West Burton is an attractive village with a large central green in Lower Wensleydale which is perhaps best known due to its connection with the painter J.M.W Turner.
Just a short walk from the centre of West Burton is Burton Fall, a pretty waterfall that was famously sketched by the artist during his tour of Yorkshire in 1816.
Turner spend a considerable amount of time watching the water crash over the falls and drew a sketch in pencil that he intended on turning into a full watercolour. However, it was never completed.
The picture is now kept alongside his other works at the Tate Gallery in London, but if you want to see it in full colour all you have to do is walk up to the falls as they are still exactly the same as they were during Turner’s visit nearly 200 years ago.
West Burton appears to have been home to settlements since at least the Iron Age and a hut circles on the top of Burton Moor have been designated as Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
Like with many parts of the Dales, West Burton grew rapidly during the Early Modern Period (1450 to 1750) as it became an important market town for those working in the lead mining and stone quarrying professions. Some of the cottages built during the latter part of that period still stand today.
In the centre of the village green there also stands the West Burton Obelisk, a market cross that resembles a church spire. This is a little newer (erected 1820), but is again another reminder of the market that once played a key role in the lives of so many local people.
Today, the green serves as a recreational ground for children and has football goalposts, a small seating area and swings.
Accommodation In West Burton, Yorkshire Dales
The nearest town to West Burton is Leyburn, which claims to be the capital of Wensleydale and is filled with crafts shops and galleries.
The town is most famous for the Leyburn Shawl, a hill top area that gives fantastic views over the dale and derived its name from the legend of Mary Queen of Scots dropping her shawl on the spot after she had escaped imprisonment at Bolton Castle.
Wensleydale’s most famous product is without question its crumbly cheese. A favourite of the famous author George Orwell, it has enjoyed something of a resurgence in the past two decades thanks to its association with the much loved children’s characters Wallace and Gromit.
Hawes, which is just a few miles north-west of West Burton, is home to the Wensleydale Creamery. The cheese has been made on the site for around 100 years and visitors can stop by to see the process take place as well as sample the finished product.