Click HERE to visit the YDNP website Welcome to the capital village of Swaledale. Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Welcome to the village of Reeth in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale















An introduction to Reeth by the Solitary Rambler

'Information for visitors to the Yorkshire Dales National Park village of Reeth.'

'Swaledale in Yorkshire is a little country in itself. Once there, shut in by barriers of hills, you are satisfied: shrouded in its mystery, the rest of the world seems unimportant and unreal.' - Ella Pontefract, 1934.

Reeth, which in Saxon times was only a settlement on the forest edge, but by the time of the Norman Conquest it had grown sufficiently in importance to be noted in the Doomsday Book.

Looking West towards the Village Square, Reeth

Later it became a centre for hand-knitting and the local lead industry was controlled from here, but it was always a market town for the local farming community. It's eighteenth-century houses and hotel clustered around the triangular village green make it one of the honey pots of the Dales.

Looking down the Green at Reeth, Swaledale

Reeth lies where two of North Yorkshire's finest dales meet. The most northerly of these is Arkengarthdale, which is relatively unexplored and one of the more tranquil dales. The other, Swaledale, is formed from gentle slopes as the meandering Swale winds its way to Richmond.  Reeth, at the juncture of these two dales, is at the heart of Swaledale. It has a large village green where traditional events and markets are often held.

Reeth is a popular place with visitors to the Dales, and has many tea rooms in which you can relax, perhaps after a stroll along the river, and interesting craft shops producing traditional, high quality products.

In the 18th Century Reeth was the capital of the lead mining industry. Its history can be traced in the Folk Museum, which houses exhibits illustrating the life and traditions of Swaledale, and outlining the principle theme of lead mining. Reeth was the capital of this industry, with a population of 1460 in its heyday. Cheaper foreign imports doomed the Swaledale companies and by1885, the area was already converting to the idyllic farming community that we see today.
Nearby is Grinton with its Norman church, the Jacobean-style pulpit, "Lepers Squint" and stained glass are worth inspection.

Reeth Post Office

Walkers will be fascinated following the ancient ‘Corpse Way’, which may still be picked out running from Grinton to Keld, at the head of the Dale. Because this was the only consecrated ground at the time, the dead were carried here in wicker baskets along an ancient track.

The Green, Reeth

The scattered villages in their dramatically beautiful settings, all have stories to tell. The hardy sheep here have a pedigree that dates back to the time of the Viking settlers and may be seen wherever you travel throughout this lovely dale.

There are fine walks to be found all over the area, varying in length from gentle strolls along the Swale paths, to day long routes, taking the energetic to the summits of Great Shunner Fell, Lovely seat and Addlebrough.

Richmond, Barnard Castle, Leyburn and Hawes are all within half an hours drive, and there is no shortage of eating houses in Reeth to enjoy after a long day’s walking or sightseeing.
Market Days in the Area

Reeth from Fremington, Swaledale

Monday: Darlington
Tuesday: Hawes
Wednesday: Northallerton & Barnard Castle
Thursday: -
Friday: Reeth & Leyburn
Saturday: Richmond, Darlington & Northallerton

Reeth in Swaledale from Fremington Edge    

This picture taken from Fremington Edge shows the whole village and the River Swale in the distance
The area is rich in natural beauty and wildlife but it also has tremendous architectural, agricultural and industrial heritage. Agriculture thrives with the Swaledale sheep providing wool, and the cows, milk for the famous Wensleydale cheese. There are many local crafts in Swaledale and the nearby Wensleydale and these crafts are illustrated at museums in Reeth and Hawes.

Good walking (including the Coast to Coast path) can be found amidst magnificent scenery, caves and waterfalls. The River Swale is famous for its beauty and there are many well-signed walks along its banks.

Visit the historic castles of Richmond (11 miles), Castle Bolton, Middleham and Jervaulx Abbey. Travel West over Tail Bridge to the market town of Kirkby Stephen, South over the Buttertubs pass to Hawes or North over The Stang to Barnard Castle.

Looking across to Reeth from Arkleside

Race-goers are well catered for at nearby Catterick, Thirsk, Ripon or York. Mountain bike hire is also available locally.

As well as the Yorkshire Dales the Buck Hotel is well located for visiting the Lakes, North York Moors and East Coast

Central for many walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park (, Reeth is situated on Wainwright's Coast to Coast Route (, the Dales Way, adjacent to the Pennine Way and Mark Reid's famous Inn Way includes The Buck Hotel in the village ( 

There are many mountain biking routes around Reeth, including the Dales Cycle way. Hotels in the village can provide secure lock-up facilities for residents' bikes, and bike hire can be arranged locally.  Dales Mountain Biking also arrange accompanied inclusive tour packages or tailor made programmes.
Alternatively keen digital photographers could enhance their skills and enjoy Swaledale at the same time.
Professional landscape photographer Garry Brannigan runs courses and workshops based at The Buck Hotel and visiting locations in beautiful Swaledale. To find out more about his one-day workshops and four-day residential courses see
There are many places to stay in and around Reeth including four well-appointed Hotels, The Black Bull, The Kings Arms, The Buck and the Burgoyne, each offering a high standard of Bed and Breakfast accommodation. Guest Houses and holiday lets are very popular in the village. Details of all these can be found on our Accommodation page.


