Austwick is a charming village in Ribblesdale. Situated just five miles north-west of Settle, it is typical of the area with cottages built from stone taken from local quarries and has several delightful public spaces.
Around a quarter of Austwick’s area is uncut moorland, making it a popular base for walkers and twitchers. Many birds, including the Spotted Flycatcher, occupy these moors and the trees surrounding the village. It is also home to the Yorkshire Dales Falconry Centre, which gives visitors a close up view of many splendid birds of prey.
The land around the village has been lived on for more than four millennia and evidence of large settlements from the Bronze and Iron Ages has been found in recent decades. Even many of the buildings that stand today are of historical interest, with some dating back to the 16th century.
The village is one of the few left that also still has a lord of the manor. The Farrar family have owned the Lordship since 1782, with Dr John Farrar being the most recent holder of the title.
If you spend more than a few days in Austwick you may hear a few local folktales and ghost stories. Once such legend tells of a local man who fell into a deep pool on the moor, but rather than struggle to get out he mainly said “T’ b-best at t’ b-bottom” and sank. This prompted his companions to jump in as well and none of them were ever seen again.
For more than three decades the village has held the annual Austwick Cuckoo Festival and Street Market. Taking place around the time of the second May Bank Holiday, the day involves a number of events including fell races. There is also a coconut shy with prizes sponsored by local businesses and performances from jazz bands. All money raised goes to Austwick Parish Church.
After such a fun day, visitors can explore the stunning geological sites close to the village. The Norber Erratics in particular are a sight to behold. This collection of sandstone boulders was transported to the hillside above Austwick by glacier from cliffs further north during the last ice age and they really are a picture with some resting on carboniferous limestone.
Austwick is also a good base for those wanting to explore Simon Fell or the somewhat more challenging Three Peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent.
If you like to sit back and see stunning scenery then a trip on the Settle to Carlisle line is a must. The route has been named as one of the most scenic in the country and trains can easily be boarded at the Settle station. Services to Morecambe and Lancaster are also available from nearby Giggleswick and Clapham.
With easy accessibility along the A65, an abundance of natural beauty spots and a wide selection of guest houses to choose from, why not pay Austwick a visit this weekend?