In 1686, Leyburn town was granted a market charter by King Charles II as it formed a crossroads between Bedale, Richmond, Middleham, Reeth and Hawes. The much earlier market in Wensley needed a replacement after a plague devastated the village and the remaining population fled.
Still today Leyburn’s Historic market is thriving and every Friday the market square is a busy, colourful and lively place. Henry and I are passionate about the quality and variety of local produce and try to visit the market on as many Fridays as we can.
This week I wandered up to capture some images of the characters and atmosphere of this traditional event. I had a wonderful morning interacting with the stall holders keen to pose for photographs and to share stories and banter.
I asked for a grin from the couple on the Cheesy Grin stall, selling their wonderful cheeses both local and from further afield. They always have some delicious samples I cannot resist as well as some guaranteed banter. I love finding out where the cheeses come from and their knowledge and enthusiasm is comprehensive.
Wendy and Mick are regulars with their tempting array of homemade cakes. The chocolate brownies are my Achilles heel but my intentions to make a wide detour to protect my waistline fail as Mick is the most keen yet for his photograph to appear in the blog.
We are very well supplied with fruit and vegetables beautifully laid out on display from 6 am by a cheerful bunch of hard working staff. These two lads from Carrick’s weren’t shy! The competition is tough here though, with the equally abundant stall belonging to, no less than, Collett’s Fruit and Vegetables sidling up next to Carrick’s in the market square!
From here I head to another ideal photo shoot – the well stocked fish market. This is probably my most regularly visited of all the stalls and today, as usual, there is quite a queue here as it is so popular. It feels like a step back in time as the two men dressed in their wide plastic aprons greet many of the customers by name, knowing their orders and keep a leather book and pencil for the accounts. I request our kippers and a traditional fish pie whilst clicking away with the camera to capture the atmosphere. A gentlemen stops me to show off his handmade models of the whole Carrick’s fleet of vehicles in miniature – he was so proud; each one taking him a year to complete.
My wandering continues, past the garden centre stall with spring bedding plants, the hand woven rugs merchant, the jams and chutneys lady under her bunting and the clothing, brit-a-brac and antiques. There is often a stationary and card seller, an electrical stall and that’s a standard week. During the weekend and annual event to celebrate the 1940’s the market square and stalls take on an entirely different look. The Dales Food and Drink Festival means it all changes again with Yorkshire Dry Gin putting in an appearance at the market – not always there I’m afraid!
What a morning and that’s before I visit Campbells Delicatessen for my Wensleydale and the other classic small shops of the town but that’s for another time.
Rent the whole of Eastfield Lodge to see the Yorkshire Dales in all it’s glory for your special occasion – Exclusive Use of Eastfield Lodge.