In the first of a new series in conjunction with Visit Harrogate, Hidden Gems in our District looks at places of interest here on our doorstep. GRAHAM CHALMERS visits Coldstones Cut near Pateley Bridge which proves to be spectacular - and free!
There’s not much to shout about if you speed past Nidderdale’s newest beauty and spot it in your car on the B6265 between Skipton and Pateley Bridge .
Even if you take the trouble to crane your neck upwards there’s just a faint smudge of some mysterious wall on top of the hill.
But first impressions can be wrong.
The best way to see Coldstones Cut, of course, is from the air.
Its monumental stone block beauty and sense of balance shows up perfectly in aerial photographs like seeing some ancient Inca burial ground from the skies.
But who can afford that sort of money to hire a plane?
Instead it’s easier, and nearly as rewarding, to park the car and make the short trek uphill to this impressive man-made feature.
Located just two miles outside Pateley Bridge, it’s part massive artwork and part building project and it somehow seems to tap into our ancestors’ religious sensibilities in a non-verbal way.
It also affords some spectacular views which trump any other considerations for visitors. Strictly speaking, it’s a sculpture created by the artist Andrew Sabin which was first opened in 2010.
Overlooking the working Coldstones Quarry at Greenhow, the artist’s massive creation sits solidly at nearly 1,400 feet above sea level.
Commissioned by Nidderdale visual arts in conjunction with Hanson Aggregates, which operates the quarry, Sabin was inspired by the area’s industrial past.
But you don’t need to know any of that as you walk the ancient/modern streets of Coldstones Cut and the various winding paths leading to the viewing platform.
On a clear day, it’s possible to see such such major landmarks as York Minster and part of West and South Yorkshire. The viewing area also has the precise coordinates and distances worked out for famous spots all round the world.
Standin g high over Nidderdale amid the desolate beauty of the Dales, the horizon seems to stretch out forever whichever way you look.
A perfect place to visit.