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Cranleigh DFAS on Tour -
The Art, Historic Houses
& Heritage of Yorkshire

Sunday 8th to Thursday 12th May 2016

Very early on Sunday morning 24 of us met in the Village Hall car park and set off for our trip to Yorkshire, in our 5-star coach.  After a comfort break and the opportunity to buy lunch at a service station we arrived earlier than anticipated at Bolsover Castle, in Derbyshire.  We had asked to see their famous indoor riding school but were told that was not possible as there were events planned across the day.  However, when we arrived there were spaces in the first event and we were able to enjoy both the riding display and see inside this splendid Stuart building.

We had time to visit the castle with its newly renovated walkway, built by the Cavendish family.  William Cavendish decorated the rooms in the castle with its exotic wall paintings, here they even entertained King Charles I and his Queen.  Just off the M1 this is a fascinating place to visit.

Our second stop was in the village of Bretton, at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where you can see sculptures displayed on a grassy hillside.  Our guide took us around seeing works by Hepworth and Moore in the stunning surroundings.  Several of us were fascinated by Lucy Ryder and her sculptures featuring hares which one could touch and feel the texture.  This is a place to spend a day.

We then went on to the spa town of Harrogate, where people used to take the waters which came from the many springs abounding in the town.  We stayed in the Majestic Hotel throughout the trip.  It was built in the Edwardian era to house the many people taking the waters.

On our second day we were met by our Blue Badge Guide, Mike, who accompanied us for the next 3 days, providing us with detailed local knowledge and keeping us to time!  We went by coach to the market town of Pickering and joined the North Yorkshire Moors Railway which has been preserved since 1967, after its closure under the Beeching Act in the fifties.  It is used for many films, in particular it is the railway in the Harry Potter series.  Unfortunately the steam engine had broken down, so it was diesel, but the interiors of the carriages were very smart.  The train passes through the picturesque North York Moors.
We alighted at Grosmont and the coach met us to take us into the resort of Whitby famed for its harbour, the 13th century abbey on the cliff top, its jet jewellery, cobbled streets and fish & chips!
After this stop we climbed up again on to the moors and visited the Eden Camp, a former prisoner of war camp, now a place depicting the history of World War II.  It has many military examples housed in the grounds and former huts, but it also focuses on the human side of wartime.

Day 3 took us again around the Vale of York.  Our journeys on the coach were memorable, seeing the countryside mostly in beautiful late-spring weather.  We were always comfortable and our driver was exceptional in negotiating all roads and traffic, however difficult.  We then visited Castle Howard still owned and lived in by the Howard family who have been and presumably still are related to, or connected with, most of the aristocracy.  The guides were helpful in the main house.  It is richly decorated and furnished with some very important paintings, for example one by Holbein of the father of Catherine Howard: fifth, and laterly beheaded, wife of Henry VIII.  This house was built in the 18th Century.

We had an unexpected treat when we made a lunchtime stop in Ripon and were able to visit the Cathedral and see its 15th Century carved misericords.

We had a rather wet walk afterwards around the sights of Harrogate but our spirits were not dampened and some people continued on to Betty’s Café Tea Rooms.  They first opened in Harrogate but are now in several Yorkshire towns.

Day 4, and for some, an important pilgrimage to visit Haworth Parsonage, home of the Brontë family.  The extension on the back of the parsonage brings the whole story to life and also brings out that the family were not only talented writers but artists of landscape, portrait, fauna and flora.

We took the Worth Valley railway from Haworth to Keighley and were given some helpful background information by one of the guards.  This is the train journey featured in the film ‘The Railway Children’.

We then journeyed to Saltaire, the village created by the mill owner Sir Titus Salt to provide good housing and a wide range of facilities for his workers.  The actual mill, Salt’s Mill, is now a gallery and place for buying art products.  It houses a wide range of paintings by David Hockney, who was born and educated in nearby Bradford.  At the time of our visit many were out on loan to other exhibitions but there was a room of his East Yorkshire tree paintings and examples of work using his iPad.

Day 5 was our homeward journey but we stopped after an hour to visit the splendid Hepworth Gallery on the river Calder in Wakefield.  We were able to view Barbara Hepworth’s stunning sculptures and displays of the tools she used for her work.  Outside the building which most of us found architecturally appealing we had this group photograph taken.
John Wright, one of the group, was our photographer throughout and we thank him for this.  He moved about quietly recording our experiences and there are some great reminders here of this special trip.  Our driver, Neil Howard, was to be thanked, particularly as after a decent drive back to Cranleigh, we hit the M25 and it was not at its best!  He started the journey saying his task was to keep us safe and comfortable and he did this very well.  Our agents Tailored Travel were very helpful from assembling our ideas to making them work.

[Finally, we who had the great good fortune to be participants in this tour would like to add our sincere thanks to our organiser and inspirer, Liz Trickett, for all she did to ensure our enjoyment and educate us in the diverse cultural delights of her native county.]

For CDFAS we think these trips help one to feel a real part of our society, share thoughts and ideas with people and ‘get to know’ each other.

Text by Liz Trickett

Photos by John Wright