The Yorkshire Dales village home to the eccentric botanist who revolutionised British gardening

The village of Clapham is an unsurpisingly popular spot with walkers, sitting as it does at the base of Ingleborough - one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks.

The packhorse bridge crossing Clapham Beck in the centre of the popular tourist location in the Yorkshire Dales near Settle. Picture: Tony Johnson

The packhorse bridge crossing Clapham Beck, which is Grade II listed and is believed to date back to the 18th Century, gives an insight into the area’s history.

Packhorse bridges were typically built on trade routes that formed the major transport networks across Great Britain until they were gradually replaced by turnpike roads and the growing use of canals. Clapham once lay on the main route between Kendal and Skipton and The New Inn, which is still open in the village, was once a popular coaching inn during the 18th Century.

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The village has another claim to fame in that Ingleborough Hall, which is now an outdoor education centre, was once the home of the great Edwardian botanist and plant collector Reginald Farrer.

Farrer is credited with changing the face of British gardening for good.

In the early 19th Century, the hobby was only open to the very rich, who often had huge teams of employees running their hothouses. But he travelled to places like China and Japan to bring back new plants and seeds that could be grown by anyone.

In one particularly famous incident, after returning to North Yorkshire, Farrer loaded a shotgun with seeds he had collected on his travels and fired them into a local rock cliff and gorge.

Nicola Shulman, Farrer’s biographer, told the BBC in 2003: “He brought rock-gardening into the hearts of the British people.

“He was considered to be a maniac by most people. He really was going to places where no westerners had been seen before.”

Of the many fine walks in the local area, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority recommends ones up to Ingleborough Cave or “onwards up Trow Gill to the shoulders of Ingleborough itself, where strong walkers can continue past the terrifying chasm of Gaping Gill to ascend the summit of the most famous of the Three Peaks”.

Technical details: Shot on a Nikon D3s camera, 28-70mm lens with an exposure of 1/320th @ f9, 125ISO.

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