North Riding of Yorkshire

The North Riding of Yorkshire Flag
Flag of the North Riding of Yorkshire

The ancient riding, devised by the Vikings, was smaller than it is today. It started on the north bank of the River Derwent, a boundary shared with the East Riding and stretched up to the river Tees. It included places such as Middlesbrough, Barnard Castle and Romaldskirk. Its boundary with the old West Riding met at the banks of the River Ouse at York and Ripon. This cuts across the hills and valleys of the Yorkshire Dales to east of Sedbergh.

An act in 1889 saw Northallerton become its own administrative centre and renamed the County of York and North riding. With the others, this followed the ancient boundaries set out by the Vikings.

In 1968, they created the urban area of Teesside. This included Middlesbrough, Stockton and surrounding areas north of the river. The process of the area’s detachment with Yorkshire began which increased with “Cleveland” being invented in 1974. Like Humberside, it was no longer considered part of Yorkshire. On the same day in 1996, whilst Eastern counterparts celebrated the Humberside abolition, Cleveland ceased to exist with parts of the county joining County Durham and others, such as Guisborough re-joining North Riding Of Yorkshire, for ceremonial purposes.

The 1974 changes made North Yorkshire expand, more so in the North West. Where the dales fringe towns of Skipton, Settle and Harrogate joined the county from the reduced West riding. The area also took over the ancient independent area of “Ainsty”. This included York, Selby, first in the West Riding, and lands surrounding the River Ouse’s flow from York to the Humber estuary.

North Yorkshire is famous for being the most picturesque part of the county. It contains two national parks, the Dales to the west and the Yorkshire Moors to the east. The area is popular with tourists and the economy lends itself to this industry, along with agriculture. The area is an important religious centre with many medieval priories established by monks. These were all destroyed by the forces of King Henry VIII during his “Dissolution of the monasteries” policy of 1539. It left these impressive structures as ruins. Many of them, such as Bolton Priory, Rievaulx Abbey and Fountains abbey are now popular tourist destinations. The coastal towns of Scarborough and Whitby offer spectacular scenery and all the trappings of modern seaside resorts.

North Yorkshire is the largest and perhaps the most famous riding with its scenery, farms, dry stone walls and friendly folk, which help to make the county great.