AROUND the year 1648, George Fox expressed his religious dreams and faiths to the country people.
He became a personal leader, an organiser and prophet. He claimed to have had spiritual experiences through which he constructed his life.
His revolution was that he realised God was not above the sky but inside the inner man as a living spiritual presence in the soul. His other beliefs were simplicity, equality, social responsibility and peace.
With these beliefs he had many followers with whom he built a new society that he called ‘the society of friends’ who became known as the Quakers.
At his meetings there were no officials, no ritual or programme, no music and certainly no paraphernalia and the dress code was plain and unadorned.
As the years rolled by he suffered for his beliefs being imprisoned many times, the last time at Scarborough Castle.
There he was kept in squalor, the room allowed the rain to sweep in and the fire smoked continuously, so much so he could hardly breath. He complained he was being kept in purgatory, the governor said he could have another room if he paid 50 shillings, a princely sum in those days.
This room was not much better, the fire didn’t smoke as there wasn’t one and the rain poured in through the windows over his bed.
Half starved, one loaf had to last him three weeks, he found a friend in the king who was persuaded he was no danger to the Crown and he was released with a free pardon to commence further work for the society of friends until his death in 1691.
Evidence of the Quakers is still to be seen in Ryedale at the Lowna burial ground which is in a peaceful setting on the edge of a wood at Lowna. Please respect it if you pay a visit.
Leave Hutton-le-Hole car park, turning left, then at the T-junction, go right signed to Farndale and Castleton.
Quite a steep climb out of the village and over a cattle grid, then a little further along, turn left signed to Gillamoor. Uphill at first, then soon you start a steep descent with a sharp corner at the bottom. Cross the stone bridge, then cycle uphill, again passing the car park for the Quaker burial ground of Lowna on your right.
Not far past the car park, turn right signed to Farndale. A long scenic ride now with twists, turns and steep hills which eventually brings you to Low Mill. Go immediately right here signed to Hutton-le- Hole and Farndale East, soon cross a bridge, then arrive at a T-junction.
Go left here signed to Farndale East and Castleton.
Enjoy this scenic ride along the side of Farndale as the road undulates and twists and turns, then in about one-and-a-half miles, keep left at the sign for Church Houses.
A steep descent now with access to Farndale Church at the bottom of the hill on you right. A little further along you reach Church Houses where refreshment is available at the Feversham Arms. If not go right signed to Castleton.
This twisty narrow road signals the start of a long, tough ascent which becomes steeper as you approach the top. When you eventually arrive there, turn left onto a sometimes busy road which is signed to Castleton for some more refreshment at the Lion Inn not far up the road.
Continue along for almost two miles, still climbing, then turn right signed to Rosedale Abbey.
A long flat ride now past Fat Betty reclining on your left and grand views all round. Eventually you cross a cattle grid. Take care now as you start a serious descent on a narrow, twisty, slippery road.
Keep straight ahead as you descend, then pass the few houses at Bell End to continue along into Rosedale Abbey where refreshment is available.
Access to the church and abbey ruin is through a small gate near the village school. Cycle straight through the village, then turn right over the bridge signed to Hutton-le-Hole, via Chimney Bank, for your last testing climb.
If you ride to the top without dismounting, well done. If not, at least you were able to enjoy the view better.
At the top enjoy the all-round views, then continue along across the moor road. Watch out for a steep descent over a bridge, then soon you reach a T-junction. Go right here to return to Hutton-le-Hole.
Distance – 21miles/34km
Terrain – No flat roads. You are either ascending or descending with some of the most severe hills in the country to challenge you
Best map – OS Landranger 94
Start/grid ref – Hutton-le-Hole, grid ref: 705903
Parking – Village car park
Refreshments – Pub and café in Hutton le Hole, pubs and/or cafes at Rosedale, Blakey and Church Houses
Public toilets – Hutton-le-Hole car park, Rosedale village on Castleton road, Low Mill car park (slightly off route in village)