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Fred Baker presents the Pub of the Season Summer 2017 plaque to the staff at the Boat House, Skipton, July 2017Fred Baker presents the Pub of the Season Summer 2017 plaque to the staff at the Boat House, Skipton, July 2017

Pub sign, the Buck Inn, BuckdenA Yorkshire Dales Pub Crawl

Rather than describe a pub crawl in detail, this article lists the pubs along with some information about them which should help you plan your own crawl.

The listing starts at the southern end of Upper Wharfedale and works northwards (about 40 kilometres or 25 miles - see bus information below). All the pubs, except for some of those in Addingham, serve food at lunchtime and in the evening and most are open all day. Variations from this are given in the text.

(NOTE: Any opinions reflected in this article are those of the author. Any information relating to beer range and opening times of the pubs listed is, as far as the author is aware, correct. The pub information was partially updated in January 2016. Neither the author, nor Keighley and Craven CAMRA accept any liability for errors or inaccuracies.)

For more details on any pub described here, check out CAMRA‘s national on-line pub guide, WhatPub. The links on individual pubs are to their entries on WhatPub, where (in most cases) you will find links to the pubs‘ own web-sites.

Click a link to take you there.

Main bar, the Crown, AddinghamIntroduction and Bus information

Upper Wharfedale stretches from the watershed above Buckden in North Yorkshire down to Addingham in West Yorkshire and holds some of the best limestone scenery in the Yorkshire Dales. It also holds some fine “watering holes'”, difficult to reach without drinking and driving.

Pride of the Dales run a fairly regular Monday to Saturday service from Skipton to Grassington and Hebden (72), which connects with a limited service (72B) run by Upper Wharfedale Community Bus continuing on to Buckden. Sadly, the Ilkley to Grassington bus (74) now only runs four days a week, with a limited service. and, whilst it will still get you to most pubs on its route for lunch and back again at tea-time, it no longer visits Appletreewick, meaning from there you need to walk to Burnsall to get back on the main bus route. (A NYCC operated minibus (75) serves Appletreewick, from Grassington and Burnsall only and the last bus is rather early!) Using these buses it is possible to explore many of the fine pubs in the dale in the week and on Saturday. A day rover ticket covering all Pride of the Dales services can be purchased from the driver. Through tickets on the 72 and 72B are available, but they are not cheap.

There are also buses on Sundays and Bank Holidays from Wakefield, Leeds and Ilkley to Grassington and Buckden (DalesBus 874/875) with a connection (857) on to Wensleydale, and from Burnley, Colne and Skipton to Grassington (extension of the Witch Way X43 service).

There is also a demand-responsive service “The Wharfedale Packhorse”, operated by Grassington Community Transport on a Saturday evening, which runs up and down the Dale in both directions from Grassington. Note, this service only runs fortnightly between October and Easter and does not run in the depths of winter.

Full timetable information on all bus services in the Yorkshire Dales can be obtained via the DalesBus website. Pride of the Dales can be contacted on 01756 753123.

The Fleece, AddinghamAddingham

Addingham has 5 pubs, all serving real ale, all can be found on the main street. At one end of the village is the Craven Heifer , at the other is the Fleece, sadly closed at the moment following a serious fire at the pub. The first and last are highly food-oriented. More down to earth are the Swan, a regular entry in CAMRA‘s Good Beer Guide and the Crown, now an enterprising free house, having been bought out of pub company tie in 2013. Both pubs have lots of small, separate rooms/drinking areas and feature live music at weekends (some Fridays in the Crown and every Saturday in the Swan). The Crown is listed on CAMRA‘s regional inventory of pubs with important historical features. The Sailor, half-way down the main street re-opened in summer 2014. Addingham also has a chippy. While the Fleece is being mended, Addingham Social Club across the road offers a welcome, if rather different, alternative and does sell real-ale.

Bolton Abbey

At the Devonshire Arms Hotel you will find real ale in the public bar. The style is not to the author‘s tastes and the beer is on the pricey side - the name, “the Devonshire Arms Brasserie and Bar” gives you some idea of what to expect. The nearby Abbey is well worth a visit and Strid Woods are an excellent place for a walk, especially if you appreciate wildlife. The Devonshire Arms is on bus route 74 (Monday to Saturday) and bus route 874 (Sunday).

Sign outside the Craven Arms, AppletreewickAppletreewick

Appletreewick is well worth visiting and can be reached from Barden Tower (over 3 km) or Burnsall (about 2.5 km) by walking the Dalesway, which follows the river bank. The 74 bus does go through the village Monday to Saturday but the last bus in each direction is so early, you barely have time for a lunchtime pint. (A shorter route from/to the main road is by footpath using the stepping stones at Drebley, crossable only by very brave people when the river is very low. You need to leap (both feet off the ground) between stones at the Drebley end!) The New Inn changed hands in Spring 2014 and currently offers Goose Eye Chinook, Black Sheep Best Bitter, Theakston Old Peculier and a guest. It serves full meals at lunch time and in the evening with hearty snacks in between. The New Inn also sells a range of bottled foreign beers. The family-owned Craven Arms has stone-flagged floors and lots of cosy corners, with log fires burning in traditional ranges. Food is served all day at weekends and in summer. The cruck barn, built using traditional methods, at the rear is worth investigating if it is not in use for a function. The Craven sells a good range of cask ales including three from local hero, Dark Horse (their Night Jar is a rare beer and difficult to find, but always on offer here), and Old Peculier from wooden casks, stillaged behind the bar. The OP is not cheap - to get it in wood, the owner of the pub has to drive to Masham to fetch it! The menu here often lists locally source game in autumn and winter. The Craven was voted Keighley and Craven CAMRA Pub of the Season for Winter 2011/12. The Craven hosts a beer festival in mid-October.

