The Coldstones Cut, Pateley Bridge

The Coldstones Cut is said to be Yorkshire’s biggest and highest piece of public art work.  It was created by Andrew Sabin and overlooks the Coldstones quarry on Greenhow Hill just outside Pateley Bridge in North Yorkshire.

Greenhow Hill, Pateley Bridge
The spectacular Nidderdale landscape

Perched at a height of just over 500 metres above sea level it can be freely explored by visitors and has been open since September 2010.  The sculpture is formed of platforms at various levels for viewing both the spectacular quarry and the surrounding landscape.

Picnic area, The Coldstones Cut
Picnic area

It’s located two miles west of Pateley Bridge in North Yorkshire on the B6265 with the Toft Gate Lime Kiln car park being clearly signposted from the road (parking free).

Footpath to the Coldstones Cut Pateley Bridge
Footpath to the Coldstones Cut

The skies had become leaden as we approached but it remained fine. It was only my husband who had come prepared with a coat whilst my son and I were dressed for sunny weather, so we hoped for the best.

Footpath to the Coldstones Cut, Pateley Bridge
Steep footpath to the summit

On the edge of the car park there are a couple of picnic benches and an information board including a map about the installation.  A signpost pointed the way to the sculpture that was up a steep track, taking us approximately ten minutes to reach the summit.  The steep gravel track is manageable with care for wheelchairs and prams and accessing the various levels of the the sculpture itself is step free.

The Coldstones Cut Sculpture
Entering the sculpture

The location is exposed to the elements and the weather can be harsh and unpredictable just as it was on our visit when it began raining heavily and became so gusty that it became increasingly difficult to keep my camera still and to protect the lens from spots of rain.

The Coldstones Cut Sculpture
High stone walls form part of the sculpture

As we approached the monumental stonework the pathway led us into a contemporary streetscape flanked by large stone walls which, as well as being interesting, offered us some protection from the howling gale.  A dome embedded into the ground indicated to visitors that there were three options to explore.

Central dome, The Coldstones Cut Sculpture
The central dome

We chose to go straight ahead and came to a large viewing terrace overlooking the Coldstones quarry.  Situated on Greenhow Hill, it is one of the highest quarries in England but despite its huge size it used to be hidden from view.  Our visit was at the weekend but I recommend visiting on a weekday when it’s possible to view the limestone quarrying operation with trucks moving around and occasional blasting.

Coldstones Quarry, Greenhow Hill
Coldstones Quarry

We then retraced our steps to the domed area and walked up the spiral path to one of the viewing towers.  It was fascinating as the high stone walls on either side of the path appeared to slowly decrease in size as we spiralled round and round gradually exposing more of the landscape.

Spiral walkway, The Coldstones Cut
The spiral walkway

There were spectacular views over Nidderdale and the moody skies appeared to make the moors look more atmospheric than ever.  Along the tops of the walls steel distance markers have been installed which I found to be extremely interesting as they included places near and far from Skipton which is just down the road to the likes of Cape Town and Alice Springs.

Distance markers, The Coldstones Cut
Distance markers on the viewing terrace

On our way back down we paused to admire an oversized yellow bicycle, a fitting tribute to the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014 which passed through the challenging terrain of Nidderdale.

Grand Départ Bicycle, The Coldstones Cut
Grand Départ bicycle

Nearing the car park we followed a short side trail along to the Toft Gate Lime Kiln.  By means of a series of information boards we learnt that the kiln had been constructed in the 1860’s and it was interesting to explore a piece of Nidderdale’s industrial heritage.

Toft Gate Lime Kiln, Greenhow Hill
Toft Gate Lime Kiln

Returning to the car my son and I were looking bedraggled but it didn’t matter as we’d really enjoyed our visit.  We hadn’t been sure what to expect but we’d very much enjoyed viewing the unusual sculpture in such a dramatic setting.  Irritatingly just as we were setting off the rain ceased and some fluffy white clouds started to appear.

Bandstand, Pateley Bridge
Pateley Bridge bandstand and riverside gardens

As we were only two miles from the charming small market town of Pateley Bridge we decided to take a look around there too.  We easily found a parking space near the old stone bridge and then took a short stroll through the riverside gardens with a bowling green, children’s playground and a handsome bandstand.  On a normal summer weekend we might have expected to hear a band playing but alas not in these strange times.

High Street, Pateley Bridge
Pateley Bridge High Street

After crossing over the River Nidd we explored the small shops along the town’s steep high street.  Several shops were open including an award winning butchers and the Guinness Book of Records accredited world’s oldest sweet shop where I couldn’t resist popping in.

