Despite it being the place that gave its name to an entire dale, the village of Wensley is surprisingly small.
Currently it is little more than a few homes and holiday cottages around a small towered church, but once it was home to the only market in the valley and remained the main local trade hub until it was hit by the plague in 1563. That caused the focus to shift to Leyburn and then Hawes, but while Wensley’s population has reduced its fame as never diminished.
Wensley’s most notable landmark is the Church of the Holy Trinity. Parts of its structure date back to 1240 and are all that really remains of the village’s glory days during the Middle Ages.
It has been designated as a Grade I listed building by English Heritage and was included in the ‘Best English Parish Churches’ by the late architectural historian and television broadcaster Alex Clifton-Taylor.
The Wensley waterfall is hidden from the view of passers-by; it is situated behind the old cottage used by the Wensley Candlemakers.
Another popular spots for tourists is Wensley Mill, which is home to White Rose Candles. There visitors can see the process involved in making candles and even buy a few to take away.
The wider Wensleydale area is famous for its crumbly cheese. A favourite of the stop-motion animation characters Wallace and Gromit, it was first made by French monks who had settled in North Yorkshire almost a thousand years ago.
For the past century is has been produced in the town of Hawes and the creamery now doubles up as a museum where you can see famous cheese being made and even get a taste of it…yummy!
Wensleydale cheese plays a key role in the Dales Festival of Food and Drink that is held over the May Day bank holiday weekend in nearby Leyburn. The festival gives food producers a chance to showcase their products and also has music from a number of bands, theatrical performances and a funfair.
Also close to the village is the Wensleydale Railway, a heritage line that runs between Leeming Bar and Redmire. Wensley itself used to have a station of its own, but it was closed during the 1950s and now serves as a holiday cottage.