Thruscross Resevoir – Such natural beauty so close to Leeds!

One of the best things I love about living in Leeds is that the city is very close to beautiful countryside, natural beauty and wildlife. Within 20 minutes drive of Leeds you can be in the countryside and walking footpaths and trails through woodland and up hills and peaks.

I have been to Thruscross Resevoir many times but I hadn’t been for a few years until yesterday when I took my camera and a drone to try and get some good video of the dam and countryside around it. The Autumn colours were out and the sun was shining so it was a good day for photography.

Thruscross Resevoir is just north of the Yorkshire town of Otley and west of Harrogate. It’s just off the A59 and is one of several resevoirs in the Washburn Valley. The resevoir was completed in 1966 so it’s the most recent resevoir to be constructed in the Washburn valley. The village of West End was flooded during the construction of Thruscross Resevoir and during severe droughts parts of the village can still be seen.

The area around Thruscross Resevoir is an area of natural beauty with woodland and moors and footpaths around the resevoir and surrounding area. There is a good sized car park next to Thruscross. It’s the sort of place that you can visit and not see anyone else although at weekends and holidays you see dog walkers and ramblers as well as curious sightseers who want to drive over the bridge at the top of the dam.

Thuscross Resevoir from the air.
Thuscross Rsevoir from the air.

I took two cameras for this visit to Thruscross Resevoir. I took my Nikon D3300 and tripod as well as a Yuneek Typhoon H drone. I decided to make a short film about Thruscross Resevoir and the video below is the end result.

Otley Chevin Forest Park

Otley Chevin Forest Park is about 10 miles north-west of Leeds City Centre. Otley Chevin is a cliff that rises steeply from the Yorkshire market town of Otley in West Yorkshire. The River Wharfe can be seen in the valley and on a clear day you can see for miles. The highest point of Otley Chevin reaches 282 metres and as well as fantastic views it’s a great place to walk your dog or explore the woodland and heathland. There are several walks with easy to follow footpaths along The Chevin and The Dales Way uns through the area.

There is a good car park at Surprise View and you will find The Royalty Pub just across the road from the car park if you need food or refreshments.

I recently visited Otley Chevin at sunset and took this photograph.

Otley Chevin
Sunset over Otley Chevin near Leeds.

York – Capital of the Roman empire.

Roman history has always interested me and on a recent visit to York I found myself looking at a statue of the first Christian Roman Emperor, who lived in York or Eboracum as it was known for about a year in around AD306. His father was Emperor Constantius and York had been the imperial capital of the Roman empire. When he died Constantine assumed the role of Emperor despite the role having been promised to Severus but things were complicated because Maxentius also wanted the same title.

In AD312 Constantine moved against Maxentius and their armies met just outside the gates of Rome, after Severus had taken his own life. Constantine won the battle and then went on to rule from Constantinople, or Constantine’s City (Istanbul). This was where his support for Christianity led to it becoming the religion of Western Europe.

York can say that it played a part in the development of Christianity throughout western Europe!

It was King Edwin, who had also converted to Christianity, that decided to build, in AD627, a church dedicated to Rome on the ruins of the Roman principia that was later to become the York Minster that we see today.

If you are interested in Roman history I can recommend that you visit The Yorkshire Museum in York where you can see what life in Roman York was like. You can also see what life in York was like before the Romans arrived in York in AD71. Entrance to The Yorkshire Museum costs £7.50 and you can find out more information about the museum here.

This is a photo that I took of the Roman Emperor Constantine, which is located just outside York Minster.

Emperor Constantine lived in York and was responsible for the spread of Christianity throughout western Europe.

Jervaulx Abbey – A secret gem

On my way back from Aysgarth Falls in North Yorkshire this week I stopped at the outstanding Jervaulx Abbey situated on the Ripon Road (A6108)between Leyburn and Masham.

Despite living in Yorkshire all my life I have never visited Jervaulx Abbey before so we parked up in the car park and wondered across the road to the abbey gate. There was beautiful late afternoon sunshine and after putting our £3 entrance fee in the honesty box we wondered into the sprawling ruins of this Cistercian abbey founded in 1146. The abbey is set in 126 acres of wonderful parkland and you can sit on one of the many benches to admire the views and wild flowers and wonder what life must have been like for the monks who lived here.

Here are some photos I took on my visit.

Founded in 1146, Jervaulx Abbey was once a great Cistercian monastery.
Founded in 1146, Jervaulx Abbey was once a great Cistercian monastery.
A very ornate wrought iron bench photographed in the grounds of Jervaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire.
A very ornate wrought iron bench photographed in the grounds of Jervaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire.

My visit to historic York

If the Romans and the Vikings could see York as it is now I wonder how they would feel? It was 71AD when the Romans arrived in York and 866AD when the Vikings first paid a visit, but also there were other well known visitors to York. William the Conqueror marched on the city in 1068 and Henry VIII visited with wife number 5 in 1541. I think that these past visitors would be pleased by the way that York has retained much of its history and at the same time added some new attractions such as The Railway Museum and the famous Bettys Cafe Tearooms.

Of the many attractions in York I would recommend the Castle Museum, the Yorkshire Museum and The York Dungeon as well of course the must see attractions of York Minster and The Shambles. York is rich in culture and you can easily spend a few days in this walled city. Buying a York Pass is good value for money as you can use it to see York’s Chocolate Story, Clifford’s Tower and another 30 York attractions. Once you have seen York there are many other attractions nearby worth visiting. You can see an original World War II prisoner of war camp at nearby Eden Camp or visit the outstanding Castle Howard where the Howard family have lived in their magnificent 18th century residence for over 300 years.

Useful Information

You can travel to York with Virgin Trains from London in 2 hours and by car it is just 20 minutes from the M1/M62 motorway network.

For more information go to Visit York

Here are some photos I took on my visit to York this week.

York Minster
York Minster
York Minster
York Minster
Ghost Walk York Experience
Ghost Walk York Experience


Cauldron Falls, West Burton

Cauldron Falls in the tiny beautiful village of West Burton in North Yorkshire is a stunning waterfall that is not that well known. It’s near to the more visited Aysgarth Falls but I think Cauldron Falls is better. There is plenty of nearby parking available and the waterfall is only 50 yards from the road making access very easy. I took this photo with a shutter speed of 1/4 using a tripod on my Nikon D3300.

Cauldron Falls, West Burton
Cauldron Falls, West Burton