Setting for Eden Chronicles.

Northern England Topographical Marked.jpg

Northern England

London is just out of eyeshot, bottom right.

 Byland Abbey

Byland Abbey

My Eden Chronicles books are set on the edges of the Yorkshire Moors in the county of North Yorkshire. The edges of the moors are studded with rich scenery and gnarled monuments. It's history is immense. Bloody battles through the Wars of the Roses and the Civil War, the landscape boasts tumble-down monasteries like Rievaulx, Byland and Fountains Abbey, obliterated by Henry VIII during the Reformation, sweeping vistas over the Vale of York, heather-clad hills of the moors itself and great rocky cliff-faces. 

I used to drive past the moors every day to work, noticing something different every day. The light bouncing off the higher hills. The leaf colours in autumn, the wild-flowers in summer. It is an ancient, beautiful and varied landscape right in the heart of England.  thought it might be helpful to provide a small map for those of you who are unfamiliar with North Yorkshire in the UK. 

This area is well-known as the location for the writings and TV dramas of the famous vet, James Herriot, (All Creatures Great and Small) whose veterinary practice was in the town of Thirsk, near Upsall. He used to attend to my wife’s grandparents livestock. Some of the characters in Herriot’s books are - so she says - based on her family!

Oh, and by the way, Upsall actually exists. It’s a tiny village, perched on the edge of the moors. A medieval, now renovated castle overlooks the expanse of the Vale of York below, and, on a fine day, you really can see across the Vale to the Dales on the peaks on the other side!   

The cliffs and forests and rugged villages and farmsteads dotted here are typical of my idea for the setting of the Eden Chronicles. I also really liked the name of Upsall, so I knocked on the castle door one day and asked them if it was okay if I used the name in my books. Luckily, they agreed! The school, however, is entirely made-up.

Back to the monasteries of Rievaulx and Byland and also, the World Heritage site of Fountains Abbey. I have spent many happy hours picnicking with the family, playing hide and seek among the fallen boulders and generally losing myself in the medieval ruins, letting my imagination wander off… 

Here’s a picture so you can understand what I mean.

 Ruins at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire.

Ruins at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire.

These are the kinds of craggy buildings I had in mind for the ruins above Eden Cottage. What do you think? Was this what you had in mind? Drop me a line with your interpretation.

I hope this snippet gives you a tiny insight into the immense character of this evocative landscape.

 

James

 More ruins at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire

More ruins at Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire