In this week’s Favourite Things column, Joseph Priestley, press officer at Ripon Cathedral, has shared his favourite spots from around the district.
One of the first heritage projects I became involved in was based in Ilton, about three miles from Masham. A small team of us were interested in the ruins of the village’s poor house, aptly named ‘Mossy Mire’. The project never took off but I remain enchanted, especially after a stay in the beautiful yurts at the Bivouac.
The Devil’s Arrows
Working as a communications officer, I make a lot of videos. However, my filmmaking career did not get off to an illustrious start as my very first piece, a short documentary about the Devil’s Arrows, illustrates. Shot on a borrowed Sony Handycam and breaking every rule in the filmmaker’s book, I hope this archaeologically-themed film remains buried (sorry!).
My interest in archaeology stayed with me and it was perhaps fitting that, some years later, my journey to the University of Sheffield to study History and Archaeology, would lead me directly past the arrows again and again as I trailed up and down the A1.
Parcevall Hall & Gardens
Nestled in a Dales valley just outside of Pateley Bridge, Parcevall is a tranquil place to explore. The tea room is an excellent base camp for good walks. I was invited up some time ago to photograph the site and left enchanted by the idyllic gardens and the solitude that can be found there.
Parcevall is a firm favourite with my family and friends, who have subsequently pointed out the walk to nearby Troller’s Gill, a limestone gorge further upstream the Skyreholme Beck from Parcevall.
St John’s Sharow
I am privileged to be the Heritage Learning Officer for St John’s and the award-winning conservation churchyard it sits within. The churchyard is a rare survivor for Britain’s ancient meadowland and contains a vast array of plants, wildflowers and rare species which combine to make the site of national importance but also a really good place to work!
Recently, myself and several volunteers were taught how to scythe grass and I’m learning a lot about conservation. We’re also working hard to transform the church into a fantastic community venue - building works kick off this month and we have our Heritage Open Day on September 9.
Working at the cathedral has been a privilege, particularly working alongside the volunteers and staff, who have so much knowledge and experience to share. There’s so much that goes on within these ancient walls, much of which I have documented on film or in photographs. It can be a real challenge but it has forced me to keep adapting, experimenting and trying new things.
My favourite place is the cathedral’s Chapel of the Resurrection, located underground, which is now a beautiful space for reflection and solitude.