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General Sir Martin Farndale KCB



A land fit only for wild beasts, and men who live like wild beasts


‘Northwards from the Wolds, the windswept moors of Hambleton and Cleveland remain as they have been throughout pre-historic times, a refuge of broken peoples, a home of lost cultural causes. Bede described the area as ‘vel bestiae commorari vel hommines bestialiter vivere conserverant.’ (‘A land fit only for wild beasts, and men who live like wild beasts.’). Although there are many pre-historic remains on the North Yorkshire moors, it is to this day an area cut off. The Romans built roads around it and the Vikings skirted it also. When the Romans left and the Saxons and Vikings arrived, they did move into the dales and left their burial mounds and crosses across the moors. Thus the people who today come from the ‘dales on the moors’ of North Yorkshire have remained essentially English for several hundred years and developed very special characteristics. In many respects they remain to this day a unique English Tribe.

(Early man in NE Yorkshire, 1930 p 219-20 by F Elgee)

Farndale is not mentioned in Doomsday. But Kirby Moorside is and must have included Farndale. Before the Conquest it was in the hands of Waltef who had a manor and 5 carucates at Fadmoor. In 1086, Count Robert of Mortain held it and it was waste. Later it fell into the hands of Hugh son of Baldric before passing first to Roger de Mowbray and later to William and then Nicholas de Stuteville in 1200. Farndale then became part of the manor of Kirby Moorside.

(Victoria County History of Yorkshire





Farndale is a valley located in the North York Moors National Park in North Yorkshire, England. The nearest town is Kirkbymoorside located some 5 miles to the south. Pickering is some 13 miles to the south-east and Helmsley 12 miles to the south-west. Farndale is surrounded by some of the wildest moorland in England, and is sandwiched between Bransdale and Rosedale. To the north-east sits Blakey Ridge at over 400 m above sea level, and to the north-west, Cockayne Ridge reaching up to 454 m above sea level is one of the highest points of the North York Moors. Around the north of Farndale, between Bloworth Crossing and Blakey is the track bed of the old Rosedale Ironstone Railway (Rosedale Branch) which forms part of two Long Distance Footpaths these being Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk and The Lyke Wake Walk.

Farndale is a scattered agricultural community with traditional Yorkshire dry stone walls. The valley is popular with walkers due to its famous wild daffodils, which can be seen around Easter time all along the banks of the River Dove. To protect the daffodils the majority of Farndale north of Lowna was created a Local Nature Reserve in 1955.

Farndale is home to two hamlets - Church Houses at the top of the valley and Low Mill further down. Low Mill is a honeypot during daffodil season as this is where the famous daffodil walk begins, and the national park runs a Moorsbus service through the valley during busy periods to ease the traffic on the two narrow roads that run either side of the valley.

The annual Farndale Agricultural Show which is held on the Summer Bank Holiday Monday in Late August is a popular local event. The 100th Show was held in 2006[1]

South of Lowna on the Gillamoor to Hutton-le-Hole road, Farndale becomes Douthwaite Dale.

Around the head of Farndale ran the Rosedale Branch railway en route from Battersby to Rosedale supporting iron ore mining on the moors.



First mention of Farndale


The first mention of FARNDALE (Farendale, Farendal, Farnedale, xiii cent.) is found at the beginning of the 13th century (Cal. Rot. Chart. 1199–1216 (Rec. Com.), 86). It formed part of the fee of the lords of Kirkby Moorside (q.v.), of which manor it was parcel. ( For an extent in 1281–2 see Yorks. Inq. (Yorks. Arch. Soc.), i, 249). The capital messuage called the Hallhouse and the tenement called the Headhouse were granted by the Crown in 1600–1 to Francis Burton (Pat. 43 Eliz. pt. iv). Robert de Stutevill gave the nuns of Keldholme the right of getting wood for burning and building in Farndale, (Cal. Rot. Chart. 1199–1216 (Rec. Com.), 86) and in or about 1209 the Abbot of St. Mary's obtained from King John rights in the forest of Farndale which the king had recovered from Nicholas de Stutevill. (Pipe R. 11 John, m. 11) The abbot and Nicholas came to an agreement concerning common of wood and pasture here, this being renewed in 1233. (Feet of F. Yorks. 17 Hen. III, no. 14)








Richard Farndale, Jamie Farndale and Sarah Farndale in 2016





There’s no inflation in Farndale! The fine was five pounds in the 1970s!




The ferns from which Farndale gets its name.



















William Wordsworth, married only a few miles from Farndale, would have loved the annual display of the area’s wild daffodils. Today, crowds flock to see the flowers, which cover the wooded banks of the River Dove in colourful swathes. This 3½-mile walk takes you from the prettiest part of the dale to areas that reveal expansive vistas.



The tiny hamlet of Low Mill is a cluster of stone houses. Its 100-seat, corrugated-iron-clad hall, built for Farndale Silver Band in the 1920s, is now England’s smallest big-name venue and attracts some of the top folk, country, roots and Americana musicians. Take the signed footpath from the car park in Low Mill to join the riverside walk beside the River Dove.



Farndale’s daffodils are often known by their old name – Lenten lilies. Tradition says that they were planted by monks from nearby Rievaulx Abbey. Farndale has been a nature reserve since 1953 and strict by-laws prohibit picking the flowers or uprooting the bulbs.



The firm riverside path passes through many gates to reach High Mill. Two supernatural presences once inhabited this area: one was a tenacious hob – a mischievous spirit – that fell out with a local farmer. When the farmer tried to move house, the hob mounted the removal cart, so the farmer stayed put. The other ghost is Sarkless Kitty, a local girl who drowned herself, in her chemise (sark). Over the years, Kitty’s ghost was seen sitting naked in Farndale’s trees, waving her sark to signal the deaths of young men. Follow the lane to Church Houses.



Farmers petitioned the local landlord for a pub in 1875; named after him, the Feversham Arms still welcomes walkers. Pass the pub and veer right to the church; there are more daffodils in the churchyard. Follow the lane uphill. Just past Mackeridge House turn right on a clearly signposted footpath to Bragg Farm and Bitchagreen Farm.



Enjoy great views over Farndale from this section. Jet, coal and iron ore were once mined in the valley, but the greatest threat to its beauty came in the 20th century. In the 1930s and the 1960s, there were plans to dam and flood the valley as a reservoir for Hull. Both were defeated by conservationists. From Bitchagreen Farm, continue south on clearly marked paths back to High Wold House and finally Low Mill.





I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils







 The Farndale Hunt