We’d been looking forward to this trip for some time, keen to try out the current craze that is Segway. Suzie bought this last December for Bri’s birthday and we thought we’d book it somewhere we could incorporate another Jolly jaunt. Any excuse. So we chose Ripley in North Yorkshire.
We stayed at the Ripley Caravan Park, a Listed Site (LS) with the Camping & Caravanning Club but not under their jurisdiction. As with many private sites, we have discovered a personal preference for using them mid-week/out of holiday seasons for a quieter experience, because come Friday mornings the sites literally take on a whole new look and ambience. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here, only just touching on the weekend. They cater well for families too, with a playground and a swimming pool on site.
We spent the first afternoon of our break relaxing on site when the sun made an occasional appearance, then walked into Ripley (10 mins) using the public footpath which is accessed by walking back to the site entrance where there is a gate on the right, walking through the field, across two roads at the roundabout, and along the footpath into the village. It’s the best route to avoid the busy main road from site.
Ripley is described as one of the most picturesque villages in Yorkshire and is located just a few miles north of Harrogate. It is apparently based on a french model village with unique architecture. There are food shops, a local farm shop, ice-cream parlour, Post Office, florist, and an Art Gallery. The main attraction and focal point of Ripley, however, is the historic Ripley Castle, home to the Ingilby family for 700 years. It’s a must to visit if in the area and offers a wide array of activities for all.
Sir Thomas Ingleby (c1290-1352) married the heiress Edeline Thwenge in 1308/9 and acquired the Ripley Castle estate with its medieval manor house as her dowry. His oldest son, also called Thomas (1310-1369), saved the King from being gored by a wild boar whilst on a hunting expedition and was knighted in return with the boar’s head symbol as his crest.
Hence the name of the sole pub in the village, The Boar’s Head, where we ate on both nights. It’s an old Coaching Inn that is part of the Ripley Castle Estate and listed as one of the great Inns of Britain. We were not disappointed. Although not the most extensive menu, the food is made using fresh produce from the Castle kitchen gardens where possible, and is deeeelicious.
There is a short history written above the bar, describing previous pubs in Ripley village – apparently there were once 3 pubs, until their closure and a period of 70 years sobriety (sad times!) until the re-opening of the Boar’s Head (Hallelujah!).
The first evening it was warm enough to eat outside in the sunshine and we got into conversation with a couple from the North East, the female of which informed us that she was a white witch. We then spoke at length about her experiences. It was quite a bizarre conversation at times but quite interesting nonetheless. She was also quite interested to learn that Suzie hails from Clitheroe in Pendle Witch country!
During our visit we called into the local All Saints Church directly opposite the Boar’s Head Inn, There’s an interesting history to the church which contains the Ingilby family vault and tombs of certain other local people of note. We each lit a candle and had a moment’s quiet reflection. It’s all too easy sometimes to walk past such wonderful buildings and we often like to take some time to do this on our travels.
As mentioned, we had booked a Segway experience (through Segway Events) and thought the Ripley Castle setting would make it extra special. Beforehand we had a little wander, saw a wedding taking place in this stunning setting and had lunch at the castle cafe before our activity. We enjoyed a Ripley Platter and Bri particularly enjoyed the beer they served here – ‘Crackshot Ale’ by Daleside Brewery.
It was a fab experience and one we’ll definitely try again because once you find your feet/wheels, it just doesn’t feel you’ve long enough to play on them! The training was given by Josh who was very friendly and informal, followed by a ride down to a field to take part in some friendly team competitions involving various tricks and skills training. After that we rode up to a track and were left to have our own little ride around. Unfortunately by that time, we only had about 5 minutes to enjoy testing our new found skills before our hour was up. A few people expressed disappointment at this. Maybe less time on the team comps and more free time would’ve been a better experience but it was still a great introduction to Segway.
Another fabulous local adventure. It’s amazing how many places there are to discover just a couple of hours from home and we’re loving exploring as many as possible until such a time as work and responsibilities allow us to venture further afield to explore more of the UK, Ireland, and Europe.
Our next adventure is to Hayfield in Derbyshire, birthplace of one of Bri’s favourite TV personalities and characters – Arthur Lowe aka Captain Mainwaring of Dad’s Army. I think Bri’s affection for this programme stems from some of his experiences during his time managing his local retained fire station for nearly 30 years! Haha.
*Cpt. Mainwaring voice* YOU STUPID BOY!
Suzie & Bri