Wensleydale & Swaledale

Tourist information, local attractions, places to visit, things to see and do...

Askrigg_Bainbridge_SemerWater

On this page we provide information and links to other web sites which may be of interest when planning your holiday or short break in the Yorkshire Dales. These links are provided for the convenience of visitors to our web site and we accept no responsibility for the content of these third party sites. All external links open in a new browser window.

This page is quite long - use the links below to jump straight down the page to:

Wensleydale | Swaledale | Attractions, Activities, Places of Interest

Wensleydale - from Waterfalls to Arts and Crafts

Waterfalls are a major feature of the area and can be particularly spectacular following heavy rainfall.

Mill Gill Fall, Askrigg, Yorkshire Dales
Mill Gill Fall

Mill Gill and Whitfield Gill

For a delightful waterfall experience in a quiet wooded gill (deep ravine) passing several small falls, but stopping at Mill Gill Fall with a single drop, and at the top scramble down to the foot of Whitfield Fall. The half hour amble can be extended to a 2 hour circular walk. In spring the slopes are covered in primroses, followed by wild garlic and bluebells. The autumn shades are equally attractive, and the stark winter colours become alive with the roar of the waterfalls.  You can then continue on the footpath across the river and then continue down Low Straits entering Askrigg down Moor Road. A welcome drink can then be taken at the Crown Inn.        

Hardraw Force, Wensleydale
Hardraw Force

Hardraw Force

This is England's highest single drop waterfall at 98 feet. It can be found behind the Green Dragon Inn in Hardraw. Entrance to the waterfall is via the pub and an entrance fee is payable.

West Burton Falls

Located in the picturesque village of West Burton, voted the ‘Best Kept Village in the Dales’ for 2013. These very pretty falls are situated about 6 miles towards Leyburn.

Aysgarth Falls

This is where the river Ure tumbles over a series of limestone steps. A pleasant walk links the Upper, Middle and Lower falls. They featured in scenes from Kevin Costner’s ‘Prince of Thieves’. The gently flowing falls become a raging torrent after heavy rain. Whatever the weather they are well worth a visit.

View over Askrigg to Addlebrough
Looking over Askrigg to Addlebrough

Askrigg

Askrigg was once a small market town with 18 clock makers but is now a village of 300 residents, recognised world-wide as the vet surgery location for the TV series All Creatures Great and Small. Local amenities include a general store, tea shops, three public houses (two with restaurants) and the Village Kitchen, which provides home cooked takeaway meals and packed lunches. (See further information about Places to Eat below). There is also a church (C of E) and a children’s play area within a short walk. Footpaths and rural walks are easily accessible, and some can be reached without walking on roads. On the outskirts of Askrigg is a small leisure centre with a gym and outdoor sports facilities. The nearby towns of Hawes and Leyburn provide weekly markets, and shopping in small, independent supermarkets and specialist retailers.

Askrigg has for many years encouraged professional arts and crafts people to work and live in its community. Today one can see painter Judith Bromley and her dog in the meadows or woods sketching landscapes or wild flowers. Her husband Robert Nicholls paints landscapes, but is well known for painting sheep and wild life. Etcher, painter and poet Piers Browne can be seen in remote areas searching for inspiration in all weathers.

Over Askrigg & Bainbridge to Semerwater
Askrigg & Bainbridge to
Semerwater

Bainbridge

Bainbridge has a wide open village green for you to to stop and sit, or even try yourself in the old stocks. The village is well known for its old Roman camp and Roman road. There is a small shop, butchers and hotel, a chapel and Quaker meeting house. Two miles south, near the Semer Water in Raydale are Raydale Preserves, making delicious jams and pickles to taste. 

Hawes

Wensleydale cheese (as featured in Wallace and Grommit) is made here at Wensleydale Creamery which has an excellent visitor centre. Hawes is a place to wander in the shops, alleyways and into the meadows, visit St Margaret's church, watch ropemakers create church bell ropes, barrier ropes, banister ropes and dog leads for premier league football clubs. On Tuesdays there is a live sheep and cattle auction market, and in the middle of town is an open air market with stalls, as well as an indoor market in the town hall.

The Dales Countryside Museum and National Park Centre and tourist information centre in the old station yard welcome visitors to see the steam engine on the old railway line, a gallery with regular exhibitions, the museum of local history, a selection of short courses for adults, and in the school holidays activities for children, as well as important local information.

To the south of Hawes is Gayle Mill, which has been restored and open to the public as a working saw mill, and featured in 2004 on the BBC's Restoration programme.

For train enthusiasts there is the famous Settle to Carlisle line to the west and the recently re-opened Wensleydale Railway to the east running from Redmire towards Northallerton for days out.

