OS grid reference:- SD 931 541
The large and characterful village of Gargrave is situated in the Craven district of North Yorkshire and lies 4 miles (6 km) to north-west of the town of Skipton, and just outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
A popular destination with hikers and cyclists, the Pennine Way, the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal all pass through the village.
The river is crossed by two sets of stepping stones in the village, one from the main A65 across to the High Green and one from the end of the Middle Green to the Low Green. The stepping stones are not always usable depending on the depth of water, they can also be slippery in wet or frosty conditions.
The Leeds-Liverpool canal has a towpath which makes for a pleasant walk while Pennine Boat trips are available on the canal.
The village church is dedicated to St Andrew, a Grade II listed building, it was constructed in 1852 but the tower is of earlier date. There has been a church at Gargrave for at least 500 years. Most of the windows, including the clerestory which was restored in 2004, are stained glass. The church has six fine quality windows by the renowned Capronnier of Brussels.
Backing on to church lane there is a small building which has an interesting sundial on the wall facing the church. It bears the inscription Every Hour Shortens Life.
St Robert of Gargrave, later canonised as St Robert of Newminster, was born in the village in around 1100 and was an early rector of its church. Described as a devout, prayerful, and gentle man, he is known for being merciful in his judgment of others and a warm and considerate companion. Robert was the son of the priest in Gargrave, was educated in Paris and returned to be priest in Gargrave before joining the monks of Whitby, and later Newminster. About 1147, Robert of Gargrave sent out three colonies of monks from Newminster, near Morpeth, to found other Abbeys, one of which was to be at Sawley, near Clitheroe, on the River Ribble on land provided by William Percy.
The Romans built a villa in flat meadowland At Kirk Sink, near the River Aire in the second century . It was excavated in 1968-1974 by Brian Hartley. Its central room had a seven metre square mosaic floor and a bath house stood beside it. From then on excavations revealed the site possessed an extensive quantity of mosaic and tessellated flooring of various designs and styles. Gargrave House was built in 1917 by the distinguished Scottish architect, James Dunn.
There is public access to the river on its route through the village from five village greens and there are many attractive walks around Gargrave. With its pubs, shops, cafes, tourist accommodation, picturesque byways, the village is well worth a visit and makes a good centre for touring the Yorkshire Dales.
The Mason's Arms is situated in the centre of Gargrave, near to the river, the pub serves good home made food and offers en-suite accommodation. The Anchor Inn on Hellifield Road stands close to the Leeds Liverpool Canal and also serves good quality meals. The Old Swan Inn, a coaching inn dating back to the sixteenth century, also offers meals and accommodation. The picturesque Dalesman Cafe and Tearooms on High Street offers good food, roaring fire and friendly service. The tea rooms also contain a sweets emporium and antique/curiosity shop.
Nearby Skipton Castle, seat of the Clifford family until 1676, is one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England, and was constructed in 1090 while Thornton Hall Farm Country Park offers superb countryside and a chance to take part in a range of seasonal hands-on activities and demonstrations.