You could easily drive through Kilnsey in Wharfedale and barely realise you've been to the village, but you're very unlikely to miss its most distinctive feature. Kilnsey Crag is 170 feet high with a dramatic 40 ft overhang. Look closely and you're likely to see climbers tackling the challenge. Enthusiasts also attempt the 1.5 Kilnsey Crag Race is a tricky and very competitive race up and down the crag.
As you'd expect, the views from the top of the crag are stunning. J.M.W. Turner enjoyed visiting in 1816, recording his view in this sketch. Tennants Arms pub sits in the shadow of the crag, a traditional pub serving good food.
The Holy Smokery run by chef Jake Buchan uses trout caught on the Kilnsey Park Estate to produce smoked fish, and a range of charcuterie. The name of the smokehouse harks back to Kilnsey's connections to the Fountains Abbey estate. Alice de Romillie, heiress of Skipton Castle gave a large piece of land at Kilnsey to the monks at Fountains Abbey. It is thought that the Old Hall in Kilnsey was once an administrative centre for Fountains Abbey whereby monks bred fish and used the ancient spring wells at Kilnsey Park.
Kilnsey's history goes back even further, to Roman times, with the creation of Mastiles Lane, a Roman marching road which then became an important drovers' route to take sheep from Fountains Abbey to summer pastures. It's now a much loved walking route, but I can’t promise it leads to Rome.
Close by is the entrance to Kilnsey Park, an award-winning attraction that was originally focused around the fishing ponds which you can see from the road, and which now features children's activities, fun fishing, opportunities to get close up to farm animals, cafe and a programme of activities Owners, Amy and Jamie Roberts are passionate about helping visitors enjoy and understand Yorkshire Dales nature and wildlife including running a red squirrel breeding program!
Swaledale & Arkengarthdale
Ribblesdale & Three Peaks
Yorkshire Three Peaks
This independent not-for-profit website was created using recommendations from Dales insiders' - people who live in, and love the Yorkshire Dales.
Copyright Susan Briggs 2021
The Tourism Network
The Old Mill
Sometimes places open or close unexpectedly. Please always check opening times in advance.
Love letter to the Yorkshire Dales