'A guide to the Yorkshire Dales area of outstanding natural beauty.'

The Yorkshire Dales National Park

The present Yorkshire Dales national park boundary in Mallerstang

The Yorkshire Dales National Park lies between the Lake District in the west and the North York Moors in the east. it was designated as a National Park in 1954.
Covering an area of approximately 1,769 km/683 square miles, the Yorkshire Dales National Park boasts some of the finest scenery in the North of England. The name 'Dales' comes from the Scandinavian 'Thal' and refers to valleys in the area made boggy by rivers flowing down from the Pennine Hills.
The distinctive natural features of the Yorkshire Dales were shaped by the melting of glacier ice, eroding the limestone and sandstone rocks some 300 million years ago. This created crags, hills, caves and expanses of fissured rock pavements, valleys and waterfalls. Lead mining began in Roman times and continued into the 19th century. Quarrying for the high quality limestone, the clearing of woodland and building of villages, farmsteads and low stone walls so distinctive of the area, are the man made features of the Dales.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park offers visitors opportunities for many outdoor pursuits including walking, climbing, horse riding, bird watching and caving. For archaeologists there are many fascinating discoveries to be made, as this area has been inhabited since Roman times. Naturalists will find the area rich in bird and wildlife, flora and fauna. The Yorkshire Dales is an area of beautiful scenery, interesting towns and villages and many historic attractions to visit.

View Reeth in a larger map

The Two Dales of Swaledale and Arkengarthdale
Grinton & Fremington
The village of Grinton is 1 mile south east of Reeth where the green fertile land of the lower dale starts to change to the more rugged upper dale. The name Grinton means 'the green pasture' in Old English. The first known reference to Grinton is in 1086.

St.Andrew's Church Grinton near Reeth in Swaledale

The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is a very ancient structure, and has lately undergone many repairs; the windows, which are much corroded by time, are beautifully ornamented with stained glass. The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the King. There were fairs formerly held here, but owing to its decreasing population they were transferred to Reeth.

The Bridge at Grinton crosses the River Swale and is a popular launch for river expeditions by canoe and kayak. The river is also popular for fishing. Historically, it was at the first place above Richmond where the river could usually be forded. This crossing place was vital for the transport of lead by pony from the many mines & mills in Swaledale.

Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel overlooks Grinton and is the Impressive former shooting lodge. Set in its own grounds with magnificent views of Swaledale it is an ideal location for groups looking to explore the Two Dales area.

The Bridge Inn in Grinton serves good food and beer and is across the road from a fine old house and the medieval church, which unlike the pub doesn't have a sheep on the roof!

Grinton Bridge nr Reeth in Swaledale

Fremington Water Mill on the Arkle Beck near Reeth in Swaledale

Fremington is the next village through Grinton, almost joined to Reeth and Grinton. It is split into Low Fremington which is built along the B6270 and High Fremington which is a scattering of houses running up towards Fremington Edge. Take a walk through the field between Grinton Bridge and Reeth and you will come across the old village cornmill, driven by the Arkle Beck. On investigation you will find a very impressive wooden wheel still complete in it's housing which is now used as a barn.
Healaugh and Low Row

Healaugh (pronounced "hee-law") is a small village just through Reeth on your way up Swaledale and lies about 1 mile west of Reeth.

The name Healaugh is derived from a Saxon word (Heah) meaning a high-level forest clearing.

The village is small, with no amenities except a stone trough fed by a hillside stream, and the village telephone box. The latter is unusually well endowed, with a carpet, waste paper bin, ash tray, directories and fresh flowers. Visitors may leave a donation.

The stepping stones across the river Swale towards Healaugh in Swaledale

Low Row is your next stop up the Dale towards Gunnerside and Muker. The Coast to Coast long distance walk passes close to the village but, For the less adventurous, there are many walks in the area, from a gentle stroll to something more challenging.

Low Row in Swaledale

Hazel Brow Organic Farm and Visitor Centre in Low Row is open from the end of March to the end of September each year (closed Mondays and Fridays except Bank Holidays). Their completely organic café (the first in the county?) offers home-made cakes and scones, as well as a good selection of hot and cold food and drinks. They also have supervised animal handling sessions (very popular with children), craft activities, walks, seasonal demonstrations and more. Well worth a visit!

Oh yes, slow down through the village and watch out for the Cows!

The village does have a pub, The Punch Bowl, has been re-developed and offers superb food, excellent ale and great hospitality.

Langthwaite is a small village in Arkengarthdale - famous as being seen in the opening title shots of the popular BBC TV series "All Creatures Great and Small", based around the books of the famous Yorkshire vet James Herriot.
The Red Lion Free House in the centre of the village referred to as the 'capital' of Arkengarthdale, and which has featured in numerous films and television series over the years, with abundant photos inside the pub. The pub doubles up as a tourist information centre and shop. A bit of a honey pot in the tourist season but worth a visit. Bar meals and Black Sheep Beers available.

A little further up the Dale and the scenery changes above the tree line to one of open heather bound moorland. The impressive Stang Forest can be found on the road to Barnard Castle with excellent opportunities to explore. The CB Inn and world famous Tan Hill Inn, Gt.Britain's highest, can also be found on your travels up Arkengarthdale.

The Red Lion in Langthwaite village, Arkengarthdale.


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