Yorkshire Photo Explorer

Rylstone Cross

Rylstone Cross

Set on a rocky outcrop on Barden Fell, North Yorkshire, the Rylstone Cross provides a great vantage point for some landscape photography. The cross itself is photogenic and the scenery adds to the spectacle. A snowy day in December seemed like the ideal opportunity to try to photograph this location. I couldn’t find much online about the cross, although a few sites refer to a wooden cross being erected here in 1885 to commemorate the ‘Peace of Paris’¹. The plaque on the current stone cross dates from 1995.

My intention was to arrive at the cross for sunrise. After parking up, I began the walk up the fell (see directions below). The scenery was so beautiful that I couldn’t help but stop and take photos on the way up.

Path up to Rylstone Cross

I may have been the first human to head up the hill in the fresh snow, but some rabbits had clearly been up before me:

Rabbit footprints in the snow, Rylstone Cross

As the sky started turning orangey-pink, I realised I wasn’t going to make it to the cross in time. However the moorland still looked beautiful as the sun broke over the horizon.

Barden Moor on the way to Rylstone Cross

After a slightly longer walk than expected due to the mud and semi-frozen boggy ground, I made it to the cross. The sun was still low in the sky, so the cross was bathed in a lovely golden light. The view was stunning. Here’s a panorama of the view you get when you arrive (excuse my shadow, I’m including this to give you an impression of what you’re greeted by!):

Rylstone Cross panorama

I walked around the cross to get a few different angles. I did climb up to the cross itself, but it was so windy right at the top that it kept blowing my tripod over! It was also freezing in the wind and I was glad for my ski jacket.

Rylstone Cross

Turning my attention to the snow-covered landscape below, I tried a few panoramas.

Rylstone Cross panorama

I then put on a zoom lens to pick out some details. The patterns of the trees and walls in the snow showed promise for a photo.

View from Rylstone Cross

I absolutely loved this beautiful location, made even more special by the fresh snowfall. It would also work well at sunset in the summer. Here are a few more photos from my visit to Rylstone Cross:

Practicalities
Approximate post code (for sat nav) BD23 6LH
Parking Park in the layby just outside Rylstone village on the B6265, pictured below on the left. If this is full, you can park in another larger layby further up the road just past the village.
Directions The walk to Rylstone Cross takes about an hour and involves a fairly steep climb and muddy, wet, boggy ground. Wear waterproof boots.

From the layby shown above, walk about 500ft down the B6265 away from the village (caution, there is no footpath) until you reach a track on your left with a signpost that reads “BW Halton Height 5M, FP Sandy Beck Bar 1¾M”:

Rylstone Cross route

Go through the gate and follow the track. After about ½ a mile, you will come across a gate on your left with a notice board, a sign for a Bolton Abbey bridleway and a footpath sign for “BW Barden Moor”. Go through the gate:

Rylstone Cross route

Follow the track up the hill and around the small wood on your right. Towards the top of the track you will come across another gate. Go through this gate and keep following the track uphill:

Rylstone Cross route

Eventually you will get to another gate in a stone wall. Go through this gate. On my visit this gate was surrounded by deep mud/water and I had to shuffle along the stone wall and then climb over the gate to a patch of drier ground on the other side. There was no way I was going to be able to open and walk through the gate without being knee deep in water.

Rylstone Cross route

Once you’re through the gate, turn left (signposted “Barden Moor access area”) and follow the rough trail near the wall:

Rylstone Cross route

Keep going with the wall on your left. When I did this walk, the ground was frozen, which helped a bit with the mud. Even so, the ground was very wet and boggy from this point on. Eventually you will reach a higher point where you can see the cross in the distance. Climb down here and follow the track, which you can see in the photo below. There is a wooden stile over the wall to access the cross:

Rylstone Cross route

This is the location of Rylstone Cross:

Notes for next time
  • Get there earlier to get the initial sunrise
  • Bring a long lens for photos of the grouse in the snow
  • Come in the summer for photos of the heather
References

¹ Yorkshiredales.co.uk, Rylstone, http://www.yorkshiredales.co.uk/villages/rylstone/ [accessed 1st January 2018]

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