Spotlight on Roadside Hostelries - Autumn 2019

This spotlight shines upon two classic roadside hostelries. One, a picturesque white-washed old coaching inn located in a pretty village at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The other, a 400-year-old stone building full of history and ghostly tales, nestled in a small village in the beautiful Worth Valley.


The Old Swan Inn, GargraveThe Old Swan Inn, Gargrave

Four miles north-west of Skipton lies the village of Gargrave, established since Roman times and today a thriving community. Lovely village greens, the Leeds to Liverpool Canal and the remains of 2nd and 4th century villas provide a feel of the long history that Gargrave has enjoyed. The famous canal was built between 1770 and 1816 and helped move goods from the mill towns of Yorkshire to the Merseyside docks for transport around the world. Gargrave also sits astride the River Aire and the Pennine Way National Trail making it an ideal location for those seeking outdoor pursuits. The origin of Gargrave as a name is somewhat shrouded in mystery but could be derived from Gar, possibly a person‘s name and Grave, a trench or pit, from ancient English and Scandinavian words.

In the heart of the village, at the corner where High and North streets meet, you will find the Old Swan Inn. This three-storied Grade II listed building still enjoys a multi-roomed layout. The single bar serves LocALe beers Theakston Best Bitter, Timothy Taylor‘s Boltmaker and Landlord and the pub is a Timothy Taylor‘s Champion Club stockist. The fourth handpump offers a changing guest beer.

The main bar area is traditional in style with photos of people and places from Gargrave‘s past. There‘s a restaurant, a couple of snugs and traditional games such as pool and darts are played. Locals have taken the Old Swan back into their fold since Lindsay Williamson and Tim Sharp took it on and made it a hub of the village again. There‘s always a warm welcome plus a roaring fire will greet you in the colder months. Families and dogs are most welcome, big sporting events are shown and the lovely beer garden attracts people from far and wide. Do check out the herb garden. Three letting rooms are available, there‘s a car park and free WIFI.

The Old Swan has become known for its home cooked, locally sourced food. Available daily, the specials board is full of popular choices. In a nice local touch, fresh eggs are available to buy, provided by the pub chickens! A friendly well-run pub in a lovely Yorkshire village, pay a visit soon.

The Old Swan, 20 High Street, Gargrave BD23 3RB, telephone 01756 749232. WhatPub: https://whatpub.com/pubs/SKI/GARG-1-OLDS

Bus services to Gargrave 580,581,582,75, 210 & 211. For more information visit: DalesBus.org website for times. Gargrave also has a rail station, visit: Northern Railway website for times.


Old Silent InnThe Old Silent Inn, Stanbury

Deep in the Worth Valley of West Yorkshire but only a short distance from the well-known village of Haworth lies Stanbury, literally meaning Stone Fort from old English. Historically part of the West Riding, it is comprised mainly of moors and farmland with well-known foot paths crossing through the village. The Pennine, Brontė and Millennium Ways attract walkers from around the world. Local highlights are the Brontė Waterfall and Top Withens, reputedly used as the location of Emily Brontė‘s novel Wuthering Heights. With less than 300 residents, Stanbury is small but a very friendly part of the world.

The Old Silent Inn is situated at the edge of the village, on the road leading to nearby Ponden reservoir. Originally called the Eagle, during the 19th century it became a popular stop for farmers and sportsmen during the grouse shooting season. Supposedly the inn gave shelter to Bonnie Prince Charlie who had to make a dashing escape when his pursuers discovered his location. For much of its history, the pub endured frequent opening and closing until 1965 when it re-opened under its current name, the Old Silent. Tales of ghostly apparitions are part of the pub&lsqo;s charm. Seemingly an old lady that used to feed wild cats that roamed the moors attracted them to the food by ringing a small bell. Local people and visitors to the pub have reportedly heard the gentle tinkling of a bell. A five-minute walk from the bus terminus at the top of the hill or there‘s a large car park for those driving to the pub.

The Old Silent has seen a new lease of life after being taken on by Jo Wilson who along with her husband Dave also ran the Old Sun in Haworth. A major refurbishment has been completed in both the kitchen and eight letting rooms and although much of the pub is used for dining, drinkers are made very welcome. The single bar offers LocAle beer Timothy Taylor Golden Best as well as two ever-changing guest beers.

Full of dark wood, oak beams, flagged floors and open fires, it is a building with considerable charm. Popular with diners, the food is locally sourced. Families and dogs are most welcome throughout the pub. The function room has recently been brought back into use and is available for weddings, parties and meetings. There are outside tables to the front and a beer garden at the back to enjoy the local views from. A pub enjoyed by visitors and locals alike, find time to drop in to see Jo and her friendly team.

The Old Silent Inn, Hob Lane, Stanbury, Haworth, West Yorkshire, BD22 0HW. Phone: 01535 647437. WhatPub: https://whatpub.com/pubs/SKI/STAN-1-OLDS

For information on bus service B1, K14 & K16 which link Stanbury to Keighley visit: Keighley Bus Company for times.

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