Strid Wood & Barden Bridge at Bolton Abbey

Earlier this week, (the day the sun shone for the first time and we could finally liken it to a Summers day), it felt only right to rearrange my work schedule and take off outdoors.  Having passed Strid Wood many a time on the way to Burnsall and Grassington, I decided to stop this time and explore.

Strid Wood 2

Thought I hadn’t planned to blog about my time, I so enjoyed the hours there and wanted to share.  The outdoor buffs among you will enjoy and probably already frequent these parts – I’m just last to the party… again.

Strid Wood is part of the Bolton Abbey Estate.  In short, a walk from the main car park at Bolton Abbey along the river or through the woods, eventually brings you to the Cavendish Pavillion ↓…

Strid Wood is a walk further on from that.  Keep going and you reach Barden Bridge.PenultimateFullSizeRender

FullSizeRender 183My day began at Strid Wood car park.  There’s an entry fee (Bolton Abbey Estate entry) but I evaluated it was worth paying for the day I had.  A small tea rooms with outdoor seating provides an alternative watering hole to the other potentially busier eateries at Bolton Abbey.

Strid Wood to Barden Bridge is under a mile.  It is easy terrain and runs along the river.IMG_1543IMG_1544

There’s an aqueduct you pass through en route – don’t mistake it for Barden Bridge if you don’t know what you’re looking for as I did.

FullSizeRender 190FullSizeRender 193

Barden Bridge ↓ is a great spot to take a break by the river.  There is also a small car park, outside of the Bolton Abbey Estate for those not wanting to pay the entrance fees.  That said, I think you’d be pushed to get a spot so save the hassle; park, pay and get on with the day.  Sitting here with a book was sheer tranquility.

IMG_1579FullSizeRender 191IMG_1540

There is then a path that winds the other side of the river all the way past The Strid to the Cavendish Pavillion (about 2.3 miles).  This walk is absolutely beautiful and so picturesque.

Strid Wood 1

Bluebells adorned the banks and the sunlight danced in and out of the trees.

FullSizeRender 186 FullSizeRender 187 FullSizeRender 188IMG_1593 FullSizeRender 184 FullSizeRender 192

It’s hard to capture the light adequately here, but through these tall tall trees, it was simply magnificent.IMG_1581FullSizeRender 189 IMG_1587

Though we’ve visited Bolton Abbey on numerous occasions, the Cavendish Pavillion is as far as we’ve ever been; it’s always a fun walk for the kids and a reasonable circular route.  Parking at Strid Woods could easily be its own day out and gives the option for a separate circuit.  I visited Monday morning when the dog walkers and… shall we say ‘older clientele’ were enjoying their strolls so didn’t see any children on my travels and thought it’d be a perfect circuit to run next time!

You can  visit the Bolton Abbey website for more info here.

Happy gadding people!




A Beautiful Yorkshire Autumn

Happy to share what ultimately makes our little corner of Yorkshire so beautiful with you this week ~ the incredible landscape!  The Autumn has matured and though this past few days have been nothing but grey – that past two weeks has seen some amazing skies and magical sunsets.

FullSizeRender 67

Ilkley from White Wells Cafe

As you may know, I like to go out gadding up on the moors in Ilkley, so although there are many places in Yorkshire I could share if I had the time to go photograph them – we’ll just have to make do with the majority of these been taken from home… Enjoy.


Quiet morning on Ilkley Moor


The last seconds of the sun


Harlow Carr looking vibrant as ever


A climber begins his descent on Cow and Calf Rocks


Early morning in Scarborough


Ilkley Tarn



Sleep Sunday North Bay, Scarborough


Recently, I have returned home from a few big cities aware there was an absence of the changing season.  Clearly, Autumn is what it is here in rural Yorkshire because of the incredible trees which offer so much by way of richness of ever-changing colour… I wouldn’t swap it for the world!


My training ground


Camping: 3 Top Tips (and some beautiful pictures of The Lake District)

Camping… possibly a bit like Marmite?  You either love it or hate it?  We grew up camping every year, all six of us, so I think it’s just in my blood and is now something I’ve done with my little lady this past three years (guess what – she loves it too).

There are so many options now with pods and yurts and Lord knows whatever else they call outdoor living but whichever option you may be looking at here’s my quick recommendations for getting the best out of camping glamping!

