Dalby Forest and the Bridestones

A delightful short walk in the North York Moors National Park to the fabulous naturally sculptured sandstone outcrops that comprise the Bridestones.

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Statistics and Files
Start: Stain Dale Car Park Distance: 1.9 miles (3.0 km) Climbing: 122 metres
Grid Ref: SE878904 Time: 1 hour Rating: Easy
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Dalby Forest
Start: Stain Dale Car Park Distance: 1.9 miles (3.0 km)
Grid Ref: SE878904 Time: 1 hour
Climbing: 122 metres Rating: Easy
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

The Walk:

The path from Stain Dale to Dove DaleThe path from Stain Dale to Dove Dale
Gnarled trees in Stain DaleGnarled trees in Stain Dale

I had wanted to visit the North Yorkshire Bridestones for some while having visited their West Yorkshire namesakes near Todmorden some years ago. Fortunately I had been invited to speak at a National Trust seminar in Dalby Forest and a visit to the Bridestones was part of the agenda. These famous Bridestones are on Staindale Moor and are naturally formed sandstone rock formations that have been eroded over thousands of years, first created by glacier movement during the Ice Age. They are a remarkable collection of shapes and sizes and like their similar types at Brimham Rocks they have tremendous appeal.

The first Bridestone comes into viewThe first Bridestone comes into view
More BridestonesMore Bridestones

Despite being mid October it was a lovely day and after the discussion and presentations of the National Trust seminar in the morning the afternoon started with a walk. There were a few choices of short walks in Dalby Forest but there was only one choice for me, this one and I took it with a sense of anticipation. We, I and a group of National Trust staff set off from the Forestry Commission car park in Stain Dale and walked up a woodland path with a gentle gradient to Bridestones Griff and Needle Point where the first group of Bridestones stand in line on the same elevation. The beautiful sunshine coming from a low sun bathed the white Bridestones and afforded them characteristic shadows to exemplify their shape. It was wonderful.

Sentinels in a row look down on Dove DaleSentinels in a row look down on Dove Dale
Dove Dale from the Bridestones ridgeDove Dale from the Bridestones ridge

A National Trust guide talked of the Bridestones and the surrounding area but I missed most of what he said for my attention was taken by the view. Despite the heather bloom now gone and the ferns and grasses a bracken brown the blue sky, still green trees and shining white sandstone sculptured Bridestones filled my head. It was an awesome time amidst the Bridestones and a WOW time indeed. On walking further along the line of Bridestones I was drawn to a particular one.

The Pepperpot BridestoneThe Pepperpot Bridestone
On the way back through the woodsOn the way back through the woods

The Pepperpot was the King among Kings, the jewel in the Crown as its bulky torso and huge head stood on a narrower base. As with all the stones the crown of the Pepperpot was slightly darker than the white stone beneath and this I imagine is what has protected the remaining bridestones from the fate of the complete sandstone ridge which will have been here millions of years ago. I stood in silence at the Pepperpot for some time while the rest of the group talked at some Bridestones further back. The walk, short as it was and including a walk into Dove Dale is ideal for families and older ramblers too. Apart from the moderate gradient through the woods at the start, which can be taken slowly, this walk has much to offer and one simple must visit the majestic Bridestones. Especially on a day when the sun shines.

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