Kilnsey Crag

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Kilnsey Crag

Turner visited Kilnsey Crag on his tour of Yorkshire in 1816; he spent the night of 25 July at nearby Kettlewell and devoted the next morning to exploring Kilnsey Crag.  The distinctive Kilnsey Crag is a towering inland limestone cliff, around 50 metres high, which has an impressive overhang of about 12 metres created by the Wharfedale glacier during the ice age.

During his explorations, Turner made a series of quick sketches recording views from the road to the north and south in a small pocketbook, before deciding that the best profile was that from the south and recording that in his largest sketchbook.

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Turner's Viewpoint

Turner always liked to give a wider sense of the situation of his subjects, so his final idea was to take the view from a distance at the village of Conistone, where he could take in the headland of Kilnsey jutting into the Wharfe Valley, with the river and Conistone Bridge in the foreground and the higher fells of Upper Wharfedale in the background. 

He made a detailed sketch across two pages of his largest sketchbook and developed that into a highly atmospheric watercolour study (Kilnsey Crag and Conistone, Upper Wharfedale, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: CXCVII O). 

Although Turner obviously intended a finished version of this composition, it does not appear to have been completed.  A note in the sketchbooks suggests that he promised to deliver it to Charles Cope of Leeds by December 1825, so it may be that a major watercolour has been lost.

There is no public access to the exact viewpoint of Turner's sketch of Kilnsey and Conistone Bridge.  However a similar view can be enjoyed on the footpath leading from Conistone Bridge, looking towards Kilnsey Crag.


Discover The Landscape

The Turner Trails bench and panel can be found at Kilnsey Park, from where wonderful views of the Crag can be seen.

The Venue


Kilnsey Park, Kilnsey, near Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 5PS

Map reference: SD979675

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Directions to Kilnsey Crag:

Off the B6160 Threshfield-Kettlewell road, signposted Conistone and St Mary's Church. Parking is available at Kilnsey Park.