The Lake District 13

1.  Check out your site.  We all want different things from our holidays so make sure your site has got what you want.  If it’s not too far to drive, visit the site before you book it… we’ve done that and it’s well worth it to check on facilities, signal connectivity (if you want it) and, to pick a pitch number if there’s one you prefer!  For me – an amazing view, places to explore on site and water for paddling/swimming/canoeing in are all met at the Low Wray, National Trust Campsite near Ambleside.

The Lake District 1 The Lake District 7Camping 25 The Lake District 3 The Lake District 9The Lake District 2The Lake District 14The Lake District 5

We’ve returned year after year because the views are A-MAZ-ING and when you book a ‘Lake Shore’ pitch, you are literally on the edge of the lake.

The Lake District 10 The Lake District 12 The Lake District 11

2.  You don’t always need all the gear.  If there’s only 3 or 4 of you going and for a short amount of time, you do not need all the gear.  We have two tents, one much larger than the other with full kitchen and cooker gear which we just don’t need when there’s two or three.

We like to eat out more on holiday so this ↓ single burner stove just takes a cheap small gas cylinder (available locally from Mountain Warehouse) or just about every camp shop in the Lake District and easily did morning coffee, quick-cook savoury rice and some steamed veggies (yes I did steamed broccoli one night).  The rest of the time a £2 disposable BBQ!  I LOVE those things – no washing up?  Yes please!  It is so easy and can hardly be called cooking.

The Lake District 18The Lake District 21

3.  Finally, make it home.  If you think you’ll camp for a few years it’s worth investing in some nice gear you’re going to enjoy getting out the box each time you go (bit like Christmas).  The Glam Camping Company have some great crockery we bought – I love getting out those wine glasses and tumblers!  We also take a full (epically huge) bag of cushions and blankets because I think it just makes it nicer!  Finally, bunting and fairy lights always create an instant little party.  Happy Camper!

The Lake District 25The Lake District 20Camping 26

The Lake District 16IMG_1946

None of these photo’s were taken with a blog post in mind, so, once again, are just a little bit candid but you get the idea!  Here’s to a GREAT Summer… any fellow campers and glampers give me a holler…

The Lake District 24




Yorkshire Summer… (don’t blink!)

Whilst many countries look forward to a definitive long and blissful Summer season, here in Yorkshire and indeed the UK at large, it’s a case of ‘wait and see’.

Yorkshire Summer 1

‘Heatwave’, ‘Indian Summer’ and ‘soaring temperatures’ are cruel terms used far too flippantly by the media at the mere whiff of a spell of warm weather.

Could this year possibly be the year??

From what my radar has picked up over the years, Southerners seem to get more warmer days than those of us ‘up-North’… and once again, only a few days off the longest day of the year…in Yorkshire, we’re still waiting…

Yorkshire Summer 8 Yorkshire Summer 3 Yorkshire Summer 5Yorkshire Summer 6 Yorkshire Summer 12Yorkshire Summer 11Yorkshire Summer 4

You won’t mind the wait if you don’t mind rapidly-changing skies and dramatic scenery.  These pictures (all taken in the last month) don’t do justice to how beautiful it is here, no matter what the day.

Yorkshire Summer 9Yorkshire Summer 14Yorkshire Summer 7

That said, once the sun does show and shoulders can enjoy that glorious heat, we absolutely  make the most of it.  Ice-creams on school – pick-up, meals al-fresco, work days re-scheduled and as much outdoor life experienced as possible.

Increasingly there are so many experiences and great days out to be had in Yorkshire, check out Welcome to Yorkshires site for what’s on.

We do get some cracking weather – it’s just a little… unpredictable so we’ve gotta go with the flow.  We can either lament the summer we don’t get or ‘balls out’ have a blast when it does show!

If that day is today, do whatever it is that is ‘SUMMER’ for you.

Don’t wait for day two… make the most of it TODAY!

The little lady and I one gloriously hot day last year

The little lady and I one gloriously hot day last year


The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence

Have you ever been in the presence of complete silence?

Not ‘quiet’.

But complete and absolute SILENCE.

It has its own sound and I’ve found it messes with you a bit.

Last week out walking with a friend, miles from anywhere, we became aware that our voices were the only sounds.  In that moment we stopped and listened… Read More

Returning to Yorkshire: The CLA Game Fair (a fun Press Day!)

In just over three months time the CLA (Country Landowners’ Association) will hold their  57th annual Game Fair at Harewood House, Leeds.  Last week I was invited to the ‘Have a Go’ Press day to try out the various sporting activities that will be on offer over the three-day event.

It was the most fun!

