Barden Tower

View on map  

Find a trail - visit the official visitor site for Yorkshire

Opening Times:

All year: 9.30am - 4pm


£6 per vehicle, £4 per vehicle after 4pm, £3 per motorcycle or 50p per person for groups of 12 or more in one vehicle

Free Midweek Admission: 31 Oct 2011-16 Mar 2012 ex. Christmas (19 Dec 2011 - 6 Jan 2012 inclusive) and February half term (13-17 Feb 2012)

Venue contact details:

T: 01756 718009
E: [email protected]

Barden Tower

In 1808 Turner made a small sketching tour of the Rivers Wharfe and Washburn.  He was making his first visit to the home of his great Yorkshire friend and patron Walter Fawkes of Farnley Hall near Otley.  Turner, by this time, was well into his thirties and on this tour he began an intimate exploration of the scenery of Yorkshire that was to last for nearly twenty years.

Barden Tower is a medieval hunting lodge about 4km up the River Wharfe from Bolton Abbey.  It was rebuilt in the 15th century as a fortified house by the Clifford family of Skipton Castle, but by the early 17th century had become a ruin and survives much as Turner shows it.

Rather unusually, Turner decided to make his sketches here on very large sheets of paper.  His sketch of Barden Tower (Barden Tower, Wharfedale, Tate Gallery, Finberg number: CLIV L) would have required calm conditions for him to be able to work at all, but it does suggest that his idea was to enjoy an extended immersion in the site.

Gift shopPicnic siteWheelchair accessDogs accepted

Turner's Viewpoint

Turner developed a finished watercolour of Barden Tower from the sketch and, like all of Turner's Yorkshire works, it suggests a unique enjoyment of, and attachment to, the scenery (The River Wharfe, with a distant view of Barden Tower, private collection, image unavailable, Wilton number: 550).  Turner's viewpoint of Barden Tower is some distance away at a bluff above the Strid.

Discover The Landscape

The Turner Trails bench and panel (Pembroke Seat on The Strid Wood Nature Trails), are located at the spot where Turner sketched, overlooking Barden Tower in the distance through the trees.

The Venue


Strid Car Park, Bolton Abbey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6EX. Car park co-ordinates, 54.002631,-1.911628

Map reference: SE061565

View on map
Directions to Barden Tower:

Follow the A59 Skipton-Harrogate road. Turn onto the B6160, through Bolton Abbey and continue for another 2 miles to Strid Car Park