Planning a three day break in Yorkshire without your car may seem like a headache - and not a holiday at all. But I usually find that many things in life can be achieved with a good dose of common sense, a sense of adventure and a little planning.
So first of all, what are your fears if you leave your car behind?
Are you thinking....How are we going to transport everything with us? How are we going to get around when we get there? What if it's raining? What days out can we have when we get there?
Here are our thoughts on some answers:
"How are we going to transport everything with us?"
What is "everything" to you? Does "everything" really need to be "everything but the kitchen sink"? Could this be the holiday that you simplify? Simplify the packing list and decide to take fewer clothes (perhaps just a change of clothes and an extra jumper) and pack everything in a little bag that you can easily carry with you? And as for food, why not arrange for groceries to be delivered to your cottage for when you arrive? And perhaps indulge in a meal or two out during your days out.
"How are we going to get around when we get there?"
Cue - check out public transport links of your destination before you go. You may be surprised to find what bus and train services are available.
In our location Newton Grange Farm is 2 miles by road from Gargrave or 1.5 miles across the fields. There is a bus service that passes through Gargrave from Kirby Lonsdale to Skipton and a private hire taxi firm in the village too (Telephone Chris: 07877 054698). Gargrave also has a train station with services to Skipton and Leeds / Bradford and to Settle and beyond to Carlisle / Lancaster / Morecambe.
If you're an active type, bringing a good pair of walking boots and a map can take you a long way. From Gargrave Train Station you can walk down the hill towards the village and pick up the Pennine Way footpath on your left, walking 1.5 miles across the fields until you walk across Newton Grange farmland and see a sign to Newton Grange. You can then walk across the Home Meadow to the farmhouse and cottages.
For the cyclists amongst you, check out how close you can get on public transport with your bike in tow, and cycle out to us from there. Alternatively, get off the train in Skipton or Settle and a hire a bike for your stay from Dave Ferguson Cycles (Skipton) or Three Peaks Cycles (Settle). And there's always electric bikes...
"What if it's raining?"
Rain opens up whole new areas of fun and adventure - sometimes reminding us to look to our creative sides for things to do. And if in doubt, open up a good book and revel in your chance to stay indoors and read. A brilliant resource for rainy days is Dales Discoveries. Positive and upbeat, this website has no shortage of things to do. Now, I'm not saying that they're all easily accessible without a car but very many of them are found in places that can be reached by public transport. The site also cites Alfred Wainwright's saying: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing". So, investing in a good pair of waterproofs will take you a long way to enjoying yourself and having fun if it rains.
"What days out can we have when we get there?"
I have picked three.
1. A day's walking - to see Gargrave, Malham and it's amazing limestone scenery.
Walk to Gargrave on the Leeds Liverpool Canal. Take the bus to Malham from outside the Dalesman Café (10.00 Monday-Friday, 10.06 Saturday).
Explore the village and walk up to see the Cove and/or Janet's Foss and Gordale Scar.
Walk back to Bank Newton along the Pennine Way.
Alternatively, have a shorter visit (and walk) and take the afternoon bus home (13.35 Monday-Friday, 16.30 Saturday)
2. A day out in Skipton.
Walk across the fields from Newton Grange to Gargrave along the Pennine Way. Take the bus or train to Skipton.
Visit Skipton Castle, the High Street with its range of shops and cafes, Skipton Woods and the Canal - where you could take a half hour trip on a Canal Boat.
3. Explore Settle and take a trip on the Settle-Carlisle Railway.
Take the train from Gargrave station to Settle, explore around the town, and take a journey on the Settle - Carlisle Railway through stunning scenery. And perhaps look ahead and book in advance for one of the special steam train journeys that take place a few times a year.