Heading west from places like Ripon, Kilburn, and Knaresborugh lie the small towns of Hawes and Leyburn. Not only is Hawes a wonderful market town with lots to see and do, it sits in the North Yorkshire Dales National Park – only a stone’s throw from the English Lake District. You can easily reach both towns by rail (an added bonus), by car, or other modes of transport.
When I arrived at Hawes, I was impressed by the beauty of the area in which it sits. It’s the highest town in England at 850 ft, and has a magical setting with a river, stone bridges, and plenty of history.
|Hawes (credit to Helen Alexander)|
Much of what they made is used for bell pulls and other fanciness. I was able to buy samples and a book for my friend there. But, the Ropemakers wasn’t the only site to see in Hawes.
Wensleydale is the seat of cheesemaking for Yorkshire, and you can find out all about the process on your own tour! My first experience with Wensleydale cheese was through the Wallace and Gromit’s telly show for kids. Now, it’s become a part of the Wensleydale cheese tradition with W&G producing a cookbook and promoting various Wensleydale cheese products.
I highly recommend a tour of the creamery and a visit to the gift shop!
The Dales Countryside Museum is well worth a visit and is set up to inform the public about life in the Yorkshire Dales. They have some lovely exhibits to include many on the subject of sheep! So, I geared myself up to ask the docent if he might know where I could find sheep’s roving.
That’s when I found out about the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop in the nearby town of Leyburn.
If you head east from Hawes on the A684 for about 30 minutes, you’ll find the town. There are a few shops along the main road to include a Chocolate Factory and Ceramic Inspirations (both very interesting!).
The old Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop was located next to the farmhouse, but they’ve since opened a shop in town. The shop is now located in the Market Place off Kelberdale Court.
Rows and rows of pretty yarn, sheep fleece, and sheep roving abound! As a sometimes knitter, myself, I was amazed at all the pretty sights. I came away with not only sheep’s roving, but some gifts for myself as well.
Near Leyburn are the ruins of Bolton Castle, one of the country’s best preserved medieval castles and over 600 years old!
This is just a small taste of what awaits you in the area of Hawes and Leyburn. It’s a fantastic place for sightseeing, shopping (Market Day is Tuesday in Hawes), and outdoor activities.
So, get out of London and take in the fresh air of Wensleydale. And save some cheese for me!
A Facebook friend who lives in Hawes has mentioned the following:
There is a place where they make homemade jams and chutneys called Raydale Preserves, based in Countersett just outside of Bainbridge, in between Leyburn and Hawes. You can taste before you buy and there's a cafe.
The Forbidden Corner is also a great place to go. It is near Wensley.