Leyburn & Wensleydale
Eastfield Lodge & Leyburn – A Gateway to the Dales
At Eastfield Lodge we are in a wonderful location. It is a 5 minute walk into the traditional market square of this small and pretty town with its independent shops, weekly market and attractive tearooms. Leyburn draws in the people of Wensleydale, who use the town to go about their daily business. Wensleydale itself is perhaps the most celebrated of all the Dales and Leyburn is the perfect springboard for exploring it, whether you venture out on foot, or by car or on the step-back-in-time Wensleydale Railway, a tourist line which stops at Leyburn before heading west into the Dales National Park.
Principal town of Wensleydale
and the eastern gateway to the Yorkshire Dales National Park
Leyburn is one of North Yorkshire’s prettiest towns. It is the principal town of Wensleydale and the perfect launchpad for exploring many of the Dales. Paths, lanes, roads and, of course, the Wensleydale Railway leave the town in various directions and it is easy to find yourself somewhere idyllic in no time at all.
As a picturesque market town, Leyburn is the traditional centre for Wensleydale shopping and trade. There are several independently owned shops, four pubs and various tea shops and restaurants.
At one end of the town is Tennants, the largest provincial auctioneers in Britain. We also have a local market in the town centre every Friday and a farmers market specialising in local meats comes to town once a month.
The renowned Leyburn ‘Shawl’, just a short walk from the Market Place, gives superb views over Wensleydale and is the starting point of many beautiful walks. One of the most unusual river suspension bridges in England (built in 1829), links Leyburn to Middleham, another pretty town dominated by its famous castle and its tradition for racehorse training.
Leyburn has a population of about 2500 but this can swell at popular times of the year due to its picturesque position in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Wensleydale is arguably the most celebrated of all the Dales. It lies in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and is one of only a few Dales that is not named after its principal river, the River Ure. The valley is famous for its cheese, which is produced at a commercial level at Hawes at the western end of the dale. Wensleydale’s attraction is significantly enhanced by its central location between two other well-known dales, Wharfedale and Swaledale, which is accessed via the Buttertubs Pass. Several enchanting, lesser-known dales branch off Wensleydale, such as Cotterdale, Bishopdale and Coverdale.
Naturally, Wensleydale is a popular destination for walkers and the charming landscapes on offer here include hills, mountains, moorland, dale-sides and the valley bottoms. Wensleydale is also rife with places of interest and historic sites. One of these is Bolton Castle in the village of Castle Bolton. Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned here. The story goes that she escaped and made her way to Leyburn, losing her shawl on the way, hence the name of the cliff edge that runs westward out of Leyburn (The Shawl), a well-known spot for walks with spectacular views.
The main villages of Wensleydale are Leyburn, Hawes, Aysgarth, Bainbridge and Middleham The shortest river in England, the River Bain links Semerwater to the River Ure at Bainbridge, the home to an ancient Roman fort. Part of the Roman road is still walkable up Wether Fell. Hardraw Force, the highest unbroken waterfall in England, is located at Hardraw (near Hawes), whilst Aysgarth Fall (near Leyburn) are famous for their beauty rather than their height, attracting far-off visitors, partly because they were featured in the film Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.
Some visitors come to Wensleydale due to its connection with Richard III, who was brought up in Middleham Castle, of which sufficient ruins remain to be well worth a visit. In the market place of Middleham stands a stone carving, believed to be a boar’s head, signifying where the animal market was during the 15th century, as well as representing Richard’s personal standard, the white boar.
The Wensleydale Railway is one of the area’s key attractions and provides a charming way of getting into the National Park. It stops in Leyburn about 400 yards from Eastfield Lodge. The railway’s long-term plan is eventually to run the whole length of the valley and connect again with the main rail network at Garsdale on the Settle to Carlisle route.