Thursday, September 15, 2016


Today we went in search of The Old Wife's Well and as an aside Mauley Cross both found because we had our friend with us from Pickering.  Weather sunny and hot yesterday and early this morning but when we hit the moors a damp clingy fog hung heavily on the forest of trees and the moors.  There is nothing really to add to the old well, it belonged to the village of Stape but is presumed by some to date back to Roman times (and even before) as it sits alongside the old Roman road over Wheeldale.  Similarly for the Medieval Mauley cross, which sits inside a forest trackway, an old road that went cross country to Wardlerigg, a couple of the houses in this area of the forest are ruins.  And apparently according to C there are the stone footings of old cottages long lost in this neck of the forest.
Another interesting fact he divulged was that in the 60s there was a commune hereabouts, not sure if it wasn't at Wardlerigg, anyway he lived there for three months, and to get food they would walk to and back from Pickering, a 12 mile journey on foot.
Looking at this medieval cross it has stood at its post as a wayside marker, a reminder to travellers moving on to the great abbeys of their religion and has witnessed many parts of history, not least the great coniferous forest that has grown up around it, planted around the time of the early 1920s and still cared for by the Forestry Commision.

Old Wife' Well, still a place of 'worship' for pagans

Our journey continued down to Wheeldale Beck to see if there were any mushrooms growing, nothing of any species, maybe the weather, there had been fly agaric mushrooms at the well though. The Rowan tree's berries were out everywhere, providing a splash of colour and winter food for the birds, it grows out in the open escaping the dark of the conifers.
We went on to Whitby, (LS wanted his hair cut by the hairdresser there) so C and I wandered down to Church Street. Whitby is always the same, the pungent smell of fish and chips, hundreds and hundreds of people with their  dogs, wandering idly up and down, the mist hanging heavy in the sky.  C told a funny story, he had come to Whitby for the day years ago, and got rather scared by the peculiar people wandering around not knowing that it was a 'Goth' weekend!

the underside of the well, neatly corbelled

The beck


  1. What a lovely outing. The wayside cross reminds me of those on Dartmoor. How wonderful that the Holy Well has survived for so long and I'm not surprised it is still venerated today. Lovely photos Thelma.

    1. There are quite a few crosses up on the moors, I suppose these natural moors are the safest place for them. There is more on TMA about the inscription found on the front of the stone over the well.....

  2. a friend came to Whitby on Wednesday and said it was foggy there although on the top of Sutton Bank the sun was shining.
    Hope it has been a lovely day with you today - it certainly has been a wonderful early Autumn one here.

    1. Yes a lovely day, a friend came with plums and we bartered our eggs in exchange ;). Whitby often has a mist from the sea but it was definitely fog on Wednesday, even yesterday when I went walking in the sun I could see the low cloud cover on the hills.