Sedbergh is one of the Yorkshire Dales’ most popular destinations and has been called ‘England’s Book Town’ because of the number of book stores and publishing companies it is home to.
Despite having a population of less than 3,000 people, Sedbergh has five book shops where you can pick up new and used novels to keep you occupied on your travels as well as guides to local attractions.
Along with the family-run eateries and convenience stores which line the town’s narrow streets, these shops add to the oldie worldy vibe that you will get when paying Sedbergh a visit.
The town is also on the Lakes and Dales Bookshop Trail, which aims to take in every of one of the shops selling classic literature between Penrith in northern Cumbria and Todmorden in West Yorkshire.
Other than old books, Sedbergh is best known for its boarding school. The Sedbergh School was founded in 1525 and its alumni is nothing short of impressive with many military officials, politicians and explorers listed.
However, it is best known for sport with string of top class rugby union players being former pupils. Indeed, three Old Sedberghians have captained the English national team with Will Carling being the most recent.
For almost five centuries the school was only open to boys, but has been offering places to girls since 2001.
The town is dwarfed by the Howgill Fells to the north, which were amongst the legendary hiker and author Alfred Wainwright’s favourite hills.
They cover the triangle between Sedbergh, Tebay and Kirkby Stephen in the north-western corner of the Dales and were formed from Silurian and Ordovician rocks, which makes them different from the limestone fells found across the National Park.
The highest point of the fells is called ‘The Calf’ and has an elevation of 676 metres. There are a number of well-maintained paths leading up the fell from Sedbergh and the view is well worth the exertion as you receive a fantastic panorama, with the Three Peaks visible to the south and the highest hills of the Lake District to the west.
Sedbergh is also on the route of the Dales Way, a 78 mile hiking route that runs from Ilkley in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire to Bowness-on-Windermere.
A local landmark is Castlehaw. Today it looks like a grassy hill, but if you look closely you can see the foundations of a very well defined motte and bailey castle that was constructed to repel invaders from north of the border during the Middle Ages.
Another historic place is Ingmire Hall. Located two miles to the west of Sedbergh, it is a grade II listed country house from the 16th century and is popular sight despite it being privately owned and not being open to the public. Its gardens and classic architecture can still be enjoyed as public footpath runs alongside its driveway.
If you like arts and crafts then pay a visit to Farfield Mill. Once one of Sedbergh’s main industrial sites, the mill was restored and opened as a heritage centre in April 2001 and features a variety of displays over four floors.
The exhibitions change regularly and include paintings as well as three dimensional displays that represent the area and its history. There is also a delightful café and a book store.
One of the main advantages of staying in Sedbergh is you get to see the unmissable beauty of the Yorkshire Dales but you are also on the doorstep of the Lake District, with the nation’s largest body of water, Lake Windermere, being less than 25 miles to the east.
You’ll probably need a car to get there, though, as Sedbergh does not have its own train station. The nearest station with services running to Windermere can be found at Oxenholme, which is around ten miles away from the town.
Alternatively, it possible to get a service from Dent but as the station is on a different line it means changing services at least twice and the journey can be quite time-consuming.