The Wensleydale village of Aysgarth is made up of two parts. The larger half runs along the main A684, while the other part is based around the beautiful 19th century St Andrews Parish Church.
The church itself is well worth a visit as it is home to a stunning rood screen that was saved from Jervaulx Abbey following its ransacking by Henry VII’s men in 1537. Like the stalls that stand beside it, it was hand calved by renowned workmen in Ripon and is covered with stars and striking patterns.
Something else that is unique about the church is the fact that its graveyard covers a mammoth four acres.
Just outside the village on the road to Carperby is Aysgarth Falls. This is one of Wensleydale‘s best loved attractions and is set out over one mile with three waterfalls, each of which were featured in the BBC Two series Seven Natural Wonders, a show about the most awe-inspiring locations in the north.
The Upper Falls are the most eye-catching. While they may not be rival Niagara or Angle Falls, they are made up of numerous short drops and featured in a key scene in the Kevin Costner blockbuster Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
The falls are situated on private land so an honesty box is in place to take very reasonable admission fees. There is also a visitor centre close by which is stocked with guides and maps on local walks so you can plan your visit more effectively.
Nearby by there is also a wooded valley which boasts wild flowers in the spring and summer as well as many birds.
Aysgarth village itself is small, with less than 200 inhabitants. Despite this it has a wide range of amenities including a privately-owned petrol station, a bike hire shop, two public houses and tearooms.
There is no longer a train station, but like with many places in the area The Wensleydale Railway Association has spoken openly about its desire to reopen the old station as part of its heritage line. At present the station is a holiday cottage.
A key attraction close to Aysgarth is Bolton Castle, located four miles to the north. The 14th century building is still owned by the Scrope family and is rich in history. Constructed between 1378 and 1399 by the First Baron Scrope of Bolton, the castle’s main claim to fame is the fact that is one of the places where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned after she had left her homeland. A couple of hundred years later, the castle was attacked during the English Civil War and the damage caused can still be seen today.