work has been visibly demonstrated in
a variety of projects, returning highly commendable results,
truly reflecting the dedication of their representatives
within the organisation. It has been nationally recognised
that from the Trust being established in 1997, qualified
knowledgeable characters have been totally committed to the
Trusts objectives. They are now 16 strong with a varied portfolio
of projects centred around protecting and reviving the Yorkshire
Dales landscape, not only woodlands but meadows, dry stone
walls, follies, monuments, field barns and historic buildings many
of which are part of England's Cultural & Industrial
Heritage in the Dales. St Josephs Wood was officially opened
by Sir Christopher Bonnington on the 13th April 1999. Chris
has many connections with the Yorkshire Dales because of
his own personal interest towards its preservation, he features
expressing genuine interest in many projects undertaken in
the Dales, giving additional inspiration to their project
The Commemorative Woodland, St Josephs,
is undulating, rising to 210m on the south facing knolls,
revealing breath taking views at boastfully 360 degrees.
Its location is a designated SSSI, this being a National
Area of Special Scientific Interest. It gently meanders
south into the valley of the river Ure where the famous
lower force waterfalls are located. Of recent times it
has been disclosed to us that there is a distinct possibility
of the remains of a medieval village. 'Fallen walls' are
an indicator that strip farming existed accompanied by
other natural evidence truly enhancing the uniqueness of
St Josephs. The SSSI extends on both sides of St Josephs
Wood, on the West into 'Freeholders' Ancient Coppice Woodland,
part of the National Parks and East into Hollins Farm.
The colourful mixture of flora / fauna is remarkable having
been left to its own regeneration timetable, now accompanied
by variety of wild herbs. Orchids have made it their
home too. The Early Purple is more than settled producing in
abundance throughout the wood, supported by that very
special, rare, Burned Tip Orchid which delivers sheer
delight when locating it on the south facing knolls
~ just perfect pleasure.
The hedge boundaries are alive and
active with a variation of wild life, well settled into the
peace and quiet enjoyment, where they have naturally built
their homes and colonised. Naturally maturing trees now encapsulate
the acres with their tree canopies presenting a never ending
array and formation of colours. There are no two places alike
in the whole of the wood, from the engaging reflections of
cloud and sun from the pond, fed by a natural spring, to
the patchy soft wet ground which is home to the toads
and frogs, the dells in which the Roe deer graze accompanied
by smaller mammals, to the south facing knolls displaying
a beauty created only by mother nature.
To the North
full extent of the northern boundary is a raised disused
railway embankment. Untouched for decades, its construction
and architectural features remain today including a Victorian
Railway Bridge in all its splendour. This section of British
Rails infrastructure ran across the country joining East
West lines until 1954. It was closed when the whole
countries Nationalised Transport System was being reformed.
is Reeth Moor, live with wild
life, deer, hare, pheasant, grouse, and badger, to name just
some. The Moor is striking, with its ridge of purple heather
adjoining the sky line, occasionally interrupted by a silver
streak horizontally meandering its way south, identifying
a moorland stream with its inevitable series of waterfalls
as it makes its way to the River Ure. This is the iconic
boarder between two Dales, Wensleydale and Swaledale, which
as a dale, has its own individual landscape and features.
Then, nestled in a carefully chosen defensive position is
the historic medieval Bolton
Castle, it features on the landscape as it was intended to.
Its visual impact tells immediately that such a building
will be reaped in history and it is! 600 years built in 1399.
~ Pen Hill, with Lower Wensleydale. The 'patchwork' farm
land, in its formation stretches' upwards to meet the horizon,
its features the occasional 'folly' with field barns, carefully
and skilfully constructed. Dry stone walls crisscross uniformly
up the hillsides, they are small wonders in themselves lasting
100's years after construction, a contribution of farming
families ancestors, the walls
with little or no maintenance, yet, they are as described,
simply dry stone perfectly stacked. The small clusters of
traditional stone buildings generally identify the home-
stead. Occasionally stealing the scene is the sighting of
the cascading river flowing over the limestone bedrock as
the tree canopies sway in the breeze. The river follows on,
guided by the gradient of the land falling towards the East,
levelling at the foot hills of Bolton Castle. The River Ure
for centuries has serviced inhabitants of many medieval Dales
villages and towns on its way to intercept the River Ouse,
just prior to York.
