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Get to know A Bit About Britain - an idiosyncratic view of places to visit in Britain, British history - and stuff. Warts and all. Where shall we go today?

Friday, 1 April 2016

Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire.

This attraction carries a SEVERE CHILD WARNING: if you are not the keeper of young children, or feel distressed or intimidated by the presence of hoards of loud, scurrying, sometimes barging, and seemingly unsupervised small humans, DO NOT visit Brimham Rocks during the school holidays. 

Brimham Rocks is an area of often curiously eroded rock formations in Nidderdale, near Pateley Bridge and about 10 miles from Harrogate, in Yorkshire.  Once owned by the monks of Fountains Abbey, the Rocks have been a tourist attraction for at least 200 hundred years.  Nowadays, they are a magnet for families, their dogs and walkers (sometimes with more dogs).  There is plenty of opportunity for adventure including, of course, clambering on, and falling off, the rocks.

Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire.

About 320 million years ago, half of Yorkshire was the delta of a huge river that flowed south from Norway and Scotland, depositing layers of granite sand which went on to form a hard sandstone, Millstone Grit.  Erosion, mostly during the last Ice age between 80-10,000 years ago, has worn away the softer rock, leaving harder rock exposed.

Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire

Some of the rocks have been given names – not personal names like Adolf or Goneril, but names which suggest the shape of the rock when viewed from a certain angle, such as ‘the Eagle’, ‘the Anvil’ and ‘the Fractious Child’ (I might have made the last one up).

Birch trees, controlling.

The habitat around the rocks includes heathland, bog and woodland.  So there is a variety of plants, including various mosses and marsh plants, heather, bilberry, oak, rowan and some particularly fierce birch trees, which have to be controlled by rangers.  The rangers’ remit unfortunately does not extend to some of the children.  Amazingly, Holly Blue and Green Hairstreak butterflies apparently manage to survive in this harsh environment.

Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire.

Since 1970, Brimham Rocks has been owned by the National Trust, who in addition to caring for the place provide a shop (which sells locally made bilberry jam), toilets, information and basic refreshments.  On a good day, it would be a nice spot for a picnic.  It is certainly an intriguing place to see, with some wonderful views, though the last time we visited it was like a home game at Old Trafford and we couldn’t wait to get into the nearest city centre for some peace and quiet.  We really shouldn’t have visited during the school holidays… The NT car park (free to members) was full and an enterprising farmer was offering spaces in a field for the princely sum of £4.00 for each vehicle.  We worked out that revenue that day would be at least £1,000 – not a bad little earner.


Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire.

Brimham Rocks have appeared in various kids’ programmes, apparently, but the height of their fame, until being featured by A Bit About Britain, was an appearance in the video for the Bee Gees’ You Win Again in 1987.  I’m sure you can find it if you want to.

Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire.


41 comments:

  1. Your fist comment tends to apply to all NT places at weekends as well, being as I am nearly retired I will be going in the week more offten. Never heard of Birmham Rocks, they look like they are worth visiting.

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  2. I was hoping for a picture of rangers controlling birch trees. Will a stern glance be enough, do you think? ;)

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  3. Almost visited the rocks last month when I was in Halifax. The weather was against me though. However now that I've seen how popular they are I think I had a narrow escape.

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  4. They look wonderful but the kids would put me off! ;-)

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  5. A fascinating place. Love the photos!

    I don't know about distressed or intimidated, but I imagine being irritated by children would also qualify as a reason not to show up when they're likely to be around!

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  6. I had no idea of there being any formations like that in England.

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  7. Rock formations like that are fascinating. Sounds like you're not going to sign on for playground duty any time soon. I do think they should put you in charge of naming the rocks. I searched your blog before writing my post today. I was hoping to simply put up photos and a link to your always well researched post. Alas, I couldn't find it there. ;-) Enjoyed this post and the unruly children clambering over the rocks. You sometimes wonder why they bother, don't you. Have a great weekend.

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  8. Well Mike, once again you've given me a really good chuckle for the day. :-D I can tell you would definitely have preferred to be there without all the dogs and kiddies running amok. I get it, believe me. Those rock formations are quite something, aren't they? Yorkshire is definitely an area of England that I still want to visit.

    Thanks for sharing this with us and hope you and Mrs. Britain have a good weekend!

    Hugs,

    Denise at Forest Manor

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  9. I know I keep saying this, but actually I am going to make an effort to go to this place when in Yorkshire. I LOVE rocks like this. Have done ever since I was a kid (haha). I get the impression you're subtly suggesting it might be better to visit when the local children are in school. I suppose this isn't an April fools? Some of those rocks look tremendously eerie, like petrified people who have been left to weather away.

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  10. Oh my another amazing wonder to investigate, and I know a few youngsters in our family (myself included) that would just jump at the chance to run and climb. It's quite a lovely location, and a great source of learning about nature and earth!

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  11. These rocks look other worldly and if they weren't covered in kids I could easily imagine indians charging through them with bows and arrows and cowboys ready to ambush them from the rocks

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  12. Amazing rock formations! One of the photos reminded me of an eagle sculpture in one of the museums I have visited. Very nice! Wishing you a grand weekend!

