There’s something very reassuring about bare rock. It’s honest, timeless, solid and, to many of us, simply beautiful.
In our area, of course, you can add “familiar” to the list of adjectives, as the bedrock pokes through our thin, post-glacial soil in thousands of locations.
There are scores of crags such as Almscliffe, Birk and Hetchell, all imposing from the bottom and magnificent from the top – and that’s without even mentioning the embarrassment of rocky riches offered by Nidderdale and the Washburn Valley.
There are famous sites too, such as Brimham Rocks, which was recently named by The Geological Society as one of the UK and Ireland’s 100 Great Geosites.
There are rocks with their own folklore, such as the Cow and Calf at Ilkley. Legend has it that the smaller rock, the Calf, was dislodged from the larger, the Cow, by the giant Rombald when he leapt across the valley in flight from his angry wife. She dropped the rocks that were held in her skirt, forming the smaller formation, the Skirtful of Stones.
All these landmarks, incidentally, are fine examples of millstone grit, whose coarse feel and nodules of finger-hold quartz make it many a climber’s favourite rock.
A fair portion of our area, though, sits not on millstone grit, but on magnesian limestone, which accounts for the paler, smoother look of old buildings in Wetherby, Ripon and Knaresborough.
The following three properties have all been chosen to tempt rock fans, and are all currently for sale on, or by, an outcrop near you.
The Carriage House at Plompton forms part of a rather exclusive development of six properties which were originally built by John Carr in 1757 for the Lascelles family (the Earls of Harewood) as the stables to Plompton Hall.
It has four bedrooms, a garage, additional courtyard parking, garden and fishpond. It also has two normal-sized reception rooms and one stunning one at the top of the house, under the exposed beams of the roof frame.
If the exposed gritstone walls weren’t enough for lovers of that kind of thing, the house is also just a stone’s throw from the secluded Plumpton Rocks, which were painted by JMW Turner.
There are no prizes for guessing which craggy attraction Brimham Rocks Farm is near. The traditional Dales farmhouse has been extended and restored, and comes with two cottages. The main house has three bedrooms, three reception rooms and plenty of open fireplaces, exposed beams and stone flooring.
Just across the courtyard, Broom Cottage and Dove Cote Cottage both have two bedrooms and could be used for relatives or as lets. There are also gardens, stables, a barn, land, and stunning views.
Finally, 83 Briggate and Moon Cottage must have some of the most secure foundations in the district, as they are built directly onto the sandstone of Knaresborough Gorge. With two bedrooms and one bedroom respectively, the detached cottages could make a very nice pair of homes for a small family plus a relative, or perhaps one plus a holiday let.
There is a small terrace for Moon Cottage and further steps lead up to a fantastic elevated terrace with lofty views across the River Nidd.