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Brimham Rocks - a favourite tourist attraction in Nidderdale

Walk Summary
11m NW of Harrogate off B6165, 10m SW of Ripon, 4ml E of Pateley Bridge off B6265
Facilities: Toilets, small museum, hut serving Ice Cream, tea and coffee
Parking: Limited - really bad news on Summer weekends
Dogs: Tolerated, must be on leads April - June 

view of Brimham Rocks Brimham Rocks is one of of the finest natural tourist attractions in the Dales. A series of weirdly shaped rocks, it's wildly popular with kids but understandably less so with parents. In fact, I remember once suggesting it as a venue at a planning meeting of a youth group, and the leaders turned quite white at the very thought of it.

Like How Stean Gorge and Bolton Abbey, it's one of those wonderful Victorian tourist attractions which fell out of favour in the 20th century. Now it's popular again, as you may find out if you try and park there on a hot Summer weekend. The Victorians were crazy about natural features like this, and the crazy shapes of the rocks still don't disappoint today.

When I was younger the rocks were just the rocks, and you rolled up in your car, parked amongst them and climbed whatever you wanted. Nowadays they're in the care of the National Trust, so it's rather more regimented. And while I'm not a big fan of the Trust, I think they've done a passably good job here.

 view along Brimham rocks

There's now a small formal car park (chargeable of course), but as you approach, there's several small areas of unofficial parking on the roadside which are only a few hundred yards away from the rocks. No prizes for guessing where I choose to park. In fact it's so hard parking in Summer, that I park just South East of the rocks at Brimham Hall and do a half-day circular amble stopping at the rocks for lunch. The route's about five miles, and if you look on a map it's so obvious I won't bother repeating it here. The rocks themselves now have nicely laid out paths between them, and there's a hut selling Ice Cream and snacks. Plus of course there's toilets, baby changing and the old shooting lodge has been fully renovated and is now a little museum combined with a National Trust shop.

In fact it's all clean, manicured and typically National Trust. The geology is explained nicely in the museum (have to give the NT credit for something), but basically the rocks are a hard Millstone Grit which has weathered better than the surrounding landscape. And that's it, great place to visit, but can be crowded

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Comments (5)
Excellent site...keep up the good work!
posted by Vernon Abernethy Scotland 28/03/2009 22:03:38
A truly amazing place for a cheap family day out, the ice cream is brill also.
posted by PETER WELSH KILMARNOCK 10/08/2009 21:06:59
Really Good Informative Site. Thank You
posted by Ken hislop 11/10/2009 20:28:29
enjoyed our visit here in august 2009 one word of advice arrive early if you want a quiet stroll around. 24/11/09
posted by nikki 26/11/2009 19:09:38
As a family this has always been one of our favourite haunts. We have taken countless children all of whom have thoroughly enjoyed letting their imagintion run riot around the rocks. All have a favourite rock that they like to visit and special games to play. Old Jeans and trainers are the order of the day and of course a picnic with the promise of an ice cream once they reach the centre!
posted by Linda 06/06/2011 23:12:56
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