Embsay is a sizable village close to the edge of Lower Wharfedale that is as popular with train enthusiasts as it is with walkers and cyclists who are keen to explore the southern Dales. That is because it is one of the main stops of the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, a heritage line that reopened in 1981 using the route that originally linked Ilkley with Skipton.
The station itself was opened in 1888 by Midland Railway and served commuters until it was closed as part of the Beeching cuts of 1965. In recent years it has been used as the station for the fictional town of Hotton in the ITV soap Emmerdale.
Situated just two miles north of the market town of Skipton, the village lies below Embsay moor which features a beautiful rock formation and Embsay reservoir, a popular spot for fishing that is also home to the Craven Sailing Club.
The village provides a perfect base to discovering the southern part of the Yorkshire Dales. One of the most popular hiking and cycling routes in area covers 9.6 miles and runs from the centre of the village and back. It cuts across the moors past Hut Crag and Upper Barden Reservoir before passing Cracoe War Memorial and heading south past Rylstone Cross and Embsay Reservoir.
A little further north is Linton which is home to Linton Falls, a limestone waterfall that includes a wooden observation bridge where you can stand and admire the river as it crashes off the rocks below.
Embsay is also really close to Bolton Abbey, a ruined monastery that was built by Augustinian monks who had previously been based at a priory which once stood in Embsay itself.
The Church of St Mary and St Cuthbert adjoining the Abbey survived the Dissolution of Monasteries under Henry VIII’s rule and is still a beautiful sight today with its superb stained-glass windows and awe-inspiring wall paintings.
Another leading local attraction is Skipton Castle, a medieval fortress that has been preserved for more than 900 years and is open to the public as a museum. It also regularly hosts historical exhibitions.
Embsay is home to a very lively Village Hall that regularly hosts pantomimes, tombolas, jumble sales and indoor bowls.
There are a small a number of holiday cottages and guest houses in the village as well as two pubs and a village shop.