Jump on the A1 at Huntingdon and head north and in about three and a half hours you will find yourself in Leyburn, a friendly North Yorkshire market town and perfect base for exploring the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
I had been invited by friends to join them at the Eastfield Lodge Guest House in Leyburn. The house is large, warmly decorated and everything you might need has been thought of. The town itself provides several pleasant pubs, cafés, shops and restaurants, all just a short stroll away.
Penny and Henry, the Lodge’s convivial hosts, are knowledgeable about the area and have all the maps, routes and advice you might need for some varied and enjoyable exploring.
During my stay we took an undemanding six hour walk along the banks of the River Swale and the countryside all around was stunning.
A mile south of the Lodge is the River Ure which flows through Wensleydale. Crossing the river we came to Middleham, which is a centre for racehorse training and you can see the horses stretching out on the gallops.
We visited Middleham Castle, the ruined but imposing 12th-century childhood palace of Richard III, (English Heritage.) On another day out we had a delicious pint of Black Sheep ale at the Tan Hill Inn, Britain’s highest pub. It’s a pleasant pub, and busier than you expect for so far flung an hostelry, but it does sit on the Pennine Way, and this area is a hikers’ paradise.
The Black Sheep Brewery is at Masham, next to Theakstons Brewery and tours are available at both. We enjoyed the Black Sheep tour, and the beer tasting afterwards!
Also recommended are the Aysgarth Falls on the River Ure, the beautiful and peaceful Abbey at Jervaulx and there are a host of charming villages and places of historic or scenic interest within a short distance.
If you would like to stay at the Eastfield Lodge, which has eight en- suite double rooms, or book the whole house for your family and friends, here are the contact details,
Telephone: 01969 623196
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.eastfieldlodge.co.uk