Jo’s Monday walk : Interrupted, in Knaresborough

It was Mother’s Day back in the UK, and I was fancying a treat.  Somewhere I hadn’t been in a while definitely appealed, and Knaresborough fit the bill very nicely.  This North Yorkshire market town lies on the River Nidd, and an iconic railway viaduct carries passengers into town, high above the river.  Even on a rather murky English day, it’s a splendid sight.

We parked just off the A59, on the edge of town, and strolled towards the centre.  Almost immediately we become aware of one of the quirkier aspects of Knaresborough, the painted trompe l’oeuil windows that adorn many of the buildings.

Town Windows illustrate characters and events from the town’s long history, and you can download the guide to find them all.  Many of the Georgian buildings were designed with blank windows, to avoid paying window tax.  The town has no shortage of interesting characters, two of them sitting side by side on benches in Market Square.  Sculptures, of course!  Ursula Southeil, a medieval seer, was known as Mother Shipton, and was said to have been born in a cave south of the town.  ‘Blind Jack’, or John Metcalf, lost his sight following smallpox in childhood, but that did not prevent him going on to become an accomplished violin player, and later a pioneering road builder.

I followed my nose into Green Dragon Yard, in search of tearooms, but was immediately distracted by the artwork.  ‘Art in the Mill’ is a contemporary gallery situated in a former flax mill.  The manufacture of linen was a cottage industry in Knaresborough, and flax was combed by hand in the mill, which dates from 1808.

Castle ruins with a mighty history next.  Built in 1100 by a Norman baron, Hugh de Moreville sought refuge there in the 1170s, after assassinating Thomas Becket.  In 1205 King John invested considerable money strengthening the castle, to use as a hunting base for Knaresborough Forest.  It was here that the first Royal Maundy took place, on 5th April, 1210, with the giving of alms to 13 poor men.  Extensions and rebuilding, including the Keep, were completed by the King Edwards.  The castle survived intact until 1648.  It was taken by Parliamentarian troops in 1644, during the Civil War, and was largely destroyed by them, as a Royalist stronghold, by decree of Parliament.  Admission details here.

It’s in a wonderful situation, looking down onto the viaduct and the weir.  Most of the town is at this upper level, steps leading down through gardens to the riverside, far below. Our intention was to follow the river beneath the overhanging cliffs, find the Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag, and then to cross over to the far shore.  As it happened the chapel wasn’t open, but it’s a pleasant wander, with the river meandering below.

There was a house or two that might have suited, though probably not the fortified House in the Rock.

A text message disrupted further progress.  Might we be heading to Leeds, half an hour away, where our son was happy to be included in the Mother’s Day celebrations?  What else do you do when your grown up offspring has time to spend with you?  The other bank of the river would certainly keep for another day.  But first, a scone for sustenance.  Honey Bees at Hannah’s, on Castlegate- simply scrumptious!

And a few more murals.  They’re great, aren’t they?  I hope to get back to Knaresbrough in the Summer, and show you Mother Shipton’s Cave.  For now, we’ll pop the kettle on and settle in for a good read.

Please find a little time to visit these, especially if it’s somebody you don’t know.  Many thanks to all you lovely contributors and patient readers.  Anyone can join in.  Just see my Jo’s Monday walk page for details.


Drake to start us off again this week, with a hint of North African sunshine :

Glimpse of Tozeur

It takes more than a bit of Scottish weather to put Anabel off a lovely jaunt out!

A walk on Great Cumbrae

Candy shares beautiful images of nature in the north of Portugal.  And there’s cake!

The NIS PR3 walk at Velada

It’s that gal with the long post titles again!  Cheers, Marsha :

Why you don’t want to overlook the Boggy Creek Airboat Ride

How to open a pomegranate!  You never know when you might need this.  Thanks, Jackie!

Let’s do Lunch

And to wash down all that food, Lady Lee has a solution :

Sunday at the Beer Garden

You know what I’d really like to do?  Join Irene in the desert :

Morning Walk

Or I know Elaine would make excellent company, in sunny California :

A flower power walk

I don’t know about where you are, but me and Shazza have seen a lot of this lately :

The Tolkein Trail on a Rainy Day

And I know Eunice has had her share!  Wellies at the ready :

Exploring on the doorstep

Emma combines history and art with the beautiful Welsh coastline (and a bit of sunshine  🙂  ) :

Walking the Gower Coast : Caswell Bay & Brandy Cove

I love it when a plan comes together!  Denzil finds a guardian angel :

GR571 Stage 6: Gouvy to Verleumont

Truly exotic and stunningly beautiful photography- don’t miss Aarti!

A Walking Tour of La Paz

While Pauline finds somewhere that does a little good in the world :

Road Trip Flashback…

And, still in Oz, Carol watches another lovely evening fade :

Down to the Sea

I know there are rather a lot this week, but they’re great reading!  I may have to take my laptop into the garden, if the weather matches up to the forecast.  Hooray!  Make the most of it!



    1. It’s a lovely little place. 🙂 🙂 Our next door neighbours have sold up in Portugal and are moving to Knaresborough next week. They’ll be back in October but we said we’d pop down and see them, at Honey Bee’s. Those scones! 🙂 Watched a BBC4 History programme on Winchester last night. Lovely Motte and Bailey! Recorded as part of a series so not sure when it was on.


      1. Ah the motte and bailey are in fact about 55miles away!!! Bit of artistic licence there 😉

        Good programme though otherwise and some of the historians you saw are running events for us in September😀


      2. We were watching out for you! I did think those might be some of your historians. 🙂 🙂 I didn’t remember the Motte and Bailey from our visit many, many years ago- just the water meadows. That must be why. Not just poor memory 🙂


      3. Hee hee – made me laugh when she said a short drive!

        I was looking out for me too. Didn’t recognize anyone apart from our amazing HODs historians. We’ve got such an amazing lineup.


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