God's own county - a trip back in time

“Theer’s summat abaht Yorksheer” – whether you’re talking about its towns, Dales or Moors, there’s definitely something special, something timeless, something down to earth that attracts visitors to this glorious part of England.

Whether it’s thoughts of Christopher Timothy as vet James Herriot driving the winding lanes of the Dales in the BBC’s All Creatures Great and Small; old Ford Anglia Police cars traversing the Moors around Goathland in Heartbeat on “the other side”; or even Adrian Edmondson’s present day lapses into the persona of The Young Ones’ Vivian as he meets the people of The Dales, we seem to love Yorkshire.

Its county town, York, rivals any in the country with its Minster, Viking museum and nearby stately home of Castle Howard, while other bigger towns and cities like Leeds, Ripon, Harrogate and Richmond, and seaside towns like Scarborough and Whitby, all evoke a clear mental picture even for those people who haven’t yet visited.

It’s a county where it’s almost compulsory to call a spade a spade, where there’s muck ‘n’ brass aplenty and an opportunity to sup a good, honest pint thanks to brewers like Black Sheep and Theakston in Masham, and Smith’s (John and Sam) in Tadcaster.

Bondholders are truly spoiled in this enormous county as we have two excellent homes in Lodge Yard and The Kings Arms in Wensleydale, at the heart of the Dales area. On the opposite, eastern side of the A1 road, Bell End Farm is perched in a wonderful spot with a view down through Rosedale, a deep cleft in the middle of the Moors National Park.

In both Dales and Moors, there is a definite change of pace in life, a feeling that whatever you want to do should be accomplished in a gentle, methodical manner rather than rushed through in order to get on to whatever comes next.

Whether walking in the hills or on the Moors, sitting in a local hostelry or cafe enjoying a snack or full meal or simply enjoying the facilities of the Bond sites, ‘Yorkshire time’ is a throwback to a kinder, gentler age.

In many places mobile telephones and laptop WiFis simply don’t work – and is that such a bad thing? We all used to get on quite happily on our holidays without having to be in communication with the whole of the outside world.

The sight of a perfectly preserved AA telephone box at the side of the main road between Leyburn and Hawes gladdens the heart and takes you back to a time when the bearers of the black, yellow and chrome badge on the front of their car used to receive a respectful salute from the smart, uniformed motorcyclists on patrol.

If you want to see a piece of true English eccentricity at work, pop into the partially hidden White Rose candle shop at Wensley, just a mile or so out of Leyburn, where you can see all sorts of candles being made.

In Hawes itself, just a few miles from Askrigg, the Wensleydale Creamery might produce its cheese by more modern methods these days but it’s still a real taste of the original right on its home patch. Nearby, Hawes ropemakers continue their craft very much in a traditional style at the heart of what is a lovely little town full of independent local retailers such as grocer Elijah Allen & Son.

Meanwhile, on the edge of the Moors, there are more tasty treats to be had in the delicatessen that is Hunters of Helmsley. It’s only a 20-minute drive from Rosedale if the weather is good enough and you are brave enough to drive straight up the winding hill that is Chimney Bank. There is a longer but less spectacular route!

Helmsley is a picturebook town of lovely stone buildings, again with a wide range of independent retailers and plenty of little shopping nooks and crannies to explore around the periphery of its open Market Place at the centre.

Alternatively, you can drive up to Whitby not only to enjoy the sea air but also experience the place where, in Bram Stoker’s book, Dracula came ashore after draining the blood of the crew of a ship which ran aground there.

So, if you are staying at a Bond site or Tenancy, you don’t have to travel long distances to become steeped in the timeless qualities of this most English of counties.

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