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  13. England is so pretty. I would love to visit these areas too, however sans the Crumb Crunchers. I'm old and crochety. ~:)

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  14. Loved to death it would appear.

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  15. PS. I am not familiar with any severe children. Is it a particularly British phenomenon? ;-)

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  16. I'd never have thought these rock formations were in the UK. They look other-worldly.

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  17. It's a great place - but certainly NOT on a fine day during school holidays... I went there twice with my sister-in-law and other relatives, last time was in April 2011. There were some people about, but not as many as to be bothersome.
    If you are interested in my pictures of that day, click here and then "next" on the picture.

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  18. Sometimes you just have to accept that lots of people are attracted by amazing places, though there are other remarkable places, a little further from the nearest car park, which are surprisingly unattractive to the crowds.

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  19. Haha, agree about the crowds but it is a great place for kids to explore. I have photos of my daughter, at various stages of growth, scrunched up in a hole in one of the rocks. Nice way to measure her until she got too big to fit.

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  20. What a fascinating place. I'd love to explore those rocks! And an awful lot healthier for kids than sitting inside playing on a tablet! Glad to see lots of families getting out.

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  21. Oh, I think many of us can relate to visiting places when it's the school holidays ...
    Having said that I'm always pleased to see families out and about enjoying the world instead of being indoors watching TV or similar!

    This does look a fascinating place to visit though.

    Have a great weekend

    All the best Jan

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  22. oh, what a lovely park. I can appreciate the pain for all the little humans. For those who love geology, check out images from a cite just outside my home town of El Paso. Google Hueco Tanks...and just a few miles away in New Mexico... City of Rocks State Park ... Nature does such wonderful things.

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  23. Hi Mike - yes crowds and kids - neither are good! What a brilliant bit of history - that I had not even heard of ... the place, nor the geological aspects ... wonderful to read and see your photos.

    Love the chalkboards ... NT can be a nightmare, even though the venues are good ... cheers Hilary

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  24. Looks like a place I'd like to visit, but as a retired school teacher, not during school holidays.

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  25. My parents used to live in Harrogate and I drove past Brimham Rocks regularly when I visited.I stopped and looked just the once. No hordes of children then. In fact I don't think there was anyone else but me on site. Lovely place. But I think I'll give it a miss in school holidays.

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  26. These are interesting rocks and remind me a bit of the Hoodoo sandstone formations near Drumheller, Alberta. I'd be having a panic attack seeing little kids running and climbing all over these rocks and risking breaking a limb or skull. Thanks for sharing your photos of your visit.

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  27. Those rocks are fascinating! We also have a place not far from Cottage where the rocks have names. We have the old witch... and of course, the bottle, it's Brittany after all!

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  28. Such interesting sculptures carved by the wind. I can see how much fun it would be for kids to climb all over them.

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  29. Wow I can just picture Leo and Blain running around these rocks maybe even Sydney-May with them they would have a ball

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  30. Very interesting rock formation. They remind me a bit of the "Pancake Rocks" in New Zealand. The best thing about being retired is being able to visit places when kids are in school. We stayed home all Easter and left the attractions for everyone else, who have to fight the traffic and inflated prices at holiday time.

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  31. The way the rocks are formed is incredible isn't it, so many different shapes worn after all these years! I know what you mean about lots of children, a friend and I went walking at a local nature reserve type place this week, forgetting about it being the easter holidays and it was overrun with children, but once we started walking it was OK as they were more spread out. When you don't have school age children it is easy to forget these things isn't it!

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  32. I loved those curious rock foundations when I visited them. It was quite late in the day and there were very few people there apart from us. Maybe I should have made more of the photo opportunity ;-)

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  33. A nice area but when it's as busy as that you just have to go with the flow and think of the masses as photographic decoration. It was bad years ago so I shudder to think of the traffic problems now on a good day. With you being a Beatles fan Mike you could have made an updated Brimham Rocks version of the Sergeant Pepper's cover seeing as you had the necessary crowd of people assembled in one place.

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  34. I'm intrigued about what "The Fractious Child" rock would look like. I have visions of an evil looking cupid.

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  35. what a neat place! and yes, my boys would be all over them making me totally nervous!

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  36. I've just found your blog and it's so cute. I spent my last summer holidays around UK and I had a great time.
    Thanks for sharing these pictures that remind me my holidays.

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  37. I wish I had known about them when we were in Yorkshire back in 2000. We have a unique formation of rocks in southern Utah which they have named Goblin Valley.

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  38. What amazing rock formations; the 'Anvil' looks like a giant smiling man's head to me!

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  39. We don't tend to venture up that way (possibly far too obsessed with Dorset, North Devon and Cornwall) but that looks like such a fascinating place it would be well worth a visit!

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  40. Those types of rock formations are always interesting to see. Didn't realize Britain had some.

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  41. I'm guessing there's loads of retired moaning old gits about when it's not the school holidays, the type that were never once young themselves, envious that the youngsters have their whole life ahead while they are at the end of theirs ��

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Hi - thanks for dropping into A Bit About Britain. New material is now being posted to www.bitaboutbritain.com and most of the material here will gradually be updated and moved over to that new site. Please drop in there, click on the blog page, and take a look round. TTFN - Mike.