Dalesman’s Diary: March 2024

A Dalesman’s Diary

March 2024

Standing sentinel over the surrounding countryside, it’s an iconic part of the Yorkshire landscape and has been for at least 12,000 years. Ever since the Wharfedale Glacier ground its way through this part of the world, the limestone outcrop of Kilnsey Crag has kept a lofty watch over this corner of Yorkshire.

Towering over its surroundings, this iconic landmark seemed to boast a permanence which defied the passage of time.

But last year fears were expressed for the future of this beauty spot when the crag and surrounding land were put on the market for £150,000.

For that asking price, you could own the 170-foot high cliff and about eight hectares, or nineteen acres, of land on which it sits.

Now, months after the For Sale signs went up, it looks like new owners have finally been found and the sale is going through.

The exterior of The Thornhill Arms, located in Yorkshire's Calverley

Kilnsey Crag, the estate agent selling the landmark is about to close the deal

A spokesman for Savills Estate Agents in York, which handled the listing, confirmed: “It looks like the sale is going through, the land is currently under offer and contracts look like they will be exchanged soon.”

They declined to confirm who the buyer is or what the future holds for this towering beauty spot that dominates Upper Wharfedale.

With its forty foot overhang, it has long been popular with rock climbers, and forms one of the ‘big three’ limestone crags in the Dales National Park, alongside Gordale Scar and Malham Cove.

When it went on the market in June of last year, potential buyers were told: “The sale represents a genuinely unique opportunity to purchase one of the ‘big three’ limestone crags in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

“The overhanging cliff, formed by the force of the Wharfedale Glacier thousands of years ago, is awe-inspiring and internationally recognised.”

This is an area teeming with wildlife, the cliff and surrounding grassland is full of rare flora and fauna and is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The crag has long been popular with rock climbers and is recognised as one of the country’s most challenging climbs.

The crag has a twelve-metre (forty foot) overhang which, along with its proximity to the main road through Wharfedale, has made it one of the most challenging and popular rock-climbing locations in the north of England.

The crag is also the backdrop to the Kilnsey Agricultural Show, which happens on the Tuesday after the summer bank holiday in August.

The exterior of The Thornhill Arms, located in Yorkshire's Calverley

White horses graze in a field with Kilnsey Crag forming a stunning backdrop

Meanwhile, another Yorkshire landmark, the Thornborough Henges near Ripon currently remains on the market.

Shortly after Kilnsey Crag was put up for sale, it was announced that the northernmost of the henges was being marketed for £200,000.

English Heritage became custodians of the central and southern henges, which date from the Neolithic period and were used for ritual ceremonies and funerals, last year when previous site owners Tarmac donated them to the nation.

Landowner Richard Bourne-Arton, whose family have owned the nearby Tanfield estate since the 1880s, put the site, which is primarily woodland, on the open market after negotiations with English Heritage broke down over the asking price.

Although the henge is in ‘excellent’ condition, the tree cover means it is not as accessible as the other two henges, which can be visited by the public free
of charge.

English Heritage said because the henge was in a well-preserved state it could not buy it from Mr Bourne-Arton – concerns were raised over the others because of damage caused by livestock grazing, meaning intervention was necessary to protect them.

They added that ‘limited resources’ also played a part in the decision.

The exterior of The Thornhill Arms, located in Yorkshire's Calverley

Thornborough Henge, near Ripon


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