Skip to main content

Bolt Hole with Blue Skies

One of my favourite places is the area of Wharfedale around the beautiful village of Appletreewick. Something of a bolt hole, it is only an hour's drive from home but feels like a different world. Situated on the opposite side of the valley to the Bolton Abbey to Grassington road, you turn off by Barden Tower and drop down towards the river, crossing over the narrow 17th Century Barden Bridge, follow the road round for another couple of miles or so, and you're there.

I visited the area today, taking advantage of the early Autumn sunshine to walk a few miles alongside the River Wharfe. As usual when it's a year or two when you've visited a favourite place, you get the same sense of wonder that you get on your first visit.

Surrounded by some lovely wooded countryside, Appletreewick is overlooked by Simon's Seat, part of an extensive hillside but with a distinctive rocky summit.

Appletreewick, Wharfedale
The two pubs in the village, the New Inn and the Craven Arms, are both firm favourites, and it is a great that 2 such pubs should co-exist within such a small area. Both offer a good choice of local ales, and decent food with locally-sourced ingredients. 

I headed off up the riverside path towards Burnsall. Now this is a lovely village with its striking bridge,tearooms and obligatory gallery but as is the case with many such places it gets overrun at weekends when it is definitely a place to avoid. On a midweek day though, out of season, it is worth a potter around. The village is also home to the Red Lion, beside the bridge; the last time I had visited it had been eye-wateringly expensive just for a cup of coffee. It has a position of dominance and unfortunately the customer pays for it.

I re-traced my steps back along the riverside path rather than following the road. It is a pleasant walk on a pretty solid surface, passing through a couple of farms before the return to Appletreewick brings you first to the Craven Arms.

The Craven Arms, Appletreewick
This is a great village pub with a good choice of local beers. I opted for the Dark Horse Pale(£3.20/pint) and sat out in the sunshine to enjoy it, just below a bike which I assume had been placed there to mark the visit earlier in the year of the Tour De France. 

I remember a few years ago visiting the Craven Arms and recognising the girl behind the bar. " Excuse me", I said "are you Vicky?" " Yes", she replied, as she seemed to recognise me. " We used to work together, I sacked you!" It was the person I had unfortunately had to let go from where we used to work for persistent bad timekeeping. Ooops! No problem, obviously better-suited to working at the Craven Arms, despite the circumstances of our last meeting she nonetheless made us very welcome and gave us a tour of the then newly-opened Cruck Barn at the back of the pub, the first one built in Wharfedale for over a hundred years.

Finishing my pint, I wandered the few hundred yards on the lane to the New Inn, the village's other hostelry. This pub first hit the headlines when its legendary landlord John Showers declared it a no-smoking pub, many years before the law was introduced for every pub in the land. Run subsequently by the mountain-bike loving John Pitchers and his family for many years, it was, and still appears to be, the home of the Appletreewick Dangerous Sports Club - motto " Who dies with the most toys wins". 

The New Inn, Appletreewick
Of the village's 2 pubs, the New Inn is the more down-to-earth. There was a choice of 4 beers here, and along with the food, they also have a number of rooms available for those who wish to stay a little longer. I selected a pint of Goose Eye Chinook(£3/pint), which I enjoyed in the sunshine overlooking the fantastic countryside. A great conclusion to a lovely afternoon in one of my favourite areas....

Looking towards Simon's Seat from Appletreewick


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Calder Valley Ale Trail - UPDATE June 2022

T he definitive guide to the pubs and bars that line the railways in the towns and villages of the beautiful Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. After a break in updates with all the disruption of lockdowns over the  last couple of years, here's the latest, updated version.... The original Rail Ale Trail heads through the Pennines from Dewsbury through Huddersfield to Stalybridge, or vice versa, depending on your standpoint. Made famous by Oz Clarke and James May on a TV drinking trip around Britain several years ago, it reached saturation point on weekends to such an extent that lager and shorts were banned by some pubs and plastic glasses introduced to the hordes of stag dos, hen parties, and fancy-dressed revellers that invaded the trans-Pennine towns and villages. There are some great pubs en route but you ventured to them on a summer Saturday at your peril. However, only a few miles away to the north, there is another trail possible which takes in some great pubs and travels thr

No More Crows The Rooster....

Another much-loved pub which has played a big part in so many people's lives over the years has recently closed its doors.... News broke the other week that The Red Rooster, at Brookfoot, near Brighouse, was to close at the beginning of March. With the rent being increased by an incredible £935 a week , landlord Eddie Geater decided that it was simply not viable to keep the popular free house open. And it is sad news, as the Rooster has been at the forefront of the area's pubs for most of the last 30-odd years. And it is a big deal. Before it opened as the Rooster there were hardly any free houses in the area as we know them today where there was a truly wide and unrestricted choice of beers. Prior to being the Rooster, the pub had been a Webster's tied house, The Wharf, which had been built in the early 20th century to cater for workers from the nearby wharf from where local coal was transported via the canal network. And to this day, three former wharfmen's cot

The Town That Thinks It's A Village....

My time has been a bit limited recently for venturing too far afield, so last weekend I made the short journey to Elland to check out a few of the town's pubs and bars. Here's what I found.... Elland is a small market town in West Yorkshire, located between Halifax and Huddersfield beside the River Calder. It goes back a bit, being recorded as Elant in the Domesday Book of 1086, and over the centuries the town grew as a result of the woollen industry, with the town becoming home to several large mills. The coming of the Aire and Calder Navigation and the railways further helped the growth of the town. The subsequent decline of the woollen industry in the town meant that there were a number of empty mills left standing, and those that didn't burn down were put to other use, such as the home of Gannex, the now-defunct textile company whose raincoats were worn by the rich and famous, including former Prime Minister Harold Wilson. More recently, several mills have been converte