According to the first census of 1801, the villagers were chiefly employed in the agriculture and manufacturing. While few mills remain, farming is still vital to the economy.
Overlooking the village is Burnsall Fell which claims to be the home of the oldest fell race in England. It is held every August.
Also close by is Trollers Gill, a limestone gorge that locals once believed to be occupied by a tribe for vicious trolls who would push boulders onto the heads of anyone who dared to walk through the ravine.
More chilling that that is the local folktale of a wolf-like beast living in the cave at the end of the ravine. Legend has it that any walker who met the animals staring eyes would meet their certain death. Some people believe that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired by this tale prior to him writing The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Burnsall is on both the Dales Way, an 85 mile hiking route connecting Ilkley and Bowness-on-Windermere, and the Way of the Roses, a cycling course which opened in 2010 and goes coast to coast from Morecambe in Lancashire to Bridlington in East Yorkshire.
Just downstream from the village are the historic ruins of Barden Tower and Bolton Abbey.
Barden Tower was originally a hunting lodge, but extensive building turned it into a miniature castle. Its history can be traced back to the early 14thcentury, but it was during the 15th and 16th centuries that it grew to be a structure of significance.
It was owned by Sir Henry Clifford and was confiscated by the Yorkists during the War of the Roses. When Henry VII became king, the land was given back to its rightful owner and remained a possession of Clifford’s ancestors for hundreds of years.
Today it belongs to the Duke of Devonshire, but it has not been lived in since Lady Anne Clifford died in 1676. It has been in ruins since the 18thcentury.
Bolton Abbey is a former monastery was left to erode following the Dissolution of Monasteries during the rules of Henry VIII.
There is a variety of accommodation types to choose from in and around Burnsall, including guest houses, bunk barns and hotels. There are also many great places to eat and drink.