Balancing Boulders in the Yorkshire Dales
For a day out that appeals to young and old alike amidst the beauty and grandeur of the Yorkshire Dales it is difficult to match the dramatic and rugged scenery afforded by a visit to Brimham Rocks.
A series of naturally formed rock formations, with exotic names such as Druid’s Castle Rocks’ and ‘Druid’s Writing Desk’, Brimham Rocks were eroded over countless years by the actions of the wind and weather. Covering an area of 50 acres of rocks, woods and moorland and rising to a height of 300 metres there are views in every direction over the surrounding unspoilt countryside. This part of North Yorkshire is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty and abundant in wildlife. Brimham Rocks is in the care of the National Trust.
How did the rocks get there
The Victorians believed that the strange rock shapes were man-made, possibly attributed to the Druids, but sadly this is not the case.Visitors have been coming to the area for over 200 years to walk amongst and see the fantastically shaped towering rock formations sculptured from the millstone grit. However the history and geology of the area goes back hundreds and thousands and even millions of years.
The millstone grit rocks at Brimham once formed part of a vast delta of sand and pebbles washed down from distant mountain ranges. Later Ice Ages and the effects of glacial action deposited larger rocks and boulders onto the millstone grit. Erosion of the softer millstone grit by wind, rain and weather has, over many thousands of years, carved out the rock formations and outcrops seen today.
Now Brimham Rocks is an area of fantastic shapes and rock formations, many appearing to balance precariously on one another. The descriptive names given to some of these outcrops speak for themselves, names such as ‘Dancing Bear’, ‘Sphinx’, Eagle Rock’, ‘Castle Rocks’ and ‘Blacksmith’s Anvil’, to name just a few.
How to get there
Brimham Rocks stand on the moors overlooking Nidderdale in the Yorkshire Dales, 4 miles east of Pately Bridge off the B6265, 8 miles south west of Ripon and 10 miles north of Harrogate off the B6165. It is well signposted and a popular tourist destination.
There is a visitor car park, open all year round from 8am to dusk. The visitor centre, shop and kiosk is open 11-5 most days from mid February to December, though visitors are advised to check the National Trust website.
An all weather path suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs wends its way from the car park between the rock formations to the information centre and refreshments kiosk. There are many other smaller, uneven footpaths criss-crossing the area.
Visitors should take care, particularly in wet weather, as the rocks can be slippery and dangerous, and there are cliff edges.
Charges for the pay and display car park apply as follows:
Cars, £4 for up to 4 hours, then £5.
Minibuses, £8 all day.
Coaches, £15 all day by prior booking.
There is no charge for National Trust members.