The World's Oldest Sweet Shop, Pateley Bridge
The World’s Oldest Sweet Shop

The interior still retains its traditional charm with shelves containing glass jars filled with old fashioned sweets such as humbugs, wild mice and torpedoes.  The jar of torpedoes brought back memories of my childhood as my piano teacher had a jar of them in her hallway and always offered me one as I was leaving.  I never actually cared for those sweets which had a crunchy multi coloured shell and a liquorice centre but was either too polite or too scared to refuse, probably a mixture of the two.

The World's Oldest Sweet Shop, Pateley Bridge
Inside the World’s oldest sweet shop

Leading off the High Street are several little courtyards where we found inviting little cafes and gift shops tucked away so it’s worth exploring if you decide to visit, Pateley. Bridge was a proud winner of the Great British High Street of the year awards winning the village category in 2016.

Grand Départ art work, Pateley Bridge
Grand Départ artwork along the high street

Another lasting reminder of the Grand Départ passing through Nidderdale is this artwork on the gable end of a building along the high street.  Combined with the Coldstones Cut, Pateley Bridge makes a pleasant day out and yet another delightful beauty spot that we’ll enjoy revisiting sometime.

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63 thoughts on “The Coldstones Cut, Pateley Bridge

      1. You are entirely welcome. Your writing is genuinely phenomenal. My husband and I are retired at long last, so we are traveling, but only here in the United States, in areas where we can maintain safe social distances. We have a self-contained travel trailer, so that makes it much easier. My parents and grandparents both took extended trips to the British Isles in happier days. I hope to have that opportunity, if we can ever contain this pandemic and be welcome overseas again.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Coldstones Cut looks fascinating and really worth a visit. We tried to get there last year but horrendous weather and Yorkshire fog made it impossible, need to get back. Great photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sue, I’d visited Pateley Bridge before but had never even heard of The Coldstones Cut until I started researching things to do. I must be slipping as it’s been there ten years but obviously hasn’t been publicised very well! A great place to visit. Incidentally I saw Canberra on Michael Portillo’s Great Australian Rail Journeys last night and it looked lovely. I’m really enjoying that series, making me want to return to Australia more and more. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Nothing would destroy by travel bug Gwen and it’s great to be getting out and about again. Surprisingly this art installation is within an hour’s drive if our home and we’d never heard of it before and it’s been there ten years! I must be slipping!, Thanks for commenting Gwen.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a nice post, Marion. We were in Pateley Bridge last September during our trip to Yorkshire! We had a nice pub lunch at the Royal Oak, and the town was completely decked out for the UCI International biking competition, with banners, signs, and even specially decorated huge meat pies in the Weatherhead Butcher Shop that were decorated with a representation of the “Greenhow Hill Climb” on the top of the pies!! (I could send you a photo– the pies were like nothing I had ever seen!) Unfortunately for us, we could not drive up towards the Coldstones Cut because the roads were blocked off due to the bikers. I also picked up some lovely antique prints there of Fountains Abbey, where we were staying in a National Trust property. Hoping to return when there isn’t a huge biking competition going on! I’m really enjoying your posts about the greater Yorkshire area.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a coincidence Sandra, I’m so pleased you were able to visit Pateley Bridge and my mouth is watering at the thought of those huge pork pies. I’d love to see a photo of one of them sometime. Fountains Abbey and the Studley Royal estate is absolutely wonderful. I wonder if you also managed to fit in a visit to Brimham Rocks (also NT) but I expect that road was blocked off as well! A good excuse to return! Thanks, as always for your welcome thoughts. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes we actually did get to Brimham Rocks and explored the boulders and geologic formations. There were many students there in groups, wearing hard hats, presumably on school outings. Was a chilly and rainy day, though!
        We also managed to go to three different Bettys while in the area- one in Harrogate and two in York. Absolutely loved them all.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. What a lovely place. I noticed the handrails along the stone walls wondering what it was like to work putting those up. I loved all the photos especially the sweet shop which was so delightfully quaint. The little old fashioned carousel in the shop’s window was so cute. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. ThingsHelenLoves

    What an amazing feature, I wonder why it isn’t better known? And to see the quarry at work would be fascinating I think. Shame about the weather , we lived in Catterick Garrison in N. Yorkshire for a few years and used to say if you don’t like the weather, just give it a minute!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s hard to believe that we only live about an hour’s drive from the quarry yet I only learnt of its ten year existence a couple of weeks ago Helen. So pleased we visited and sometime we’ll return to view the quarry in action! Thanks for commenting, it’s much appreciated.

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  5. HI..I hope you just fine in there. Its interesting to read some of your travel story. I had an internet sites about travel too. http://www.lingkarbumi.com. Its in Indonesian language. I just thinking to translate of your stories in my sites, if you don’t mind about that. Of course I will enclose your name and your travel blog too in my Indonesian article.

    Liked by 3 people

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