Grosmont Railway Tunnels, North York Moors

The North York Moors village of Grosmont lies on the Whitby to Pickering railway line, which was built by George Stephenson and opened over its full length on 26 May 1836. There are two adjacent railway tunnels to the south of the village, and the current line passes through the large one.

The earlier small tunnel is now used as a pedestrian route through to the North York Moors Railway engine sheds. Built between 1833 and 1835, it is a Grade 2 listed building, 130 yards long, 14 feet high and 10 feet wide. It was one of the world’s first passenger railway tunnels and carriages containing up to 10 people would have been pulled by horses.

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Pillars Past, Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale

The sculpture ‘Pillars Past’ is just a couple of minutes walk from Pateley Bridge town centre. It can be found by following the Six Dales Trail towards Glasshouses alongside the River Nidd. Commissioned by Sustrans, it forms part of the public art trail ‘Passing Places’ which mirrors the long distance Way Of The Roses Cycle Route.

This coast-to-coast route between Morecambe and Bridlington passes through some of the most beautiful landscape in the north of England, and ‘Passing Places’ was developed as a public art project with the aim of adding a cultural and historic experience to enrich the travellers’ journey. Pateley Bridge, sited half way along the route, was selected as the location for one of the pieces of public art.

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Easby Abbey, Richmond, Northern England

Easby Abbey was known in the Middle Ages as the Abbey of St Agatha by Richmond. It was founded in 1151-2 by Roald, constable of nearby Richmond Castle.

Easby was a house of Premonstratensian canons, the third house of this order to be founded in England. They were an order of regular canons, meaning communities of ordained priests living together, rather than monks – who take vows but are not ordained.

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Freewill House, Barnard Castle, North Pennines

This building is one of the earliest Nonconformist chapels in the North Pennines and was an important meeting place for dales people during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is situated in Briscoe, Baldersdale, about three-quarters of a mile east of the Hury Reservoir dam.

The property originally had a roof thatched in heather from the local moorland. It was accessed by the congregation at first floor level where a porch led into two larger rooms in the now derelict section. One was used for meetings and the other as a supper room.

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Ravenscar Radar Station, Yorkshire Coast

The group of buildings that make up this radar station can be found in a field on the Yorkshire Coast about one mile south-east of Ravenscar. Access to the site is by way of the Cinder Track dismantled railway line, or the Cleveland Way cliff-top footpath.

During World War II radio waves pulsing from this site helped detect invading German ships and aircraft. The station was built in late 1940 and was one of a chain, known as Coastal Defence Chain Home Low, built around Britain’s coast. It enabled operators to see enemy craft approaching that were otherwise invisible to the naked eye.

WAAF radar operator Denise Miley

Radar was invented by the British just before the war started and played a vital role in defending the country. Radar meant the British could find and attack intruders before they were attacked themselves and prevented the loss of many pilots and aircraft because attacks could be pinpointed more accurately. Earlier stations were crucial during the 1940 Battle of Britain and helped the RAF defeat the much larger German Luftwaffe.

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Smardale Gill, Kirkby Stephen, Northern England

Smardale Gill is a beautiful valley in the Yorkshire Dales just a couple of miles north of Ravenstonedale and contains Smardale Gill National Nature Reserve. One of the joys of the reserve is its easy access. A wide path, of very little gradient, allows visitors to experience a range of truly glorious, unspoilt habitats, from ancient woodland to flower-rich limestone grassland. This landscape also holds interesting archaeology, from the Romano-British times through to the railway heyday. A visit to the nature reserve transports you to a truly remote area of landscape all easily accessible along its 3½ mile length.

Easy access

The woodlands are ancient and semi-natural, meaning that there has been a constant covering of trees in the area since at least 1600. Within them there is a large amount of dead wood, providing important habitat for a vast number of insects and woodland birds. The limestone grasslands of the nature reserve are internationally important. Between May and September, they burst into a glorious display of colour as the plants, which are much more abundant than the grasses, come into flower. These include melancholy thistle, knapweed, wood cranesbill, great burnet, northern marsh butterfly, fragrant and common spotted orchid, common rock rose, wild thyme, bird’s-foot trefoil, salad burnet, limestone bedstraw, devil’s-bit scabious, bloody cranesbill and fell wort.

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Ravenscar, Yorkshire Coast, Northern England

The village of Ravenscar on the North Yorkshire coast lies on both the Cleveland Way National Trail and the Cinder Track (the disused Scarborough to Whitby railway line). The Cleveland Way in this area follows the cliff tops, and the Cinder Track is slightly inland, so it’s easy to connect the two to create circular walks. I prefer walking to Ravenscar along the Cleveland Way north from Cloughton (about six miles) or south from Robin Hood’s Bay (about four miles), then returning by way of the easier going Cinder Track.

Ravenscar has a hotel, a National Trust visitor centre, a cafe, public toilets and a few houses. It’s often described as ‘the town that never was’. In Victorian times plans were made to turn the village into a popular tourist destination to rival Scarborough. Roads, foundations, sewers and a few homes were built, but the development company went bankrupt and the expansion was left unfinished.

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