Cover Bridge & Middleham
There's something very reassuring about a walk with pubs at either end. If the walk itself is beautiful, so much the better. A pleasing link between the pubs, with some history thrown in? A perfect way to spend a few hours. As the name implies, the 17th century Cover Bridge Inn sits right next to the bridge over the river Cover, a few metres from where it joins the river Ure and just down the road from beautiful Jervaulx Abbey.
If you prefer to sit and enjoy the sound of the river and rich birdlife, there are plenty of riverside tables and chairs in the garden of the Cover Bridge Inn. At the front, a sign outside proudly proclaims 'Ham & Eggs'. That's certainly one of its claims to fame. Years ago, the pub had another: a much-loved landlord, Jim Carter.
Jim had a rather casual approach to licensing laws - he didn't always close the pub when the magistrates thought he should, resulting in numerous warnings and fines.
Eventually he was told he would lose his licence. More than 100 disgruntled pub goers wrote letters and petitions, but to no avail. Magistrates refused to renew his licence but transferred it to his wife. There was a condition attached: Jim Cater had to move out. He had to stay elsewhere for a few months before being allowed to resume his place behind the bar, and presumably to carry on entertaining locals and visitors as he always did.
Next door to the pub is a narrow gap in the wall. Squeeze through it and you'll be able to follow the path for a very enjoyable walk up towards Middleham. It's a relatively easy and varied walk, meandering through woods and meadows by the river. When the river is low you'll see stepping stones and a mini limestone pavement on your way. There's also a really good spot for wild swimming.
In Middleham look out for the castle, the many racing stables and several pubs. Two of these, the Richard III and Dante (named after a Middleham racehorse that won the Derby) are both very welcoming 'real' pubs now run by Sharon Carter-Ward, daughter of the former landlord of the Cover Bridge Inn.