history · yorkshire

The romantic landscape and history of Plumpton Rocks

plumpton rocks, helena fairfax
Plumpton Rocks

You may have heard that the Tour de France is about to start in Yorkshire next weekend, and we Yorkshire folk are bursting with pride at having our county at the heart of this world-class sporting event. Last year the travel guide Lonely Planet named Yorkshire one of the best places to visit in the world, and so I thought this week I’d showcase one of the many beautiful areas in Yorkshire.

plumpton rocks, helena fairfax
Lover’s Leap

Plumpton Rocks is a little known and breathtaking spot in north Yorkshire. The rocks are at the centre of an eighteenth century landscape garden covering over thirty acres, and the man made lake was described by Queen Mary as “heaven on earth”. In my photos you can see the dramatic millstone grit rock formations that give Plumpton Rocks its name. The rocks go by such names as Lover’s Leap, Lion’s Den and Needle’s Eye, and the whole place is fabulously romantic, with quiet walks through bluebell woods and rhododendrons. I last visited on a Bank Holiday – a national holiday in England, and normally one of the busiest days of the year for sight-seeing – yet Plumpton Rocks was almost deserted. It was so quiet, you could almost believe yourself back in the eighteenth century, when the park was created.

Many artists have painted the landscape at Plumpton Rocks, including Turner, whose paintings you can see here on the Tate website on a second painting here.

plumpton rocks, helena fairfax


Plumpton Rocks are part of the Manor of Plumpton. The present Lord of the Manor is Robert de Plumpton Hunter (fab name!), who can trace his ancestry right back to Eldred, who held the Manor of Plumpton when the Doomsday Survey was taken in 1086. The Plumpton family have a long history, and have been represented in almost every battle “where streamed St George’s Cross”. For a romance writer – especially historical romance writers – the family and the location of Plumpton Rocks provide a wealth of material.

helena fairfax, plumpton rocks

This is just one small spot of interest among many in England’s largest county. There are many other areas of great beauty in Yorkshire – as well as some not so great, where inner cities are run down and decaying.  I think writers can always find inspiration in their surroundings, no matter where they find themselves.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my photos and history of Plumpton Rocks. If you have any comments or questions, please let me know. I always love to hear from you!

helena fairfax, plumpton rocks



13 thoughts on “The romantic landscape and history of Plumpton Rocks

  1. Aloha Helena.

    Thanks for that. Great to learn about that. I didn’t know there were places like that in Yorkshire. Lovely. On my mums side we are from Yorkshire and lancashire. :-). And I still haven’t made it there. Bit I will!’

    Thanks and aloha Meg. :-)


    1. Aloha Meg,
      There are many such places in Yorkshire. It’s a beautiful county in parts, especially in the north and on the coast. If you love the wild countryside you can’t beat north Yorks. Lancastrians might say otherwise, though – there’s a lot of rivalry between our two counties!
      Thanks very much for your comment – and hope you do make it some day!


    1. Thanks, Margaret! If the Tour de France is televised in the US, then you’ll be able to see some of the landscape as the cyclists go flashing by. It’s worth a visit, and I hope you make it over here one day. Thanks for your comment!


  2. Fantastic pictures, Helena. I can hardly wrap my head around the idea that the same family has held on to a piece of land since 1086. Wow! What a beautiful location and how nice the family shares it with others. I’ll FB & Tweet.


    1. Hi Marsha, the family certainly has a long and interesting history! It’s a really beautiful spot. Peaceful and dramatic at the same time. A fabulous setting for a romance story. Thanks very much for your comment!


    1. Thanks, Heather. Yorkshire’s a big county (by English standards :) ), with a lot of variety. Well worth a visit. Hope you make it over some time! Thanks for your comment!


  3. What a lovely place, Helena. I have never heard of Plumpton Rock but I will definitely try and visit during the Summer holidays. There are some beautiful places in Yorkshire, which is indeed a vast county. I always remember my fist visit to Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay, years and years ago. So romantic! A great place to dream…


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