If the picturesque village of Arncliffe looks familiar then you are probably a fan of TV soaps. Located close to where the Cowside beck runs into River Skirfare, the village was the original setting of the much loved drama Emmerdale Farm.
Filming took place in Arncliffe from the show’s first episode in 1972 until production was moved to Esholt near Bradford four years later. While it is almost four decades since the TV crews rolled out, some tourists still visit for a refreshing drink at the pub that the Woolpack is modelled on.
That said, the area’s unspoilt landscape is a much bigger draw than any past association with soaps. Home to just 85 people, the village is like something on a postcard with its central green, stone built cottages and striking farmlands.
During the warmer months of the year, the green’s lush grass is sprinkled with buttercups and makes an excellent place for a picnic.
Arncliffe is the largest of four settlements in the Littondale valley and the cottages on its north-western side face out towards the beautiful limestone scars on the hills beyond the Little Wood. This unspoilt countryside provides a number of superb walks and cycling routes, but the more seasoned hikers and bikers will likely take the awe-inspiring paths towards Malham and Kilnsey.
A favourite pastime in the village is fly fishing. The River Skirfare has clear water and is filled with brown trout, but is regarded as one of the most challenging fishing areas in the whole of the Yorkshire Dales.
Arncliffe, which takes its name from the Norse for Eagles Cliff, does not have much in the way of amenities though. The aforementioned public house offers accommodation as well as home cooked foods and best bitters, but there is no shop or post office in the village. Extensive amenities can be found in Grassington seven miles away while there are larger stores and supermarkets in Skipton and Settle, around 14 and 15 miles to the south and north respectively.
Skipton is also where you will find the nearest the train station, with regular services running to Bradford and Leeds as well as early morning train to London Kings Cross.
One of Arncliffe’s most delightful sights is the Church of St. Oswald. This grade two listed building was constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries and likely replaced a wooden Saxon place of worship.
The church was regularly visited by the novelist, poet and Church of England priest Charles Kingsley during the Victorian era and it is widely believed that the village provided him with the inspiration for his famous 1873 children’s story The Water Babies.
Overall, Arncliffe is a delightful place to stop off if you want to relax in a scenic location, enjoy fly fishing or merely want to visit somewhere that has a connection with both television and literature.