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Main Street, Grassington.jpg
Main Street, Grassington
North Yorkshire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within North Yorkshire
Population1,126 (2011 census) [1]
OS grid reference SE001639
  London 190 mi (310 km)  SSE
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SKIPTON
Postcode district BD23
Dialling code 01756
Police North Yorkshire
Fire North Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
54°04′16″N1°59′53″W / 54.071°N 1.998°W / 54.071; -1.998 Coordinates: 54°04′16″N1°59′53″W / 54.071°N 1.998°W / 54.071; -1.998

Grassington is a market town and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. The population of the parish at the 2011 Census was 1,126. [1] Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, the town is situated in Wharfedale, about 8 miles (10 km) north-west from Bolton Abbey, and is surrounded by limestone scenery. Nearby villages include Linton, Threshfield, Hebden, Conistone and Kilnsey.


The entrance to an inclined shaft at Yarnbury Lead Mine to the north of Grassington Inclined Mine Shaft Entrace at Yarnbury.jpg
The entrance to an inclined shaft at Yarnbury Lead Mine to the north of Grassington


The Domesday Book lists Grassington as part of the estate of Gamal Barn including 7 carucates of ploughland (840 acres/350ha) including Grassington, Linton and Threshfield. [2] The Norman conquest of England made it part of the lands of Gilbert Tison. But by 1118 Tison had suffered a demotion and his lands returned to the king before being given to Lord Percy. [3]

Originally the settlement was spelt as Gherinstone and also was documented as Garsington or Gersington. The name Grassington derives variously from the Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxon and Gothic languages, and means either the town of the grassy ings or a farmstead surrounded by grass. [4] [5]

Grassington was historically a township in the parish of Linton in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It became a separate civil parish in 1866, [6] and was transferred to North Yorkshire in 1974.

Although often described by local people as a village, Grassington was granted a Royal Charter for a market and fair in 1282 giving it market town status. [7] The market was held regularly until about 1860. A change in land use from the early 17th century, when lead mining began to assume more importance and brought some prosperity, but Grassington's heyday arrived during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The opening of the Yorkshire Dales Railway to Threshfield in 1902 brought new visitors, many of whom settled, some finding work in Skipton or in the developing limestone quarries. The Old Hall at Grassington is reputedly the oldest house in Yorkshire, dating from the late 13th or early 14th century. [8]

Grassington & Threshfield Golf Club (now defunct) was founded in 1908. The club continued until the Second World War. [9]

Grassington was used as the setting for the fictional town of Darrowby in the 2020 Channel 5 series All Creatures Great and Small , instead of Thirsk where the actual story took place; Thirsk had simply become too large for the small town feel that the series wanted. [10] Grassington worked well for filming. "The nice thing was that there weren’t any modern houses in the town center ... so we didn’t have to change anything completely. What we did change were all the shop signs and the usual things like aerials, satellite dishes, alarm boxes and all of those things". [11]

A memorial of the trade unionist Tom Mann stands in front of the cottage where he died in Grassington. [12]

Culture and community

Grassington, looking down from The Square (2007) Grassington Village - - 543173.jpg
Grassington, looking down from The Square (2007)

Grassington is the main residential and tourist centre in Upper Wharfedale. [13] [14] Centred on its small cobbled square are shops, public houses, the village museum, small cafes, restaurants and hotels. Grassington Folk Museum houses a collection which tells the story of Wharfedale. [15] It is an independent museum run and managed by volunteers.

The area is popular with walkers; one of the most popular routes is a circular walk that includes Burnsall. [16] Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association, based in Grassington, is a voluntary mountain rescue organisation which rescues people in trouble on the surrounding fells and in caves. [17]

Grassington Festival is a two-week-long annual event started in 1980, with music, performance and visual arts, held in a number of venues around the village. [18]

Every September since 2011, Grassington has held a 1940s themed weekend. Events include war re-enactments, dances and a variety of military and civilian vehicles on display from the period. [19]

The Square The Square Grassington - - 1202691.jpg
The Square

In the winter Grassington holds the Dickensian Festival, with period costumes, Christmas activities and commercial selling. [20]

A Yorkshire Dales National Park information centre is on Hebden Road.

