OS grid reference:- NZ 868 069
Sleights is a large and pretty village located on the edge of the beautiful North York Moors National Park. It is situated in the stuning Esk Valley and lies along the A169 road which runs north to south between the towns of Whitby and Pickering.
Sleights is pronounced to rhyme with 'heights'. In common with many other place names in Yorkshire, Sleights is of Old Norse origin, deriving from sletta, which means 'flat land'.
The village occupies a steep incline, known as Blue Bank, with a 1 in 4 (25%) gradient at the end of the village. The river at Sleights is broader and more easier flowing than further up in the dale. The bridge spanning the Esk is a magnificent stone and steel structure that spans not only the river, but also the Railway Station.
Sleights has a post office, a general store, a bakery , butchers and tea rooms. An antique shop, the Netherdene hotel and Eskdale fisheries are also situated on the main road, with the Plough Inn public house at the end of the village.
The Plough is a typical English country pub which offers a British menu sourced from local ingredients and accommodation. There is a sports field which is well-maintained and is popular for games of cricket.
At the bottom of the village, the road crosses the Esk Valley Railway, allowing access to Sleights railway station (pictured below left). The Esk Valley Railway runs from Middlesbrough to the seaside resort of Whitby.
The village has three churches, St John's Church of England Church, dedicated to St John the Evangelist, English Martyrs Roman Catholic Church, on Eskdaleside and, at the bottom of the village, the Briggswath and Sleights Methodist Chapel.
The village has a 'salmon leap', a small weir that enables the salmon, between October and December, to swim upriver to their spawning grounds. The Salmon Leap Hotel, is a popular pub house with a beer garden, it offers good food and bed and breakfast accommodation. The Esk is the only salmon river in the county of Yorkshire.
The Esk Valley Walk, a 35-mile long waymarked trail oasses through Sleights. The trail leads from the source of the River Esk and continues to the estuary where it joins the sea at Whitby harbour. A moorland-to-coast walk, it also leads through a beautiful steep wooded gorge.
Sleights was the home of the infamous 'Flint Jack', whose real name was Edward Simpson. In 1867 he was sent to prison for hawking fake fossils , coins, roman artefacts, flints and other antiquities to museums, archeologists and geologists.
The Horticultural & Industrial Society show has been held each year since 1880. Since 2006 the show has been held on the sports field, with classes for produce, fruit, flowers vegetables, crafts, cake decorating, photography,flower arranging etc. Additional attractions include a bouncy castle, face painting, tombola and a fun dog show.
Every August the custom of crowning a local girl as the 'Rose Queen' occurs, she is then floated down the river on a raft.