Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Drummer Boy Walk - Richmond

Richmond Castle from The Green
Alright, maybe I’m a little over enthusiastic about Richmond – (the first one, the one in North Yorkshire, not one of those inferior copies!)  And maybe I should work for the tourist board, selling the town’s virtues, but it’s only because I think this little place is perfect.

(Even as I typed that I could hear in my mind my teenage daughter saying in a very loud voice “Perfect for old people!”, so maybe I ought to add a caveat):- This little town is perfect for me to live in, OR for non-teenage people to visit.

Peter is away exhibiting this weekend, abandoning me to the vagaries of leftovers and cleaning.  But the weather forecast was good, I haven’t been out for ages, and the washing can wait another day, so I donned me boots and headed out.

But where to go?  Well, to be honest, there are loads of brilliant walks direct from my front door, but I chose an old favourite: the Drummer Boy Walk and Legend. The Drummer Boy story is all about soldiers, the castle, and tunnels even ends with a ghost.   I decided I’d have a walk around the outside of the castle, where you get some lovely views, then make my way down to the waterfall, alongside the river, over Mercury Bridge and then join this easy walk to Easby Abbey and onward.  It’s about 2-3 miles all in, finishing at The Station, another wonderful place to visit, ‘specially if you like food.

Actually it turned out to be not so much of a walk, more of a dally and a dawdle, a mooch and a mosey in and around the delightful settings on route.

I started by walking through the market and herewith obligatory picture.   Behind the stalls are a converted medieval church, and of course, Richmond Castle.  (Richmond Castle appeared in a lot of photo's taken today.)

As it happens, this little horse drawn carriage was in the market place too.  I have no idea why.  Worthy of a photo tho’.
I crossed the market place to reach Castle Walk, which is, funnily enough, a walk around the castle.  Walking along outside the castle walls, I love the views of old Richmond and Green Bridge.
Then I made my way down to the waterfall, surrounded by autumn colours.

After a short walk beside the noisy Swale, which rushes and gushes, almost angry, over the rocks and stones that cause it to churn and eddy.
I reached “The Batts”.  A very small park, but lovely none the less.

Over the road now and joining up with the Drummer Boy Walk which goes through the woods at this point.   A lovely view through the trees (Richmond Castle of course).
The Drummer Boy stone.
You can choose the high road or the low road. I chose the lower path, alongside the Swale, because I wanted to kick up leaves.  The river goes quiet here - silent and stealthy, as if hiding how dangerous it is.  Eventually the path turns,  up a few steps  and meets with the high path.  Then through a stile and into the fields next to Easby Abbey. I aimed across the field to the small hill, because I wanted to see the Abbey from higher up first.
Then I went on down to the Abbey.  My plan was to have a quick look, maybe take a few photographs, and then walk on.  It didn’t quite work out like that, firstly because St Agatha’s church was open to visitors, (and I’ve never been inside before), and secondly because Easby Abbey demands a lot more than  five minutes to have even a quick look.
I loved St Agatha’s church, it goes back to about 1150, with fresco’s surviving from that time too.  Proper history!  Incidently, the Richmond Online guide describes them as St Agatha's Abbey and Easby Church.  Curious?

The Gatehouse

And then Easby Abbey did what all old buildings do, caught me up in the puzzle of trying to work out what, where, who and why? I think I am going to have to buy the book! I love the atmosphere here. It’s very easy and casual. In the summer people come for picnics, but today women were chatting on the benches, their children running around laughing and shouting. Other visitors like myself wandered through  the ruins and archways engrossed in history. Lovely.

This one on the left is my arty pic.  

After a wonderful half hour or so it was time to move on.  The rest of the walk leads from Easby Abbey in a loop back to Richmond, and in particular, Richmond Station. The path is wide and flat from here on, good enough for cars, pushchairs, bikes or wheelchairs.

So after a 30 min walk or so, I ended up at The Station, from where it's just a short uphill walk to the market place. But I wasn't gonna go straight on - The Station's charms are far too tempting.  There is loads to see, and eat, inside.  

(Toffee fudge and chocolate if you are wondering, and no, it isn't falling off, there is just soooo much icecream. Delicious)

Here's a little route map of my travels.  Only 3.4 miles, and it took me nearly 3 hours!

After all that, my walking wasn't finished.  I'll have to do another post to cover the rest of the day.

1 comment:

  1. I have to be honest and say I knew very little about Richmond, other than it being a place with some history that I usually bypass on my way to the Dales. To my embarrasment, that is!

    It looks lovely, and well worth a visit. And I'm impressed by the wealth of wonderful countryside you seem to have on your doorstep.