The Red Lion, BurnsallBurnsall

Burnsall is on the bus route and has two real ale outlets. The Devonshire Fell Hotel and Bistro is up the hill back towards Bolton Abbey, the Red Lion is adjacent to the bridge. The Devonshire Fell is mainly food-oriented but offers up to three beers from the Copper Dragon range. The stone-flagged Red Lion, next to the bridge, also focuses on food (served both in the bar and the separate dining room) but does serve a good range of cask beers: 2 from Copper Dragon, 2 from Taylors and at least one guest beer, often Ilkley Mary Jane or Wharfedale Blonde. The Red Lion has extensive outdoor seating, some at the front of the pub and some to the rear.

The Clarendon, HebdenHebden

Hebden is a 2.5km walk along the river from Burnsall. It is also the terminus of some services on the Mondays to Saturdays 72 bus route. The Clarendon Hotel is a free house selling Taylors Best Bitter, Tetley Bitter and a couple of guest beers. The village shop is next door and run by the owners of the pub, so if you need anything from the shop and it is closed when the pub is open, ask in the pub and, if they are not busy, they may sort it out for you. The Clarendon may close between 3 and 5.30 on weekdays, if wishing to call in during this period, ring ahead to check. To get to the Clarendon from the river footpath, walk up into the village from the suspension bridge and turn left when you reach the main Grassington to Pateley Bridge road. Anyone interested in industrial archaeology might like to visit the old lead workings approximately 3 km up Hebden Beck from the pub. A 3 km stroll along the main river (upstream) will take you to the next cluster of pubs in Linton, Threshfield and Grassington.

Linton

Linton is a very picturesque village with a large green cut in half by a babbling brook, spanned by an ancient stone bridge. The Fountaine Inn looks onto the green and serves cask ales. The range does vary but typical would be John Smith's Bitter, Black Sheep Best Bitter and Tetley Bitter plus a guest beer or two. Most buses on the 72 route (Monday to Saturday) go through the village. The 74/874 pass the road-end about 200 yards from the village. Threshfield (1 km) and Grassington (1.5 km) are also within easy walking distance by footpath. The Fountaine usually serves food all day, all year.

The Foresters Arms, GrassingtonGrassington

Grassington is the place to head for in the afternoon if you are exploring the lower part of the area. As well as being an attractive town with a cobbled square, it boasts 4 pubs and several cafés. The Grassington House Hotel and the Devonshire Hotel are on the Square. The Black Horse is up Garrs Lane about 20 metres from the square, whilst the Foresters Arms is tucked away about 100 metres up the Main Street. The Foresters usually offers Black Sheep Best Bitter, Tetley Bitter and Mild (a rare outlet for this beer these days), both Taylors Best Bitter and Landlord plus at least one guest beer. Black Sheep Riggwelter is often available - this is the only regular outlet for this beer in the branch area. The Grassington House usually has Tetley Bitter, Thwaites Original and Dark Horse Hetton Pale, the Devonshire is now a Timothy Taylor tied house offering the full Taylors range plus one guest, whilst the Black Horse usually offers a house beer, branded as Hardy and Hanson (so brewed by Greene King), plus two or three others. All buses stop at the National Park Visitor Centre which is a short walk from the Square, the 72/74 also pick up and drop off in the Square on certain services. If you are in Grassington for the festival, look out for Festivale, brewed especially for the event by nearby Dark Horse and usually available at festival venues.

The Old Hall, ThreshfieldThreshfield

Threshfield is a pleasant village astride the main road up the valley from Skipton. The Old Hall sells Timothy Taylor Landlord, Theakston Best Bitter and sometimes has John Smiths Cask, Tetley Bitter and perhaps Courage Directors. On Sunday the X43 from Burnley and Skipton will drop you at the door, the other buses do not pass the Old Hall but the stop is about 2 minutes walk from it.

Long Ashes

The Gamekeeper‘s Inn on the extensive Long Ashes Caravan Site has a pleasant bar and is open to the public, selling mainly Thwaites beers plus an occasional guest beer.

Kilnsey

The Tennant Arms Hotel is located just along the road from the spectacular Kilnsey Crag. The emphasis is on food. Cask beers such as Tetley Bitter, Taylors Landlord and Boltmaker are usually available and Otter Bitter from far-flung Devon sometimes makes an appearance. Buses stop at the door.

