The Yorkshire Dales Remember

The First and Second World Wars left visible scars on the landscape of the Yorkshire Dales, ensuring that the people who live in this area will never forget the sacrifice made by our forefathers for our freedom today. We take a look at some of those sites that were used during the World Wars or that now commemorate them.

War memorials come in a variety of forms, and you can see many examples of these throughout the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The Second World War memorial plaque in Aysgarth

The War Memorial in Aysgarth was erected after the First World War when the villagers joined together to carry the blocks from the nearby quarry to the memorial site. Words around the top of the memorial read “They Live, Heard, Felt, Died”.


In Langcliffe, the memorial was added to the village fountain basin. The fountain has an octagonal basin which was built in the 18th or early 19th century from stone. The fountain head was replaced in 1920 with a cross when it was adapted as a village First World War memorial. The design was chosen by relatives of the eleven village men killed during the First World War.  The names of the four men killed during the Second World War were added later in 1995.

The commemorative fountain in Langcliffe

Buildings that form central hubs of a village are often used as war memorials. In Thornton Rust, the village hall was built in 1924 as a First World War memorial – a plaque on the gable commemorates this.

Several sites and buildings were adapted or re-used during the Second World War. The site of a motte and bailey castle in Sedbergh was used as a Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Post. This post was opened in 1938 and was part of No 29 Group based at Lancaster. In 1943 it was equipped as a ‘Granite’ post. This was the code name for posts built on higher ground and supplied with flares to warn friendly aircraft of nearby hills. In 1965 an underground bunker was built here as part of a low level early warning system in the event of a nuclear attack. It was closed in 1968 and no above ground remains of the ROC post survive.

The site of a former Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Post near Settle

Attermire Rifle Range, near Settle, was originally built in 1860 for a volunteer rifle corps. This had been set up in the mid-19th century when the threat of war with France was hanging in the air. The volunteers were transferred into the Territorial Army in 1908 and they continued to use the range up until the First World War. During the Second World War, the local Home Guard reused the range.

The second floor of Gayle Mill, near Hawes, was used for accommodating military personnel. Physical evidence of this includes an external emergency escape route, the fitting of black out screens and some graffiti. The Mill remained operational during this time as a sawmill and for electricity generation. For more on Gayle Mill, see

Farfield Mill, near Sedbergh, was used for the manufacture of crankshafts for Airspeed Oxford Trainer planes. A brick built air raid shelter also survives near the main building.

There are also sites that were purpose-built during the Second World War, such as Linton Camp.

Linton is one of a series of Camp Schools built by the National Camps Corporation in 1939 to house evacuees. Linton was used to accommodate evacuees from Bradford and Leeds, whose fathers were away in the forces and whose mothers were often doing shift work in the mills or munitions factories. For more on Linton Camp, go to

The remains of classrooms and dormitories at Linton Camp

The Cracoe Searchlight Battery is a site of a series of three Second World War searchlights. They survive as 6-8 metre diameter circular earthworks in a field south of Cracoe village. They were associated with an army training camp, and would have been used to warn friendly aircraft of high ground to the south as well as distracting bombing raids on their way to the industrial towns around the area.

Earthwork remains of Cracoe Searchlight Battery


October 2017: Roman Milestone, Middleton

The Roman Milestone at Middleton is cylindrical in shape, approximately 1.7m high and 0.45m in diameter. The East side has an inscription: “MP LIII” – Milia Passuum 53. It is believed to refer to 53 miles from Carlisle. Below this there is another inscription: “SOLO ERVTVM RESTITVIT GVL MOORE AN MDCCCXXXVI” – added by the historian Dr Lingard to commemorate its discovery and re-erection by W. Moore. It is believed that Moore found the milestone when ploughing his land in 1836. It was then relocated to the top of a nearby hill and this inscription was added. There are some diagonal scratch marks on the northwest facing side which were likely made by ploughing.

Continue reading “October 2017: Roman Milestone, Middleton”

Reading Rooms and Literary Institutes #librariesweek

Reading rooms and literary institutes were important recreational spaces in the Yorkshire Dales in the 19th Century. They could be found in almost every village and hamlet in the Dales, and were sometimes the only public building. Many of these buildings were built as local initiatives, and their establishment would have involved a considerable effort for many small communities. It seems likely that patronage had a strong role to play for the volume in the Yorkshire Dales. They were in part supported due to the foreseen advantages to the moral and intellectual welfare of the populous, particularly in having their tenants and employees socialising in an environment other than the public house. These buildings coincided with the temperance movement. Nearly all of the reading rooms were non-sectarian, however many had rules which revealed a temperance bias. Continue reading “Reading Rooms and Literary Institutes #librariesweek”

September 2017: Crook Gill packhorse bridge

There is a single span packhorse bridge that crosses Crook Gill. This bridge lies on an old packhorse route from Bishopdale into Wharfedale. A packhorse bridge is intended to carry horses loaded with side-bags or panniers (a packhorse) across a river or stream. Packhorse routes were the trade routes that formed major transport arteries of Great Britain until the coming of the turnpike roads and canals in the 18th Century. The bridge is situated roughly halfway between the hamlets of Cray and Hubberholme. The bridge crosses Crook Gill just before its confluence with Cray Gill, and 700m downstream joins the River Wharfe. Continue reading “September 2017: Crook Gill packhorse bridge”

Geophysical Surveys of Bainbridge

We Dig Community is coming to an end in Bainbridge, but one last piece of fieldwork has been completed, a geophysical survey by Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group (SWAAG). Geophysical surveys (often referred to as ‘geophys’) are usually undertaken at the beginning of a project as they give you an overview of the site and can give you an indication of where to place your archaeological trenches. However, test pits, by their nature, should be a random snapshot of the archaeology of an area, so in this case the geophysical survey was being used to ensure that no large features were missed. Continue reading “Geophysical Surveys of Bainbridge”

Final Finds Processing and Identification Workshop

We are holding our final Finds Processing and Identification Workshop as we only have a few finds left to process now. The workshop will be on the 28th September, from 10am till 5pm at Bainbridge Temperance Hall. (You do not have to stay for the whole session.) Everybody is welcome and no experience is required. However, spaces are limited so if you would like to attend please contact Hannah Kingsbury at or 01969 652343.