The Handy Guide To Swaledale (No2)
Printed and published by Northern Echo, Freemans Place, Darlington
[Partial content relating to Upper Swaledale only]

The Handy Guide To Swaledale (No2) - page 36

The Villages Of Swaledale
As previously mentioned there is no railway in Swaledale W. of Richmond, but cyclists and motorists will find a good road following the windings of the river

'Handy Guide To Swaledale' - Upper Swale near Reeth  ©Northern Echo, Darlington
Upper Swale near Thwaite [Photo, Gowing, Bedale

through Reeth, Gunnerside, and Muker to Keld. Delightful and varying prospects are unfolded. River and road wind through wooded slopes and open meadows till Grinton and Reeth are reached. It is a lonely dale, solitary farm houses here and there on the

The Handy Guide To Swaledale (No2) - page 37

hill sides being literally the only signs of human habitation. Beyond Reeth, the dale takes on a wilder appearance. There is more of moor, crag, and heather-clad expanse, and less of smiling meadow. The hills are higher and more savage looking. Here and there the road climbs up their sides in order to be out of reach of the swollen river which in winter surges along the valley. Tributary waters come pouring down the hill sides, through many a romantic gorge adding their power and volume to the torrent, and providing a spectacle awe-inspiring in its grandeur. In summer time the river is placid in comparison, lazily flowing through deep channels or spreading itself out in shallow pebble-strewn reaches. There is never-ending delight in exploring the gills and becks and climbing the heights, to say nothing of the charms of the dale villages.

Swaledale was formerly all forest, the home of wolves, wild boar and deer. The "Victoria County History of Yorkshire" records that "the forests of the Earls of Richmond, besides that of Wensleydale, comprehended that part of Stainmore included within the parish of Bowes, all Applegarth and Arkengarthdale. Of this great stretch of forest Swaledale, carefully protected by the Wharton family, became the last refuge of the persecuted red deer, which remained in considerable numbers as late as 1723. The sheltered patches of wood and underwood that afforded the deer their necessary covert and browse gradually disappeared through the rapacity of the devouring smelting mills, and hence the large game finally perished."

The scenes are desert now and bare
Where flourished once this forest fair,
Where doe and roe and red deer good
Oft bounded on thro' gay green wood.
Upper Swaledale was at one time a great lead mining locality. The hills that surround this upper part all have a cap of millstone grit or a foundation of Yoredale limestone.

Text ©Northern Echo, Freemans Place, Darlington
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