From Wensleydale it is one hour to the Lake District and Kendal to the West and one hour to Thirsk, home of the Herriot Centre, to the East, as well as Harrogate and Darlington.

Swaledale

Reeth

Reeth is an attractive village with shops (post office and general shop, sweet shop & baker), pubs and cafés, a community resource centre and National Park centre, surrounding a large village green. Nearby is a garage, newsagent's and workshops producing various arts and crafts, including furniture, clocks and clay models. This is the main village of Swaledale and a good starting point for walks along the river or high fells, and a tea break or pint at the end of the day. On Fridays there is a small market on the green throughout the year.

Muker

Muker a small dales village, popular as a walking base and has a village shop and post office, craft shop, hand knitted woollen shop, café and pub for bar meals. The village has a well-known silver band and, in early September, has a sheep show with fell races.

Nearby villages with places to eat include Thwaite, Gunnerside and Reeth, and Tan Hill, at over 1700ft, boasts the highest pub in England.

The area has a wealth of riverside and high fell walks and is not far from the Pennine Way. The nearest market town is Hawes, only 7 miles over the Buttertubs Pass to the south, and Leyburn and Richmond to the east.

Attractions, Activities, Places of Interest...

There's so much to see and do in Wensleydale, Swaledale and the other neighbouring Yorkshire Dales that we're sure you'll find something here to interest you! We include below just a small selection of other web sites providing useful information (in no particular order).
Each link opens in a new browser window.

  • Hawes Ropemakers
    W R Outhwaite & Son, Ropemakers was established in 1905 and manufactures barrier ropes, bannister ropes, church bell ropes, dog leads, skipping ropes, clothes line, equestrian ropes and candle wicks.
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park
    The official web site of the National Park Authority.
  • Swaledale Festival in late May and early June offers concerts and exhibitions in village churches, village halls and on village greens.
  • Gayle Mill is open Easter to September. Booking in advance is essential.
  • Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve, a 94 acre (38ha) site based at Catterick Garrison, near Richmond, then drive a couple of miles into Richmond and amble along the banks of the River Swale, or visit the castle. 
  • White Scar Cave discovered by Christopher Long in 1923 this is the longest show cave in the British Isles.
  • Ingleton Waterfalls Trail this is a 4 mile trail that has some of the most spectacular waterfall and woodland scenery in the North of England.
  • Bolton Castle one of the best preserved medieval castles in the country it is open from February to October and offers a wealth of activities for all the family.
  • The Black Sheep Brewery located in Masham. You can tour the brewery and learn how the beers are made, sample the real ales, buy gifts from the shop and have a meal in the lovely restaurant.
  • Hazel Brow Farm
    A 200-acre, family run, organic farm in the heart of Swaledale - famous for its beautiful Herriot scenery and only 1 mile from the picturesque 'watersplash' ford featured in the BBC series All Creatures Great And Small. This diversified farm offers a wide selection of activities for all the family: Visitor centre; café & shop; supervised animal handling sessions; walks; farm produce; seasonal demonstrations; souvenirs & gifts; children's play area. A great day out for all the family. Note: dogs are not allowed on the farm.
  • The Yorkshire Dales by Eagle Intermedia
    Useful information about the Yorkshire Dales, including history, geology, places to visit and lots of photos.

Places to Eat

  • We are very lucky in Askrigg to have three pubs all serving food at lunchtimes and in the evenings:
    • Kings Arms
      It doubled as the fictional "Drovers Arms" in the much-loved BBC drama All Creatures Great and Small. The menu features the best of local, seasonal produce and changes frequently according to availability. The emphasis is on excellent quality food served in a relaxed, informal atmosphere.

      It is advisable to book a table particularly during weekends and the busy summer season.

    • White Rose Hotel, Askrigg
      This has a traditional Yorkshire bar providing a perfect setting for freshly prepared and cooked light snacks and bar meals.
      Lunches and Dinners are served in the new light and airy Orangery which has lovely views over the pretty beer garden. A mouth-watering range of dishes are available on a regularly changing menu. A comprehensive and realistically priced wine list and a fine selection of real ales are also available.

    • The Crown Inn
      Is a traditional Dales pub that is well patronised by the local residents. It serves good ales and beautifully prepared traditional meals. The puddings are excellent and all prepared in the kitchen. During chillier times the two open fires ensure a warm welcome.
      Food is served at lunchtime from 12.00 – 14.00, and evening meals from 18.30 – 20.45. Pre-bookings are not taken.
  • Askrigg Village Kitchen
    Honest, fresh and satisfying fayre prepared by local cooks. There is also a small seated area where you can enjoy coffee, tea, home-baked scones, pies, cakes, soup and light lunches.

  • Sykes Tearoom and Shop
    Serve a selection of sandwiches, hot snacks, scones and homemade cakes