The Greta is one of Yorkshire’s less well known rivers. It rises in the Pennines then flows for just a few (very scenic) miles to the River Tees. The name derives from Old Norse and over a short stretch of its course lie some interesting artistic & literary connections. A mile or so west of Greta Bridge are the ruins of St Mary’s a medieval chapel sketched by Turner no less. The Tate Gallery has the drawing. Down at Greta Bridge (site of ‘Vecus’ a Roman fort) is where Dickens is said to have got his inspiration for Dotheboys Hall in ‘Nicholas Nickleby’. Greta Bridge also gets a mention in the book. Then a mile or so eastwards lies Rokeby Park once the home of the Rokeby Venus by Velasquez, now in the National Gallery. Behind Rokeby lies Morstan Tower said to be one of the finest fortified manor houses in Northern England. Sir Walter Scott was a visitor, hence his novel ‘Rokeby’. Not bad for a three miles or so stretch of river and all accessible along a footpath!

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