The sun shone all day and we were treated to amazing hospitality to the extent that at this point I just want to brag on the CLA team who hosted the day… but as you guys won’t really care for that I’ll instead let you know about what you can expect to enjoy should you decide to attend the event (July 31st – Aug 2nd).

CLA Press Day 1
Our day began through an archway, into the courtyard
Potential terror arises as the ‘mingle situation’ arises.
CLA Press Day 2CLA Press Day 3

Over coffee and bacon butties a super-lovely Charlie shows us a map of the grounds which opens my eyes to just how much of a huge event for Yorkshire this fair will be.

The CLA Fair is a ‘must’ event for rural enthusiasts, attracting 150,000 visitors and  800 exhibitors annually.  Twelve years since it was last in Yorkshire, the key emphasis is on getting families outdoors, experiencing country sports and celebrating UK rural life.  This year there will also be ‘The Great British Village’ featuring local producers contributing to the countryside.

Teamed with the best group (we were so enthusiastic!  Poor Rob from the Telegraph), we set off across the grounds to do ‘outdoor sporty things’!

CLA Press Day 8

The professionals show us how it’s done! (Usually 1 man who completes the cut in 15 seconds)

CLA Press Day 11

The Living North girls bringing it DOWN!

CLA Press Day 12

Until you do this for yourself, you have no idea how much of a workout it is! (think this was timed at 1 minute 40 odd!)

CLA Press Day 9

CLA Press Day 10

Sports visitors will be able to try this year include kayaking, archery, clay-shooting, fishing and STHIL Timber Sports.
CLA Press Day 14

Game Faces

CLA Press Day 13

CLA Press Day 15

Team CLA; Charlie & Charlotte, two of the super-hosts

CLA Press Day 19

CLA Press Day 20

Was pretty much delighted to be Merida for at least half an hour!


CLA Press Day 24

Did I mention the hospitality was amazing?


The day was rounded off with a gun-dog handling demo.  Aside from adoring black labs, I learned a thing or two about the sport and got to hear about The Estate Challenge.  This will be open to competing Estates who have ‘pickers’ of any breed, not just labs or spaniels (shooting speak that apparently country folk ‘in-to’ the sport will fully understand!)

CLA Press Day 25

CLA Press Day 27

The outfits though…!

CLA Press Day 28CLA Press Day 26

The event spans three days.  As there will be so much to see and do, on-site camping is provided for those wanting to make a weekend of it.  Pitches are a generous 7 meters squared with luxury showers/facilities… this will NOT be Glastonbury.


There’s much more to could say but you can check out the CLA’s site for the full low-down here.  I for one, am definitely looking forward to going – heck I may even camp!

CLA Press Day 29

21 reasons for Outdoors

We don’t choose to love the outdoors… do we?  I know I didn’t, it just grew on me (see more in the post notes at the bottom if you’re interested) and now I actively pursue getting lost in the great outdoors.  What is more, I find myself encouraging others to!

I find it exhilarating, life-giving and sheer soul food.  It’s a love story.  Yet this has only come about for me in recent years so it is entirely possible for people to grow to love the countryside and here are 21 reasons from recent days out.  Some shot from behind a windscreen, all just very candid.  They were my moments in time, mostly Yorkshire and in the last days of Winter hence it’s pretty barren everywhere.  That said, our little corner of the world’s quite beautiful don’t you think?

Outdoors 13Outdoors 14Outdoors 15Outdoors 10Outdoors 9Outdoors 11Outdoors 16Outdoors 18Outdoors 20Outdoors 4Outdoors 2Outdoors 13

Outdoors 18

Outdoors 21Outdoors 20Outdoors 17Outdoors 15



Post Notes:

A few years ago I began going outdoors regularly whilst going through a very hard time personally which lasted years.  Having read a book around that time that was from the school of thought we should be exercising six times a week because every day we do we tell our bodies (a la caveman days), ‘we are not going to die today are going to survive’.  This became a constant in my world and in all weathers… I mean ALL weathers, I would go walking and running for an hour at a time, often driving 13 miles, going for a run, then driving 13 miles home.  Being outdoors five to six times a week around countryside, open air and landscape meant I grew to love the outdoors.  Number one, it’s not difficult because it’s so beautiful where we live and secondly because I feel there’s a me I have only ever shared with the outdoors.  I have been with it on my worst days so there’s an affinity – it knows the journey.  This is possibly the most personal I’ve been on this blog so whilst ever I didn’t want to make the post all about this footnote, feel it lends a deeper element that perhaps others also feel…

Maybe this should be titled 22 reason for Outdoors 😉

%d bloggers like this: