Information on Grassington, Yorkshire

Grassington could be classed as a large village or small town. (Grassington was granted a Royal Charter for a market and fair in 1282 giving it market town status. The market was held regularly until about 1860) It’s situated in the heart of Wharfedale and, along with nearby Burnsall, is one of the locations best known to visitors from the big Cities to the South. Grassington grew as a village in the 17 Century when it became an important centre for lead mining. Evidence of its mining heritage can be seen on the moors high above the village near Yarnbury with the signposted Grassington Moor leadmining trail. Visiting on a cold day gives a hint of the harsh conditions the miners had to cope with. Grassington was the unlikely location for an 18th century murder mystery.  In 1766 Dr Richard Petty was murdered at Grass Wood near Grassington. There is a good deal of intrigue around what actually happened but it seems that the Grassington Blacksmith Tom Lee shot the doctor as he returned from a cock fight at Kettlewell, in order to steal his winnings . Lee was a publican and sometime Blacksmith and his blacksmiths workshop or ‘smidy’ is marked today by a plaque in the village. Lee was originally acquitted of the murder but re-tried and hanged at York. His body was left suspended at Grass Wood in an iron gibbet until it decomposed and the bones fell to the ground. Not surprisingly, Lee’s ghost is said to roam Grass Wood to this day! The arrival of the Yorkshire Dales railway at nearby Threshfield in 1901 gave easier access to Grassington for visitors from the industrial Cities and it became a popular day trip excursion. Today it remains one of the main tourist centres of the Dales with numerous shops, cafes and pubs. It is also home to Grassington Folk Museum houses a collection which tells the story of Wharfedale.  Grassington holds a yearly 2 week long summer festival encompassing music, performance and visual arts, held in a variety of venues around the village. In the winter Grassington hosts a Dickensian Festival when the townspeople and visitors don Dickensian costumes and take part in festive gaslit Christmas festivities. There are numerous walks in the area and Grassington is a good base to explore Wharfedale from.

A circular walk from Grassington

For info on where to stay in the Dales and hotel, B+B and cottage bookings see my accommodation page.

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