South/South-West takes a split in the
landscape offering the continuation of Wensleydale climbing
upwards towards Hawes featuring the spire of medieval St
Andrews Church, the bell tower of the historic Yore Mill
the roofs of these buildings lye like blankets on the tree
canopies that line the river valley. Occasional field barns,
proud of place, stand prominent in sun shine or cloud making
silent statements-of-worth, storing food for the hill sheep,
and shelter for the shepherds, many are still fully functional
The Ancient Coppice
Woodland of 'Freeholders Wood', creates this adjacent boundary.
This, as most of the land in this region was part of Bolton
Castle Estate at one time, now belongs to the Yorkshire
Dales National Parks the
'fallen walls' indicate that strip farming was very prominent
here, it is now not only SSSI but a Nature Reserve. Coppicing
takes place each year as part of its preservation. The
reintroduction of Door mice in recent years has proved very
successful. This high lights the dedication of the experts
and rangers hard work securing the future of this rare species
in our region. Ancient Laws still exist in this wood known
as 'Freeholders Rights' certain properties in the village
of Carperby have written in their deeds a retained right,
dating back centuries, to graze wild boar /pigs in freeholders
wood and the collection of fallen trees and wood from the
ground for fuel in their homes. The rangers annually leave
the wood borne from coppicing in a heap for the 'freeholders'
to collect, albeit no one for decades has exercised their
rights to wild boar or pigs within the wood, this would undermine
the integrity of its current status.
a neighbour farming family, who through successive family
ownership have been in the Dales for generations, they are
also engaged with the Trust in extending the preservation
of this unique area in the Dales. The continuation of the
SSSI also engages their farming practice in composite conditions
to sustain the status. Across the three locations of Freeholders
Wood, St Josephs and Hollins Farm it formulates the band
of SSSI in this section of the Yorkshire Dales National Parks.
This is all retained by awareness and careful management,
bringing unique results in a quest of rare species of plants
grasses insects birds small & large mammals.
The Riddings, extended
foot hills of St Josephs, meandering down to the third
force of the waterfalls at Aysgarth Falls. Low water brings
an abundance of collective rock pools reflecting incomprehensible
images- Gods works of art. This glacier cut hard limestone
river bed takes the form of three tiers of water falls on
a 1/4 mile stretch with an extraordinary variation of exposed
rocks, in a curious and fascinating geological formation.
After heavy rain, high water brings cascades of serious water-power.
This is driven by the re-charge from the moorlands streams
collecting peat moss on its journey down causing discolouring,
but then with natures artistic correction the formation of
the white lashings of spray give it a formidable presence,
- never to be challenged.
St Josephs Wood has had tremendous
support from the Millennium Trust and National Parks. The
continuation of conservation brings forth a current
project which is the planting of a Hazel corridor
from Freeholders Wood into St Josephs which will introduce
the door mice to a new domain. Its purpose is to encourage
the young to migrate out of Freeholders, this is especially
needed as the 1st and future generations of Door mice at
a certain age have to leave their birth home. Survival depends
on them establishing themselves in their own chosen territory,
which needs to be an identical environment to ensure their
existence. The Millennium Trust and Yorkshire Dales National
Parks invaluable knowledge in identifying the right projects
and species with a solid management plan is imperative.
to be found in St Josephs Wood is a variety of native and
rare wild animals, small mammals, birds, butterflies, insects,
bats, orchids, herbs, mixed wild flowers and grasses creating
an abundance flora & fauna. The privacy and tranquillity
creates a natural environment for these all to exist and
live in quiet enjoyment, accepting only the resonating sound
of the Wood Pecker.
Some of this natural uniqueness
can be expressed and felt from photographs, but in preference,
a personal approach. It is all here to experience.
stop a while, turn all around, relax to the emotions, absorb
the uncomplicated moments and breathe in the fresh clean
Dales breeze. Listen for that silence, gently capture and
embrace it. Just
as fulfilling ~ getting wet in the rain, feel it on your
face, drain through your hair, look to the skies, surrender
those material values, for the absolute peace.
Josephs is a spiritual place, the experience is undoubtedly
Godly...........It doesn't get any better than