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            This old coaching town on the Keighley-Kendal turnpike road (now the A65) is also a key point of call on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal as its prepares to cross its summit from Greenber Lock. There are interesting wharves, where, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, processed lead from Grassington and zinc ore (calamine) from Malham was loaded onto waiting barges.

Away from the busy main road, is a village of both charm and character. There are extensive village greens along the riverside of the infant River Aire, dotted with daffodils in spring. The fine parish church churchyard contains the grave of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Ian Macleod, whose tragic early death whilst still in office may well have changed modern political history.

Former coaching inns from the stagecoach era welcome modern travellers, and there is a popular cyclists café here on the edge of some fine cycling country. Gargrave station allows cyclists exceptionally convenient access to the networks of quiet lanes and minor roads in Upper Ribblesdale, with the possibility of returning from Hellifield, Long Preston or Giggleswick stations.

Walkers can enjoy one of the more gentle sections of the Pennine Way as it passes through green rolling hills and riverside northwards to Malham or southwards to Thornton- in-Craven, whilst the Leeds-Liverpool Canal offers virtually level walking and simple route finding as it meanders westwards in a huge loop to Thornton or back to Skipton.

Another fine route is to follow Mark House Lane (follow Pennine Way waymarks) green way out of the village to Bell Busk and Otterburn, then Langber Lane to Settle. This is the line of the historic pre-turnpike packhorse road between Leeds and Kendal, once a major Trans-Pennine trade route.

Public Transport Links:

  • Buses: 210, 580 (Mondays to Saturdays), 809 (Summer weekends), 843 (Saturdays)
  • Trains: Leeds-Skipton-Morecambe line

Bus times can be checked at the Transport Direct and Dalesbus websites (links open in new windows).

Local services: toilets, shops, cafes, pubs, TIC

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