Knaresborough Castle is not on the route for the Way of The Roses. However, the ride from Grassington to Ripon was not challenging enough for me so I undertook to ride to Knaresborough and back, partly to bulk up the mileage and partly to revisit the town where I spent many of my formative years. Also in honesty I did want a photograph of my beautiful cycle with the viaduct in the background, which I got.
Knaresborough castle was first built around 1100 by a Norman Baron and later worked on by King Henry I, or more likely one of his subordinates. As an interesting historical tidbit, Hugh de Moreville and his followers took refuge there after assassinating Thomas Becket in the 1170s. The castle was taken by Parliamentarian forces during the English Civil War in 1644 and largely destroyed in 1648, on Parliament orders to destroy all Royalist castles. We can see Knaresborough castle stone in buildings throughout the town itself. See if you can spot some on your next visit.
The view from Knaresborough castle was one of my favourite views in the town. Indeed it was likely one of my favourite places in the whole world. I think it remains so, along with Montrésor, France, Clent Hills in Birmingham and Belvedere del Gianicolo in Rome, to name a few. The view of the viaduct, conceived by Thomas Grainer in 1851 and now owned by Northern Rail, is quite sensational. Taking a train either towards York or Leeds, going through Knaresborough, one can actually cross the viaduct. The view is difficult to capture on account of Northern Rail’s characteristically grubby windows, but can be seen very well with the naked eye.
While on your way out, I cannot recommend enough sampling one of Mrs Hirst’s apple squares from Hirsts Bakery, next to the bus station. This was one of my favourite treats in my years in K Town Massif, as the youth used to call it. Further, when I told Mrs Hirst that I had cycled from Morecambe to sample it, I was informed that had to be a new record!