Three miles north of Grassington, at Kilnsey, is the glacially carved overhang of Kilnsey Crag.

Grass Wood, an area of ancient woodland including the Iron-Age fort, Fort Gregory (also known as Gregory's Fort), is situated just over 3 miles (5 km) north-west of Grassington. [21] [22] The town was transformed into the fictional Darrowby [23] for the filming of the 2020 television series of All Creatures Great and Small for Channel 5. [24]


Grassington is served by the B6265, [25] which runs between Skipton and Green Hammerton via Pateley Bridge and Boroughbridge (being a more circuitous route that the A59 road which connects Skipton and Green Hammerton). [26] Buses connect Grassington with Ilkley and Skipton operating a moderate service to Skipton, but only a three-day a week service to Ilkley. [27]

The DalesBus serves the community on certain days in summer; a report in August 2020 provided these specifics: [28]

"Grassington is served by daily bus service 72 from Skipton, with minibus 72B continuing further up Wharfedale to Kilnsey, Kettlewell and Buckden on Monday to Saturday. There are buses some days to Burnsall, Bolton Abbey and Ilkley. On Sundays, additional DalesBus services operate – including double-decker DalesBus 875 from Wakefield, Leeds and Ilkley to Grassington, Kettlewell and Buckden, continuing during the summer months to Aysgarth and Hawes in Wensleydale.

The town used to have a railway station terminus, which was shared with Threshfield, on the Yorkshire Dales Railway. The station was located on the west side of the River Wharfe, so it was not actually in Grassington. The line opened in July 1902 but closed down in September 1930 after only 28 years of service. The station remained open to freight and railtour traffic until 1969 when the tracks were removed to a point 2 miles (3.2 km) to the south, at the limestone quarry at Swinden. [29] Some of the quarry limestone continues to be transported by rail. The site of Grassington station is now a housing estate, but the Campaign for Better Transport have listed the Skipton to Grassington line as one which they wish to see re-opened to passenger traffic. [30]


Grassington has a Church of England primary school located in the town and there is another primary school in nearby Threshfield. [31] Secondary education is either at the Upper Wharfedale School, which is a non-selective specialist sports college, or in Skipton at Ermysted's Grammar School (boys only) and Skipton Girls High School, both of which are selective. [32]

Electricity generation

In 1909 Grassington received its first electricity from a hydroelectric plant at Linton Falls, which continued to operate until 1948 when the National Grid arrived in the area. In March 2012 a new hydroelectric power plant was opened using the same but restored turbine house, which provides 500,000 kWh of electricity a year, using two Archimedean screws. [33] [34]

Related Research Articles

River Wharfe River in Yorkshire, England

The River Wharfe is a river in Yorkshire, England. For much of its length it is the county boundary between West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire.

Wharfedale Valley in Yorkshire, England

Wharfedale is the valley of the upper parts of the River Wharfe and one of the Yorkshire Dales. It is situated within the districts of Craven and Harrogate in North Yorkshire, and the cities of Leeds and Bradford in West Yorkshire. It is the upper valley of the River Wharfe. Towns and villages in Wharfedale include Buckden, Kettlewell, Conistone, Grassington, Hebden, Bolton Abbey, Addingham, Ilkley, Burley-in-Wharfedale, Otley, Pool-in-Wharfedale, Arthington, Collingham and Wetherby. Beyond Wetherby, the valley opens out and becomes part of the Vale of York.

Yorkshire Dales Upland area of the Pennines in Northern England

The Yorkshire Dales is an upland area of the Pennines in the historic county of Yorkshire, England, most of it in the Yorkshire Dales National Park created in 1954.

Craven Local authority area of North Yorkshire, England

Craven is a local government district of North Yorkshire, England centred on the market town of Skipton. In 1974, Craven district was formed as the merger of Skipton urban district, Settle Rural District and most of Skipton Rural District, all in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The population of the Local Authority area at the 2011 Census was 55,409. It comprises the upper reaches of Airedale, Wharfedale, Ribblesdale, and includes most of the Aire Gap and Craven Basin.

