Brimham Rocks

If you’ve ever wanted to visit somewhere with rocks that are 320 million years old then this is definitely the place to go. The rock formations at Brimham rocks were created 100 million years before the dinosaurs walked the earth and after 320 million years of being sculpted by the British weather they are particularly impressive.

Brimham Rocks has been maintained by the National Trust since 1970 but has been a tourist attraction since the 1700s. The building that now houses the shop and visitor centre was formerly a hunting lodge.

The site is 183.9-hectares (454-acre) and is a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Geological Conservation Review (GCR) site.

What to expect:

The driveway brings you in to the car park at the bottom of the site from here there is a main pathway that takes you up to the top of the site to the kiosk and visitor centre. However it’s more fun to take some of the side paths, explore and see where you end up. The site is enclosed and the paths criss cross the site so when you follow a path, you can’t get lost and will eventually end up back at the visitor centre or the car park.

There are big rocks, little rocks, funny shaped rocks, rocks you can climb on and rocks you can climb in. Obviously it goes without saying that the bigger rocks should only be climbed if you have the correct skill and equipment but there are plenty of smaller rock formations that are perfect for climbing up. The countryside around the rocks is made up or woodland and heather moorland.

The site has 3 different marked trails of varying length, a permanent orienteering course and 2 geocaching trails. You can pick up a map and information form the car park or the visitor centre.


There is a kiosk at the top of the site selling hot and cold drinks, hot and cold sandwiches, cakes, snacks and ice creams, the typical National Trust menu. You can also bring a picnic and eat at the picnic benches by the visitor centre or just climb a rock and find yourself a spot with a view to eat.

Visitor Centre and Shop:

The shop sells some National Trust merchandise and stamps National Trust passports. They are predominantly a second hand bookshop with an excellent selection of books which start at just a couple of pounds.

The visitor centre is upstairs from the shop and has a small display about how Brimham Rocks was created over millions of years and also a photography exhibition.


The main path is wheelchair and pram accessible although if you are pushing a manual wheelchair some parts have a steeper gradient and there is mixed terrain. A mobility scooter is available to hire for free.

Entrance fee:

The site is free to enter but there is a charge for the car park. National Trust members can park for free by scanning their card at the parking machine (Scottish NT members need to show their card at the welcome hut in the car park and then put it on the dashboard of the car). Car park charges can be found here.

Getting there:

Brimham Rocks is 10 miles from Harrogate and Ripon, near Pateley Bridge. It’s not possible to get there by public transport although you can get a bus to Summerbridge and then walk the last 1.5 miles. Bus frequency will vary though depending in the time of year. You could also get a taxi from nearby towns. Information can be found here.

Our thoughts on Brimham Rocks:

Brimham Rocks has always been a firm favourite with Pip, she loves climbing on the rocks and exploring the site as an intrepid adventurer. We’ve been in all weathers and as long as you dress for the weather it is always a fun day out.

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