Discovering Buckden and beyond

Dales attractions


Buck Inn (Picture from

There are many comfortable inns nearby serving Yorkshire beers and evening meals.

The Buck Inn (pictured left) is just minutes away but we also recommend the George Inn at Hubberholme (scene of the historic land letting ritual in January each year) and the White Lion Inn at Cray. Also try the Fox and Hounds in Starbotton (with tables outside where you can watch the rest of the world go by) and the Falcon at Arncliffe (a unique experience with an old fashioned interior unchanged for many decades). In fact, it’s hard to find a disappointing pub in the Dales, particularly if you like good beer.

Wensleydale cheese factory at Hawes

Wallace and Gromit, lovers of real Wensleydale cheese

This is the original home of Wensleydale cheese. You can watch it being made, learn how the factory was rescued by local people after Dairy Crest tried to transfer production of Wensleydale cheese to Lancashire, and taste all the different varieties made, including Traditional Wensleydale, Blue Wensleydale, Smoked Wensleydale, Wensleydale with Ginger, Wensleydale with Cranberries and Wensleydale with Apricots. Who said there is no such thing as a free lunch?

Dales Countryside Museum at Hawes

Dales Countryside Museum (Picture by John Clubb from

This museum of life and work in the Yorkshire Dales over centuries tells a fascinating story. Many of the bygones displayed were gathered by renowned historians Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby, who lived at Askrigg in Wensleydale. There are regular demonstrations of crafts and customs.

Aysgarth Falls

Aysgarth Falls (Picture by John Clubb from

The broad limestone shelves of the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls at Aysgarth hardly compete with Niagara but have undisputed charm. On the banks of the river lies Freeholders’ Wood, an ancient coppice wood where villagers used to express their common rights to gather firewood and graze pigs. Coppicing has been revived leading to dazzling displays of bluebells, wood anemones and orchids in the spring and summer.

Bolton Castle

Bolton Castle (Picture from

Bolton Castle is just how a mediaeval castle should be: tall, imposing and slightly scary. The walls are up to 9 feet thick, there is a dungeon, a courtyard and ruined towers. The castle supported the House of York in the Wars of the Roses, Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here for six months in the 1560s and in the Civil War it was a Royalist stronghold besieged by Cromwell’s forces. The ancestral home of the Scrope family, it is still in the family today. Look for the mediaeval herb garden too.

Skipton Castle

Skipton Castle (Picture from

Skipton Castle is one of the best preserved mediaeval castles in the country with a banqueting hall and an early Tudor courtyard. It was once the seat of the Clifford family, the most famous member of which was Lady Anne Clifford, a much revered lady who left a strong mark on the Dales. She held the castle for the Royalists in the Civil War, spending money to restore it afterwards. Today this fine castle sits rather incongruously off a roundabout at the top of Skipton High Street but once you go through the gatehouse, you step back centuries. There is also a pleasant woodland walk around the outside of the north side of the castle.

The Strid at Bolton Abbey

The Strid (Picture from

The Duke of Devonshire’s estate in lower Wharfedale includes heather moors, riverside walks and the ruins of Bolton Priory and Barden Tower. It is perhaps best known for the Strid, an unbelievably narrow channel of rock that carries the full surging and spluttering waters of the River Wharfe for around 50 yards before the river broadens out once more. Historically, the Strid was named because it was something of a local challenge to leap across in one ‘stride’. However, there is probably no surer way to drown than attempt the two-yard leap over this cauldron of angry water from slippery rocks onto more slippery rocks. Those who fall into the water are likely to disappear for days, since powerful currents pull all things downwards where they can become caught under rock overhangs at great depth. The most famous of the Strid’s unfortunate victims was the ill fated Boy of Egremond in mediaeval times, later immortalised in a Wordsworth poem. The poem tells that his mother, Lady Adeliza de Romille was struck with “endless sorrow” after the loss of her son and expressed her grief by founding the priory at Bolton Abbey.

Malham Cove and Gordale Scar

Malham Cove (Picture from

There is no better place to marvel at the spectacular limestone scenery of the Dales than at Malham. Everything from a geography textbook is there to marvel at in stark and often gigantic proportions: fine limestone pavement with clints that wobble as you walk on them, a classic ‘dry’ valley, limestone scars, a sinkhole that swallows the infant River Aire only releasing it 2 miles away, the dramatic gorge of Gordale Scar, waterfalls covered with limestone tufa, and the natural rock amphitheatre of Malham Cove itself. At the end of the Ice Age 12,000 years ago, as ice sheets were melting, this was the site of an immense waterfall but today any water drains through underground passages in the limestone and we can only imagine how things must have once been.

Stump Cross Caverns

Stump Cross Caverns (Picture by Paul Allison from

High on the heather moors on the road between Grassington and Pateley Bridge, Stump Cross Caverns offer the easy way to explore the underground world of limestone. The caves developed over millions of years but were not discovered until 1860 by miners looking for lead ore. The remains of wolverines have been found in these caves and in 1963 in the caves a man set a world record here for the longest time spent underground. He sat for 105 days in solitude as part of a study into the effect on the body of being deprived of the normal cycle of day and night.

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