Our loyal band of volunteers gathered at Yearsley Moor to look at the information so far gleaned from their hardwork on site, in libraries and record offices in the region. The purpose of this was to see how this information will be conveyed to the public when they visit, the aim being that the public will learn something about the richness of the history of Yearsley Moor as well as enjoying a gentle walk.
The first historic stop was the Park Pale, the ‘pale’ is a wooden fence around a large woodland park with an accompayning ditch and a bank. The fence has long since disappeared but the ditch and bank can still be seen. The park and pale were used to keep deer captive for the purposes of being hunted for sport. The saying ‘going beyond the pale’ refers to when you go beyond a set boundary- into ‘unknown lands’ as it were.
The next stop was to the small lake sites. These sites contain landscaping as well as the two lakes. There are also a series of sluices for them. The area is overgrown and the landscaping is slipping back into wilderness. The site may have evidence of Medieval influence- possibly part of the sluice system. A massive flood water event at sometime in the middle 17th Century has destroyed some of the landscaping and possibly some of the Medieval and later 17th Century sluice mechanisms, as a result it is proving a challenge to work out the exact sluice mechanism of the lakes with probably only half the evidence remaining.
Next on the list was a visit to one of the known temple sites, although nothing remains of the temple. Beneath the undergrowth is a layer of hardcore rock used as a base. The temple site has a good view of the surrounding area. There are also Yew trees growing around the temple site, acting as a screen for the temple but have now become very overgrown. The temple is near to Lady Barne’s walk, where there are some large mature Beech and Oak trees.
We walked along the woodland path to Gilling Castle which opens out into an avenue of Beech trees stretching down to Gilling Castle and would probably have formed a great impression on the people travelling down to to the castle in horse and carridge. A rise or hump in the road, half way along the avenue’ of trees obscures the castle after getting over this bit of the road, the castle is ‘revealed’ – a feature that was probably intended in order to give the maximum impact when at last the castle was seen by visitors.