The Blue Bell, KettlewellKettlewell

Kettlewell is the largest settlement at the head of the valley, although sadly the majority of the properties are either holiday cottages or second homes. Midweek in winter this can make it feel a bit of a ghost town, but in the summer months and at weekends it is usually bustling, especially during the scarecrow festival. Here you have a choice of three pubs. The Kings Head re-opened in Spring 2014 after a long closure and has been completely refurbished. Beers available are Black Sheep Best Bitter, Tetley Bitter and Dark Horse Hetton. The Blue Bell serves up three beers from Copper Dragon plus up to three guest beers, whilst the Racehorses serves Timothy Taylor Golden Best, Best Bitter and Landlord plus an occasional guest beer. The Blue Bell serves food all day on Sundays, even in winter. All buses stop outside the Racehorses/Blue Bell. The 72R goes round the village, the 874 stays on the main road

The Fox and Hounds, StarbottonStarbotton

Starbotton is a pretty village approximately 3 km from Kettlewell. The bus stops outside the Fox and Hounds, which has Timothy Taylors Landlord plus one or two guest beers, often one from Yorkshire Dales Brewery. The food is always of a high standard. The Fox and Hounds closes at 2.30 and re-opens in the evening at 6. There are two footpaths between Kettlewell and Starbotton, one along the west side the river, the other one through the fields on the east side of the road - this path has many stiles to climb. These combine to make an excellent circular walk. The 3 km walk on to Buckden is also highly recommended. (It is on the west side of the river: go back towards Kettlewell to find the start of it.)

The Buck Inn, BuckdenBuckden

In the hamlet of Buckden the Buck Inn re-opened in June 2012. Revitalised by Michelle and Kevin Edwards, the Buck is comfortable, warm and welcoming and sells beers from Theakstons plus guests from further afield. Up to eight cask beers can be available at weekends, even in winter. Opening hours are 12-3, 6-10.30 Monday to Thursday and 12-11 Friday, Saturday and Sunday (open all day every day in the summer school holidays) with food available 12-2.30 and 6-8.30 during the week and 12-6 on Sunday. The bedrooms were completely re-furbished alongside the rest of the pub in 2012.

Hubberholme

The George Inn, HubberholmeFrom Buckden it is a 2 km walk along the Hawes road or the river bank to the tiny hamlet of Hubberholme. Contrary to logic, in very wet weather, the river bank is the recommended route as the road floods and becomes impassable to walkers! The George is a cosy, stone-flagged pub, under new ownership from Spring 2013. It was supposedly one of J.B. Priestley's favourite watering holes. If open, the church is worth a quick look inside. In winter, the George opens from 6 on Mondays, is closed Tuesdays, is open lunchtime and evenings on Wednesday and Thursday, all day from 12 Friday and Saturday and from 12 until 5 on Sunday. It may stay open longer if busy and is open all day Wednesday to Sunday in summer. Three beers are usually available, often including a dark beer e.g. a mild, and often something from Yorkshire Dales brewery.

Cray

From Buckden it is also a 2 km walk uphill to the other tiny valley-head hamlet of Cray. Here you will find the White Lion. This free house is now owned by Dennis Peacok and it re-opened after being closed for 18 months on Christmas Eve 2015. The main bar area has been fully refurbished, with the bar top comprising a single piece of oak. It retains its former cosy feel.The side room is now a snug with settees and the letting accommodation has also been refurbished to a high standard. Black Sheep Best Bitter is served alongside two guest beers.

LocAles on the bar at the Queens Arms, LittonLittondale

Although inaccessible by public transport (without a substantial walk), the beautiful side valley of Littondale boasts two traditional Dales pubs. The Falcon in Arncliffe has barely changed in decades. New licensees arrived in 2014 and took the radical step of installing two handpumps and a second beer. The Taylors Boltmaker continues to be served straight from the cask via a jug (dispense via handpump is now also an option) whilst the second pump supplies a rotating guest beer. The interior is traditional and unspoilt and the pub is listed on CAMRA‘s regional inventory of historic pubs. The Falcon is closed between 3 and 7 on weekdays. The Queens Arms, another three miles up the valley, also retains a traditional two-room layout. New owners (in 2011) refurbished and brought the left-hand room back into use. Three beers are usually available, from Goose Eye, Black Sheep and Thwaites. The Queens closes from 3 to 6 on weekdays and is closed all day Monday. If you wish to eat at the Queens, it is advisable to book as space is very limited.

Birds eye primrose, Upper Wharfedale, spring 2014Other useful information

Many suggestions are given above for walks between pubs. As well as excellent scenery, Wharfedale has some interesting flora and fauna, especially in summer. Look out for nuthatches, redstarts, yellow wagtails, sand martins and spotted flycatchers on the wing and Bloody Cranesbill, Birds Eye Primrose (photo right), various orchids and many other interesting plants on the ground. Kingfishers and dippers can be seen on the river if you are lucky. In Winter the valley can be home to large flocks of thrushes (redwing and fieldfare) and buzzards are seen more regularly. Wading birds (lapwing, curlew, redshank, common sandpiper) nest in the area and Ring Ouzels can be found in some of the side valleys in summer. If you are very lucky and very observant you may spot a peregrine falcon.

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