Knaresborough

I am really impressed with how this photo turned out. I took it using the panorama feature on my iPhone 4s and I have not edited it in anyway, other than to resize for the web. I never edit any of my photos.
I am really impressed with how this photo turned out. I took it using the panorama feature on my iPhone 4s and I have not edited it in any way, other than to resize for the web. I never edit any of my photos. I love the ominous dark clouds next to the bright blue sky.

Today was a fabulous day. It was one of those days that was completely unplanned with the decision to go somewhere made at the last moment. This morning, on impulse, we caught the train to Knaresborough, a market town less than half an hour away. Knaresborough is a gorgeous and fascinating place and I thoroughly recommend it if ever you’re in North Yorkshire.

I know the photos are more interesting than anything I have to say about the place, but there are just a couple of remarkable pieces of information I feel I need to say. If you can’t be bothered reading the next two paragraphs then skip to the photos.

Knaresborough is built around a gorge which was carved out by glaciers at the end of the last ice age. In 1847, work began to construct a viaduct over the gorge but just before its completion in 1848, the whole thing collapsed into the river below. Fortunately no-one was killed but the lime from the cement killed all of the fish and the bridge itself completely dammed the river causing it to flood. A second bridge was started almost right away and has survived to the present day.  It is now a grade II listed monument and it’s really gorgeous. The amazing thing though, especially for me, is that the construction of the viaduct was fiercely opposed at the time with one architect describing it as “one of the worst railway crimes in all England”. Personally, I think it’s beautiful and I love that we can just jump on a train and travel almost anywhere and for very little cost. For comparison, the train was cheaper for the four of us than catching the 10-minute ferry from Devonport to Auckland return.

The other fascinating thing at Knaresborough is the petrifying well. I have photos of this below. It’s a small waterfall with a string of teddy bears strung up under the water which petrify (turn to stone) in just three months. This is because the water for the well comes from a natural underground lake and as the water travels to the surface, it collects minerals along the way, including calcium carbonate which coats the teddies with a solid crust. There’s a photo below of this well with the teddy bears and the place looks just as creepy and haunting as it does in the photo.

Thatched roof cottage

Viaduct
Viaduct

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Public toilets
Public toilets

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Castle

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This is one of the oldest and tallest beech forests in Britain.
This is one of the oldest and tallest beech forests in Britain.

Petrifying Well

The beech forest is so old that some of the trees are starting to die of old age. They are turned into sculptures when they die.
The beech forest is so old that some of the trees are starting to die of old age. They are turned into sculptures when they die.

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19 thoughts on “Knaresborough

    1. I am treasuring the history all around me. This is something absent from Australia and New Zealand so I hope not to take it for granted while we’re here.

  1. The word, ‘picturesque’, must have been invented for this place. It is absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the photos and history.

  2. Super photos, Rachel! I especially love the beautiful, soft light not like the harsh, blinding sunlight we’re used to here. Guess you don’t need to wear sunglasses either.

  3. Beautiful place rach and great pics. So glad you guys are enjoying it so much over there. Was surprised to hear the train was cheap. We were floored by just how expensive train travel was when we were in England last year. It cost us nearly £40 each one way to go from London to Suffolk – which only took about an hour on an express train. I guess it felt worse as we could only stay one night so for two of us it was £160 return. Worth it to see my grandmother and aunt and uncle – but not cheap!

    1. I have found the trains very cheap here but we do have a family railcard which we bought before we left NZ and which has more than paid for itself (I think it was £29 for the year). The four of us travelled to Glasgow from London – a trip which took 4.5 hours – and it was less than £70 for all of us. That was one way though.

      The trip yesterday to Knaresborough – less than 30 minutes by train – was £12 for four of us return. The ferry ride from Devonport to the CBD in Auckland – a trip of 10 minutes (I could swim the distance!) costs $32 for a family of four. Perhaps you’re used to cheaper fares in Australia and so are comparing it to those but the fares in Auckland are astronomical and so it makes train travel look very cheap over here.

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