Saturday, 6 July 2013

Our Dales villages

The Yorkshire Dales are all full of pretty villages of stone cottages; there is very little new building because of planning regulations, and that that there is is usually hidden away.

Last evening we needed petrol so decided to go on for a drive through Swaledale and back through Wensleydale after we had got our petrol.   It was a beautiful evening (although the midgies were very active) and I had my camera at the ready to take some pictures of our pretty villages for you.   The cottages are built of the local stone so that they fit in with their background perfectly.  In between the villages there is a drive of maybe two or three miles of beautiful scenery, so what's not to like.

The first thing against my photography was that most of the drive was going directly into the low sun.   But even worse was the fact that there were so many cars on the sides of the road that it was impossible to see the lovely cottages anyway, so I put my camera away.

We drove along and I relaxed and just enjoyed the drive.   Two things struck me though.   First of all - the cars.   Most of these cottages are several hundred years old, built long before the days of cars, so nobody has a garage.   Many cottages are in a terrace or maybe semi-detached, which means cars are parked on the sides of the road.   Some houses really need space for two cars, so often they have a piece excavated from the front garden to take one car.
This is not meant as a criticism - everyone needs a car in this rather out of the way place - but it does mean that in the evening, when
 most people are home, every village is choked with cars.

The other thing which struck me is how many of the cottages had been altered, I presume, before the days of tight planning regulations, so that quite often there would be three or four different window designs on one house, or there would be french windows on the front, totally out of keeping with the age of the house.   These things are much more carefully controlled these days and anyone who thinks they shouldn't be really needs to look carefully at villages like these to see what an eyesore some houses have become.

Really, by the timeI arrived home I was pleased I hadn't spent the time taking photographs because it really gave me time to think.

There have been several breaks in my writing of this as I was also watching the Ladies' Singles Final from Wimbledon - over now but am still wiping the tears away!!


Cro Magnon said...

My tiny 'settlement' has 3 proper houses and a cabin. Between us there are 8 cars. WE have just one.

Pondside said...

So interesting to read this and remember the stone cottages in all the villages I visited in September. Over here no two houses are alike and people build what they want. There might be a faux chateau next to a log cabin which in turn is next to a featureless stucco box. No charm here!

angryparsnip said...

I so agree about the haphazard remodels. Sad that you couldn't find any cottages but sometimes it is nice just to put the camera away and enjoy the moment.
Love the photo you did post !

cheers, parsnip

Rachel said...

Live and let live I say.

Heather said...

That one beautiful photograph is a feast for the eyes.
I can't understand how anyone could alter an old house unsympathetically to it's original design, but maybe those improvements were made of necessity with limited cash available and long before planning regulations were invented.

John Gray said...

That hefty French gal did a good job

Cloudia said...

Enjoyable driving narration!


Bovey Belle said...

I have to say, I'm one for improving an old cottage in keeping (as we have done with our farmhouse here). It's one of my pet hates, when I view properties for sale on line and see a lovely old house or cottage (one thatched Devon cottage springs to mind in particular) and inside they look like a New York loft . . . WHY?

Having said that, and as this house can be very gloomy even in summer, I can understand why French Doors go in!

Dave King said...

I think we are back in the days before tight planning regs, aren't we? Fascinating post - as ever!