Swaledale - we have a lot to shout about
Swaledale is one of the most northern dales in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and is the home to a number of national brands; Alt-berg Bootmakers, Slacks Shoemakers, Slacks Cycling, the Yorkshire Dales Distillery, Swaledale Wollens, Swaledale Cheese and of course Amanda Owens the Yorkshire Shepardess!
Only 10 miles from The Laurels Reeth, is the 17th century world famous Tan Hill Inn - the highest pub in Great Britain at 1,732 feet (528m) above sea level.
Swaledale is steeped with history and boasts prehistoric traces of inhabitants back to about 43AD but it was during the 17th/18th century when the area was very stable and prosperous thanks to the lead mining industry.
Men and boys were employed not just as miners but as smelters, stonemasons, blacksmiths, carters and farriers. Women and girls worked preparing the lead for smelting. Many and varied shops supported the needs of this vibrant community as did the many ale house and we are proud that the three ales houses that served the community back then continue to serve our community and its many visitors.
Lead mining finished in 1914 and the Swaledale economy returned to agriculture which was less labour intensive. In 1821 the population peaked at 8,279 but the last census conducted in 2011 showed 2,230 in Swaledale. How does such a small rural area survive such a substanial decline?
We shout about what we have! Swaledale and Arkengarthdale has 2,472 gates, stiles, bridges and signposts sitting on 286 miles (460km) of public rights of way (footpaths and bridleways) crisscrossing the unqiue landscape of our Dale and we welcome anyone to use them.
Although Swaledale does not have any hill big enough to call a mountain (UK government's definition of a mountain, for the purposes of access, is a summit of 600 metres above sea level or higher) we do have some pretty big hills, amazing scenery and challenging terrain which is perfect for walking, trail running and mountain biking.