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Activities in and around Littondale

WALKING:  there are walks in every direction out of Hawkswick from gentle strolls up the river to Arncliffe, Litton or beyond, to more demanding walks such as a circular walk over to Kettlewell and Arncliffe or to Malham and back through either Arncliffe or along Mastiles Lane and Kilnsey. 

CYCLING: The Yorkshire Dales offers superb road and mountain biking opportunities for all experience levels and hosted the Grand Depart of the Tour de France  in 2014. The Yorkshire Dales Cycleway provides many local routes to suit all abilities. The Yorkshire Dales National Park website also provides some good route information for both road and mountain biking. There are many excellent mountain bike routes varying from double blacks (mountain loop around Wharfedale and Littondale) to shorter trails out of Arncliffe and over to Malham, and an annual Littondale Mountain Bike Challenge every May. 

CLIMBING:  A magnificent steep crag at Kilnsey (5 mins away) has many superb routes, many are higher grade climbs but a few routes are at about E1 level.

HORSE RIDING: Kilnsey Trekking and Riding Centre (5 mins away) offers pony treks for novices and people with no riding experience. The rides are suitable for intermediate and advanced riders and there are some superb routes along the river and up Mastiles lane towards Malham.

KILNSEY PARK: this is a family friendly experience with fun fishing, kids activities, nature trail, farm animals as well as a cafe.



LITTONDALE is one of the most beautiful, tranquil and unspoilt dales in the Yorkshire National Park. It is rich in Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements with signs of early medieval ploughing on wind bank. The river Skirfare runs from its source at Foxup for almost 10 miles through a sheltered fertile.

HAWKSWICK is the first small hamlet in Littondale described by Boyd as ‘the sunny hamlet .., sheltering under the hill, and trapping every ray of sun that shines in the valley throughout the day.’  The long narrow ridges in the hillside above the village were formed by medieval ploughs called lynchets. Oats were grown and oatcake and porridge was eaten throughout the dale. The village used to have a ballroom in a barn and this is now a house still called The Ballroom.

ARNCLIFFE is the largest village in Littondale with a pretty village green and old fashioned pub, the Falcon (still serving beer from the barrel via a porcelain jug) which was once the fictional pub in the TV soap, Emmerdale. It has great walking routes in every direction and an annual fete and fell run in July.

KETTLEWELL is a pretty grey stone village in a steep narrow part of Wharfedale where the old coach road over Park Rash Pass from Middleham and Coverdale joins Wharfedale. It’s an hour’s walk over Knype scar from Hawkswick and boasts several pubs and cafes. It is on the Dales Way and part of the Dales Inn Way. Much of the film of the Calendar girls was filmed here. Each year it has probably the best scarecrow festival in the second week of August and a Mayfest in early May.

GRASSINGTON is a pretty small market village with stunning views, beautiful stone buildings, good walking (part of the Dales way, start of the Dales Inn Way and Grass Woods), quirky shops (including a well-stocked spa shop, butchers, bakers and green grocers), friendly pubs and a restaurant. It has regular Sunday farmers’ markets, an annual music and arts festival the third week of June and for the three Saturdays before Christmas, it travels back in time for the annual Dickensian Festival where visitors are treated to a glorious array of sights, tastes and smells from a bygone era.

LONG ASHES PARK is just a ten minute drive away. Long Ashes Park is set in the heart of Wharfedale in the idyllic Yorkshire Dales National Park. It has a Spa and an impressive range of facilities including including an indoor heated swimming pool, steam room, sauna Jacuzzi and gym. There is a pub on site, The Gamekeepers Inn  which offers home-made.

SKIPTON  is a historic market town about 25 minutes drive away, where you will find a cinema, canal trips, castle and larger stores and supermarkets including Tesco and Morrisons as well as its well-known street market 4 days a week.

Not far away, you can visit MALHAM with its spectacular limestone cliffs, gorges and pavements (annual show towards the end of August); the riverside beauty spot at Bolton Abbey, the spa towns of ILKLEY (with the famous Ilkley moor and Bettys’ team room,  spa town of HARROGATE  with another Betty’s team room and BRIMHAM ROCKS with its amazing weird and wonderful natural rock formations that can be admired or over which you can scramble.