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Locale pubs handy for preserved steam railways - Spring 2010

In this instalment of LocAle Spotlight we look at two traditional village pubs. One is in the heart of Brontë Country and the other at the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Both are ideally located near preserved steam railways.

The Golden Fleece, Oakworth

High up on the south-facing side of the Worth Valley sits the village of Oakworth. Starting life as a cluster of settlements along the ancient road between Colne and Bradford, Oakworth was mentioned in the Doomsday Survey and evolved into a medium-sized village during the industrial revolution. The creator of the world’s largest wool combing business, philanthropist and inventor Sir Isaac Holden, lived here during the heyday of the local textile industry. In 1862 local mill owners built a railway along the Worth Valley from Keighley to Oxenhope. Oakworth station lies at the southern end of the village on the 5 mile stretch which fell victim to drastic cuts on the national railway system in 1962. Locals formed a preservation society, purchased the line from BR and reopened it as the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in 1968. In 1970 The Railway Children was filmed in and around the Worth Valley ensuring long lasting fame for Oakworth station.

Situated at the north edge of Oakworth is the Golden Fleece, a pleasant white-washed stone inn. Quite an old inn, the Fleece as it was once known, is not a "listed" building but was mentioned as a "notable building" in the 1837 Trade Gazetteer. Nowadays it is a friendly and comfortably traditional establishment run by Tony & Denise Holmes. The interior is spacious with a choice of public or lounge bar as well as a separate dining area. All are welcome in a hostelry which caters for locals with quiz nights and live entertainment as well as televised sporting events in the main bar area. The local beers on offer are Timothy Taylor Golden Best and Black Sheep Bitter. Home cooked food is available and special events can be catered for. There is a good sized beer garden and car park. The pub is easily reached by public transport with Keighley & District Bus 717 running daily. You could also travel on the KWVR, disembark at the famous Oakworth station and walk the half mile up to the pub. It’s well worth the ride out from Keighley town centre or the walk up the hill to visit this welcoming traditional pub. Open throughout the day.

The Golden Fleece 126-128 Lane Ends, Oakworth BD22 7PR Tel: 01535 645930

The Elm Tree, Embsay

NOTE FROM JANUARY 2013: Although local beers are still often available as guest beers, there is no guarantee that one is always on tap, so the pub has been removed from the LocAle list.

Situated squarely on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park is the pretty village of Embsay. Located only 2 miles from Skipton, many walkers find Embsay a good starting point for visiting the local natural sites including Barden Moor and Embsay Crag. Embsay railway station was built in 1888 and although the four mile stretch of the former Ilkley to Skipton line was lost to the Beeching axe in 1965 it is now the terminus for the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. The line draws visitors for its special events including its Days Out with Thomas the Tank and now extends to within a mile and a half of the beautiful ruins of the 18th Century Priory, Bolton Abbey.

At the north end of the village you’ll find the main square and the Elm Tree Inn which was named after a large elm which stood there from 1867. The original tree has been replaced twice in recent years due to Dutch elm disease. The pub is made of sturdy Yorkshire stone and was originally a coaching inn with the worn mounting steps still in evidence. The pub has an airy open plan interior with oak beams and subtly separated eating and drinking areas. A cheery welcome awaits you in this well-supported village pub. There is accommodation available and home-cooked food is served lunchtimes and evenings. A well-run comfortable hostelry, once you’re there, you’ll want to stay for a while. Pennine bus 214 runs Mon-Sat during the day and Cravenlink 883/4 runs on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Opening hours: Mon - Fri 11.30 - 3.00 & 5.30 - 11.00, Sat 11.30 - 11.00 and Sun 12.00 - 10.30.

The Elm Tree, Embsay, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 6RB 01756 790717

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