OS grid reference:- SD 868 897
The picturesque market town of Hawes, set amidst the stunning scenery of Wensleydale is one of the tourist magnets of the Yorkshire Dales. The name Hawes derives from the Old Norse word hals, which means "neck" or "pass between mountains", the town lies between Buttertubs and Fleet Moss.
One of England's highest towns, Hawes stands 850 feet above sea level. It was granted a market charter by King William III in 1699 and a lively market is still held there each Tuesday. There are a multitude of grey stone cottages, shops, pubs restaurants and tearooms along with grander buildings that once formed the backdrop for elements of the TV series 'All Creatures Great and Small'.
Hawes has no mention in the Domesday Book of 1086 and its first recorded mention occurs in the fifteenth century when a chapel of ease was built there. The village church of Church of Saint Margaret of Antioch is a Grade II listed building and dates to 1851.
Hawes is famous for the production of Wensleydale Cheese, using milk from local, Wensleydale cows. At the Wensleydale Creamery visitors can watch the cheese being made in the traditional way. The centre which was established by former workers of the original Hawes Dairy in 1992, adheres to traditional recipes following those first done by French monks in the twelfth century.
W R Outhwaite & Son, Ropemakers was established in Hawes in 1905 and manufactures barrier ropes, bannister ropes, pet accessories, dog leads, skipping ropes, clothes line and equestrian ropes. Recent expansion has seen the Ropeworks grow to over 10,000 square feet and it attracts thousands of visitors every year, who come to watch traditional ropemaking in progress.
Nearby Gayle Mill is a restored nineteenth century state-of-the-art sawmill, complete with Victorian machinery driven by water-powered turbines. The Grade II listed mill, dates from around 1784 and is thought to be the oldest structurally unaltered cotton mill in existence.
Hawes is a centre for walking and the Pennine Way passes through the village. Local tourist attractions include the Dales Countryside Museum, based in the old Hawes railway station of the Wensleydale Railway, the Buttertubs Pass which links Wensleydale to Swaledale and nearby Hardraw Force waterfall, which consists of a single drop of 100 feet and is said to be the highest unbroken waterfall in England. The falls were used as a location in the famous film 'Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves'.
Dales Countryside Museum
The Dales Countryside Museum (pictured left) covers the Yorkshire region's history and culture and is housed in a converted railway station at Hawes.
Operated by the National Park Authority, the museum's outdoor display includes a real steam train and carriages on the track bed of the former Wensleydale Railway. The focus is on the way of life of people who have settled in or passed through the Dales over thousands of years and has many interactive and hands-on exhibits . Galleries in the old station and converted goods sheds include the life of a lead-miner and the early days of steam.
The museum is designed to be fully accessible for wheelchair users and a wheelchair can be borrowed on site, it also doubles as the local tourist information centre. There is a shop and Research Area in the centre.