The elevated stone pathway behind the parapet leads through a narrow belt of green, curving round the old city centre. On a day of low sun and lingering frost the sun-warmed stone walkway overlooks hidden gardens in pools of deep shade. Looking in to the city, the great bulk of York Minster towers above narrow medieval streets. Looking out across the tree-lined moat, the castellated wall frames rows of houses from later centuries.
Built on a Viking earth rampart over remnants of Roman fortifications, York’s city walls were maintained as a military defence up to the 18th century. After a final patching up in response to the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, the walls were allowed to fall into disrepair and in 1800 the city council applied for parliamentary permission to demolish them. Thanks to the protests of an early group of conservationists, the walls survived, despite the council’s arguments that their demolition would aid traffic flow and improve the circulation of clean air in the city’s slums. Today the two mile circuit is one of the most complete sets of medieval walls in Britain and a great way to see some hidden corners of the old city.
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Linked to the Weekly Photo Challenge Resilient.