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Byland Battlefield Walk

A view of Byland Battlefield in the Yorkshire Dales with rolling green country in the background and a commemorative plaque and information signage in the foreground on a bright sunny day.

Tuesday 04 July
Depart: Parkinson Steps: 13.00
Arrive: Parkinson Steps: 19.30
Price: £36.50

At first light on the morning of October 14th in the Year of Our Lord 1322, the armies of two kings confronted each other at Sutton Bank in North Yorkshire.  The soldiers of King Edward II of England looked down from the heights at a strong force led by King Robert I ‘the Bruce’ of Scotland as they deployed in the area around Gormire Lake, with thousands more approaching from the direction of Northallerton to the north-west. Soon they would join battle in a confrontation as dramatic as the landscape in which it was fought.

The battle was a significant encounter in the Scottish War of Independence and unusual in that it was fought so deep into English territory. Another interesting feature being that it is one of only two occasions in the history of Anglo-Scottish warfare when the kings of both nations were present in the field.

This battlefield walk will reveal the story of the ensuing battle and describe the events of the battle itself, as well as addressing the wider historical context, the campaign leading up to the battle, and the immediate aftermath and longer-term consequences.

This walk casts light on a fascinating but little-known and neglected episode of our island history and reveals a conflict largely shaped by the dramatic landscape in which it took place. The outcome of the battle illustrates the almost-total hegemony King Robert was able to establish over large parts of the North of England in the early 14th century, but also Edward II’s stubbornness and refusal to recognise the inevitable – an intransigence that would contribute to his ultimate downfall.

Sensible footwear is recommended, as there will be a significant amount of walking. The hike will be approximately 3 miles in length but with level access. Refreshments are included.

This tour will be guided by Harry Pearson, author of Clash of Crowns: The Battle of Byland 1322.