Up, Under and Through at Brimham Rocks
I was telling one of my friends how much James loves a visit to Brimham Rocks. “Is it a theme park?” she asked. “Oh no,” I said, “it’s much better than that!” It’s more like a natural rock playground: hundreds of gritstone tors carved by wind and weather into weird and wonderful shapes, set on a moorland plateau with fantastic views over the surrounding countryside.
The names alone are enough to inspire you: Druid’s Writing Desk, The Idol, The Dancing Bear, and The Cyclops, to name a few.
Although we’re climbers, we don’t often go there to climb. The routes may be short, but they are also fierce, and the place is notorious for getting ‘sandbagged’ (having an epic on a climb which is massively harder than you expected). We prefer to go just to wander around, to scramble onto a rocky platform and just contemplate the world over a flask of tea, or maybe watch someone else struggle up a Very Severe that’s more like an E2.
Now we’ve got James, it’s the perfect place for a small boy - who likes to run, jump and scramble up, under and through - to burn off some energy.
The dog loves it too, because from July to March she can be off the lead, and go bounding around conquering those E2s in a single leap.
You can find out about the geology of the rocks in the Visitor Centre. You can also get a leaflet and go in search of the most famous rocks, or you can simply wander wherever your fancy takes you. Even on busy days, there’s nearly always somewhere you can escape the crowds, and at other times you may be lucky enough to have the place to yourself.We like to dream up our own names for the rocks, a bit like cloud spotting. It helps if all members of the party pretend they’re four years old and let their imaginations run riot.
There’s a nice little kiosk open for much of the year which serves hot drinks, ice creams and toasted tea cakes, and this can be a useful way of encouraging tired legs to keep going. Otherwise, just take your flask, find your own rocky platform and savour this special place.
About the Author
About Me & Mine
Hi there! Helen and Ian here from the Oxfordshire-Wiltshire border! We have two boys who love everything in the Great Outdoors (especially sticks), and a border collie who also loves everything in the Great Outdoors (especially tennis balls). We also have a toddler daughter who is fiercely independent and proving to be just as intrepid as her brothers.
Favourite place in the world:
A difficult one... There are so many wonderful places to choose from... But it has to be Sandwood Bay in the far north-west of Scotland which can only be reached by a 4-mile walk. Last time we went it was a full-on winter mountaineering experience (with ice axe and crampons!) just to get there. Wild and windswept, it's totally unspoilt.
Favourite things to do outdoors:
Enjoy beaches, woods, and coastal paths; explore waterways in our open canoe; go for a big day out on a small hill; go rock climbing; collect sticks, conkers, and acorns; investigate puddles and rockpools; ride our tandem; fly a kite against a clear blue sky.