Tucked quietly away in Lower Wharfedale is the small yet historic village of Hebden. Designated as a conservation area by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority since 2006, Hebden lies on ground where there has been settlements since at least the Bronze Age.
A few years ago 33 silver dinari coins were found in a field close to the village suggesting that the Romans had also occupied the region at some stage between 30 and 170 AD.
Cutting through the middle of the village is the winding Main Street where you will find the Hebden Methodist Church, a tea room inside what used to be a school and the village post office, which has had its outside post box painted gold to commemorate the gold medal won by local rower Andrew Tiggs Hodge in the coxless fours at the London Summer Olympic Games in 2012.
Hebden lies just below Grimwith Reservoir, a place that is home to many species of wild bird including Canada Geese, Teal and Reed Bunting. The reservoir is a popular resting place for walkers and is home to a sailing club.
Another local attraction is Stump Cross Caverns. Situated just along the B6265 from Hebden, the caverns are the amongst the best show caves in the UK. They were created more than half a million years ago when much of the landscape was under water and were discovered by a group of miners in 1860.
A number of fossils have been found in the cave network and stalactites in a variety of colours can be seen by visitors.
Hebden was once known for the mining of lead and the remnants of the trade can still be seen on the hills around the area. One of the most popular walks for visitors is called the Lead Mining Trail and starts at Yarnbury to the north of Hebden. It takes in Orefield, one of the main mines during the Victorian era, and loops around the edge of the village before heading back up to the fell to its beginning point. It covers around four miles and should take no more than two hours to complete.
A little further south on the road to Skipton is Appletreewick. Known as “Aptrick” to locals, the village is lined with stunning stone cottages from the 17th and 18th centuries.
A renowned walking route nearby cuts through a picturesque ravine known as Trollers Gill. The area is a great place to explore or enjoy a picnic but it used to fill the locals with dread. Until as late the 19th century, Appletreewick residents believed that the gorge was home to a tribe of evil trolls that would wait at the top of the cliffs and throw boulders on to the heads of anyone that dared to pass by.
Perhaps more chilling than that, they also believed that the cave at the end of Trollers Gill was home to a wolf-like beast that would kill any walker whose stare met its eyes. It has been suggested that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based the supernatural creature in The Hound of the Baskervilles on this legend.
The main local tourist centre is Grassington, less than two miles north-east of Hebden. It has a small cobbled square that is home to a number of pubs and shops as well as the Folk Museum, which is filled with exhibits from yesteryear including some from World War Two.