Five reasons to love Grassington
PUBLISHED: 14:01 17 February 2014 | UPDATED: 20:33 19 November 2017
This lovely market town in Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales always attracts many thousands of visitors each year but still manages to keep its charm. We discover what makes it so special
Grassington Music & Arts Festival
Grassington Festival has come a long way since it was founded in 1981 when Colin Speakman, author, founder-secretary of the Yorkshire Dales Society and chairman of the Dales Way Association together with his wife Fleur, editor of the YDS Review, decided to combine their love of life in Yorkshire, classical music and literature into a local summer festival. The first events ranged from poetry and choral singing, through folk music and a string quartet, to talks on ornithology and the problems of being a regional magazine editor.
Find out more at grassington-festival.org.uk
Grassington 1940s weekend
This is relatively new with the first event taking place just a couple of years ago but organisers wanted to somehow mark the sacrifices people made during World War II and were inspired by other 1940s commemorations in the not so far away town of Haworth. ‘It was a time when, through adversity, people pulled together for the common good,’ said Mara Melham. ‘The weekend will provide an opportunity to educate our children and to let them actively take part in an exciting and entertaining re-enactment of this period.’ And it looks as if the 1940s weekend when everyone is encouraged to dress in war time uniform and deck the streets with patriotic bunting is here to stay.
This year’s 1940s weekend takes place from September 19th-21st. Go to grassington1940sweekend.co.uk for more details.
Grassington is a magnet for walkers and must claim some of the finest walking in the Yorkshire Dales. There are serene walks along the River Wharfe and more challenging treks over Grassington and Barden Moors. There’s a marvellous suggestion on the Yorkshire Dales National Park website to stay in Grassington and walk the Dales Way in one-day stages between IIkley, Bolton Abbey and Buckden using the Dalesbuses. Call in at the National Park Centre (there is plenty of parking) to browse the information leaflets to help you get your bearings and make the most of your say.
Go to yorkshiredales.org.uk before you set off.
Grass Wood Nature Reserve
This is a special place run by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, a charity which works to conserve and protect our wild places and wildlife. Grass Wood, just a mile outside Grassington, is one of the biggest areas of broadleaf woodland in the area and is mainly ash and hazel. It’s a haven for birds and insects as well as all kinds of flowers and some wonderful fungi in the autumn including puffballs, milkcaps, brittlegills and clouded funnel caps. Watch out too for roe deer and red fox which made the woodland their home.
Find out how you can help the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust manage the woodland and support its work by going to ywt.org.uk
The unique independent shops that sit around Grassington’s cobbled market square and line the steep streets and alleyways to the town hall, work for both residents and tourists alike. They cover most everyday needs as well as gifts for visitors to take home with them including quality clothing and arts and crafts. No supermarket in sight. The hotels, pubs and tea rooms offer the perfect welcome for walkers and are great meeting places for locals, friends and families. Some welcome pets too. The Grassington Folk Museum which tells the story of Wharfedale is run by volunteers and faces on to the square but do check opening times on their website grassingtonfolkmuseum.org.uk. Grassington’s famous Dickensian Christmas Market with stall holders dressed in Victorian costume takes over the market place in the run up to the holiday. This style of market is copied today in many a Yorkshire town and village.