Approached from the south, the pretty village of Rosedale Abbey acts as a curtain raiser to the beautiful sweep of valley where the dramatic u-shaped moorland ridge hems in a patchwork of fields.
The name Rosedale is more likely to have come from the Viking word for horse and, despite the reference to an abbey, it was just a small Cistercian nunnery, of which only a stone turret or belfry remains in the village churchyard.
Today it’s a peaceful scene filled with sounds of sheep or the lilting song of skylarks; a world away from the 1800s when Rosedale would have thronged with the noise of locomotives, wagons rumbling and iron being mined. This was when the valley was an industrial powerhouse with more than 3,000 miners living and working here, mines, kilns and a ridge-top railway transporting the ore from Rosedale to Teesside.
Now nature, including the rare Ring Ouzel bird, has reclaimed many of the ironstone mining remains. Follow one of Rosedale’s walking trails and you’ll find plenty of relics, including the impressive stone roasting kilns on the line of the former mineral railway above the village.
Nestled in the dale bottom alongside the River Seven, the village offers a welcome breather to those on foot or two wheels who are tackling the steep roads, including the infamous Chimney Bank, that meander their way up either side of Rosedale.
Chimney Bank vies as the steepest public road in England with a 33% gradient (although Strava reports a momentary 56% gradient!). Known as the chain breaker to cyclists, it was the location for the UK National Hill Climb Championship back in 1987 when a certain Chris Boardman was beaten into second place by local lad Paul Curran.
With pubs and tearooms fanning out from the village green, and a fantastic contemporary handmade glass workshop in the old forge, lingering longer isn’t a problem.