Brimham Rocks must be one of the most remarkable places in the UK. I don’t say that lightly. For the most part, the places I go walking are very pretty, but pretty is about it. Some places get more impressive if you research them, but stuff that makes you go “Wow” on first sight is rare – definitely not unheard of, but it is a treat to stumble upon these places.
Brimham Rocks is very much a wow place. It is a patch on Brimham Moor which is covered in big rock formations. The rocks are formed from millstone grit, and you can see rocks like them in various parts of the British Isles, but not loads of them packed into one patch like here. Basically, if you saw one of these rocks just stood on its own somewhere, you’d be impressed, but instead you’re bombarded with them. It’s pretty awesome.
It’s also a lot lusher than you’d expect such a rocky area to be. It’s as green as anywhere else around here, and there’s lots of trees. The place would be amazing whatever, but all the green adds a level of prettiness that just makes it that bit more special.
You don’t have to pay to get into Brimham Rocks, but you do have to pay to park in the car park. There’s limited space outside the car park. On a busy day, there’s limited space in the car park too; we were there on a bank holiday, and we got there early, but when we were leaving there was a queue of cars waiting to park. So if you go, that’s worth bearing in mind. It’s a very popular place. It’s open from eight onwards.
The rocks start immediately as you leave the car park. There’s one main path you can go along and some smaller ones, or you can just roam about where you feel. It’s not really a place to go for a set walk, it’s a place to go clambering about until you’re tired. Some of the rocks are pretty easy to get onto, some quite challenging, and some are only for proper rock climbers.
Some of them have names. Probably the most ‘famous’ ones, the ones that are on all the postcards and stuff, are the Dancing Bear, Idol Rock and the Druids Writing Desk. Some of my research is telling me that these last two are because people once believed the Druids were responsible for the rocks; there’s also the Druids Coffin and the Druids Cave. The Dancing Bear is named because that’s what it looks a little bit like from a certain angle; other rocks names by this logic include the Camel and the Sphynx. And apparently one of the various little holes and tunnels that you come across is called the Smartie Tube.
And there are other names. I could probably spend a long time looking them all up and listing them here. But you get the general idea. People see a load of giant rocks, they’re naturally going to start coming up with names.
In the middle – or thereabouts – are facilities. There’s a visitor centre, with a gift shop downstairs and a little exhibition about the place upstairs, and there’s a food kiosk with toilets round the side. The visitor centre and the food kiosk don’t open until eleven. I ended up waiting around for a bit because I was tired and wanting a break from clambering about, and it wasn’t eleven yet. Bringing a picnic is also an option
Behind the visitor centre is a trig point, stood on a rock. It always looks a bit random to me, but you have been climbing upwards a bit, and it is the highest point, so I guess it makes sense. It is a pretty great view from here.
I don’t know how far the rocks go on, I don’t think I’ve ever been to the point where they stop. By the time I reach this bit I’ve always tired myself out. My favourite rock is a bit beyond this point, I generally just go to that one then turn back.
My favourite doesn’t look like much – it’s massive, but it’s not got the interesting shape to it the others have. It’s not far past the Dancing Bear, but there’s nothing to really pinpoint it from this angle. This was the first time I’d been to Brimham Rocks for some years, and I had to walk round it a bit before I could recognise it. It just looks like a bunch of rocks that have crashed into eachother. But I like it because there’s a passage and a tunnel going through it. They meet eachother. You go into the passage, and it reaches a ledge, and you climb up there and it’s a tunnel going out the other side. When I was younger I’d just go through passage and tunnel and back round the outside over and over again, and I felt a need to do it a few times even now. It was very nostalgic for me.
The whole place is nostalgic for me, but it’s great in its own right. I don’t like it because I have fond memories, I like it as well as having fond memories. It’s a brilliant place to visit regardless of how familiar or unfamiliar you are with it. I highly recommend it.
Thanks for visiting my blog. Photos of Brimham Rocks are here.