Yorkshire Photo Explorer

Valley of Desolation

Posforth Gill, Valley of Desolation

The brilliantly named Valley of Desolation is actually a vibrant, green and attractive valley, teeming with wildlife. Located on the Bolton Abbey estate in the southern Yorkshire Dales, the valley gets its name from a huge storm in the year 1826¹. There are two waterfalls along the route, as well as the most pheasants I have ever seen in one place!

Pheasant, Valley of Desolation

I downloaded a map of the trail from the Bolton Abbey website. The trail starts at the Cavendish Pavilion, then follows the path along the river and up the hill. You soon reach a pond with lots of dragonflies (in the summer) and a huge number of pheasants. I hadn’t brought equipment for wildlife, but this would be a great spot to photograph them. However I manged to get a couple of photographs on my way back of a couple of obliging pheasants. I also came across some hares, but they were too quick for me to capture.

The first falls, Posforth Gill (main photo above), is a very photogenic waterfall. To reach the falls, follow the trail down into the valley just past the pond, then cross the footbridge. The rocks allow you to take a few different angles of the falls and you can climb around them to get a side view as well.

Walking along the river, I took the chance to take some close ups of the water flowing around the rocks. Some filters came in handy here, as it was a very bright and sunny afternoon, allowing me to slow down the shutter speed. Following the path next to the river, you come to the second falls. You can’t see them until you climb up over the rocks, but I was pleased that I made the diversion off the main path.

Waterfall in the Valley of Desolation

On my way back, it started to rain quite heavily. However the sunset was spectacular as a result. I ended up pulling over to the side of the road near the main Bolton Abbey car park to photograph the sunset over the fields. If only I’d made it down to the abbey to get this sky behind the ruins! Maybe next time….

Sunset, Bolton Abbey

Here are some of the photos I took on my visit (click on an image to enlarge):

Approximate post code (for sat nav) BD23 6AN
Parking There is parking at the Cavendish Pavilion at Bolton Abbey. Parking charges apply. Also check the opening times of the grounds, as the car parks close at different times during the year.
Website http://boltonabbey.com/what-to-see/valley-of-desolation-simons-seat/

This is the location of the Valley of Desolation:

Notes for next time
  • Carry on the walk to Simon’s Seat
  • Bring equipment for wildlife photography – dusk would be a good time for this

¹ Bolton Abbey, Valley of Desolation & Simon’s Seat [accessed 23 October 2016] http://boltonabbey.com/what-to-see/valley-of-desolation-simons-seat/

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