Kettlewell Village in North Yorkshire, England

Kettlewell is a village in Upper Wharfedale, North Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it lies 6 miles (10 km) north of Grassington, at the point where Wharfedale is joined by a minor road which leads north-east from the village over Park Rash Pass to Coverdale. Great Whernside rises to the east. The population of the civil parish was 322 at the 2011 census, with an estimated population of 340 in 2015.

Kilnsey Village in North Yorkshire, England

Kilnsey is a small village in Wharfedale, North Yorkshire, England. It lies on the B6160 road, between the villages of Grassington and Kettlewell, near Arncliffe and just across the River Wharfe from Conistone. The village is 12 miles (19 km) north of Skipton and 3 miles (5 km) south of Kettlewell.

Appletreewick Village and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England

Appletreewick is a village and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England, 12 miles (19 km) north-east of Skipton, 7 miles (11 km) from Skipton railway station and 16 miles (25.7 km) from Leeds Bradford International Airport.

Conistone Village in North Yorkshire, England

Conistone is a small village in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. It lies 3 miles (5 km) north of Grassington, 3 miles (5 km) south of Kettlewell and 12 miles (19 km) north of Skipton beside the River Wharfe, in Upper Wharfedale.

Cracoe Village in North Yorkshire, England

Cracoe is a small village and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. It is situated near to Rylstone and about 6 miles south-west of Grassington. Cracoe has an estimated population of 160 residents, measured at 178 in the 2011 census. Cracoe is a village which is also situated near Rylstone beneath Barden Fell and the twin skyline landmarks of Rylstone Cross and Cracoe Pinnacle in the Yorkshire Dales.

Hebden, North Yorkshire Village and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England

Hebden is a village and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England, and one of four villages in the ecclesiastical parish of Linton. It lies near Grimwith Reservoir and Grassington, in Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In 2011 it had a population of 246.

Threshfield Village and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England

Threshfield is a small village and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England with a population of 980 residents, reducing to 968 at the 2011 census. It borders Grassington, Linton Falls and Skirethorns. Nearby villages are Linton, Cracoe, Rylstone, Hetton, Hebden, Kilnsey, and Greenhow.

Linton, North Yorkshire Village and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England

Linton is a village and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. The population as of the 2011 census was 176. It lies not far from Grassington, just south of the River Wharfe, and is 7 miles (11 km) north of Skipton. Linton Beck runs through the village and then joins the Wharfe at Linton Falls. The beck is crossed by two Grade II listed bridges on the village green, and is overlooked by Fountaine's Hospital, a Grade II* listed chapel and almshouse built in the style of Sir John Vanburgh. There is also a public house, the Fountaine Inn.

Grassington & Threshfield railway station Disused railway station in North Yorkshire, England

Grassington & Threshfield railway station was a railway station that served the villages of Grassington and Threshfield, in North Yorkshire, England.

Yorkshire Dales Railway Railway line in North Yorkshire, England

The Yorkshire Dales Railway was a branch line linking the town of Skipton with the villages of Rylstone, Threshfield and Grassington in North Yorkshire, England. There were two stations on the line - Grassington & Threshfield and Rylstone - and a connection via the Skipton to Ilkley Line to Skipton.

Swinden Quarry

Swinden Quarry is 0.62 miles (1 km) north of the village of Cracoe, and 1.9 miles (3 km) south-west of Grassington in North Yorkshire, England. It is owned by LaFarge Tarmac. The former Skipton-Grassington railway line still serves this location, and in railway terminology, the site is known as Rylstone Quarry.

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Edward Thomas "Ted" Mason is a Yorkshire-born farmer best known for his accomplishments as a fell runner.

Wharfedale Brewery Brewery in Ilkley, England

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Lady Annes Way Long-distance path in Northern England

Lady Anne's Way is a 100-mile (160 km) hiking route between Skipton and Penrith in Northern England. The trail is punctuated by houses and towers once owned by the Clifford family, but is named after Lady Anne Clifford who renovated and repaired the buildings in the 17th century. The route goes through Grassington, Buckden, Askrigg, Garsdale Head, Kirkby Stephen, Great Ormside, Appleby-in-Westmorland and Penrith.

Scoska Wood National Nature Reserve in North Yorkshire, England

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