"Airton" Airton by mke1963

Airton Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 10 photos

Airton is reputed to be the largest village in Yorkshire with no shops and no pub, but what is lacks in services, it makes up for it with character.

The village became a Quaker stronghold in the 17th Century, and the Friends Meeting House remains - with its overnight bunkhouse accommodation - to this day, just off the Green.

The village runs alongside the shoulder of a ridge high above the Aire River, just 100 metres off the Pennine Way, one of Britain's great long-distance walks.

The village is quietly wealthy - like most of the quiet villages around these parts; a good mixture of old money, new money, weekend money and farmers up to their ankles in sheep and cattle poo. A four bedroom house here costs pretty much the same as one on the outskirts of London.

If Malham is the Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales (actually a moniker used by about one hundred towns and villages in the area) then Airton is the porch. The area is simply beautiful and in all four directions there are wonderful walks, spectacular scenery and as much seclusion and landscape as you want. Moors, valleys, drystone-walled fields, green pastures, wetlands, rivers, streams: the problem is not finding a reason to go, it's finding a reason to leave again.

Much of Airton was built in the 17th Century and the oldest houses - all built of the local grey limestone - are around the Green and the Squatter's Cottage and stocks on The Green itself. The village runs into Scosthrop to the north - only an easily missable parish boundary stone lets you know you have walked from one to the other, before leaving on the road to Kirby Malham.

The landscape here is not just the hills for which the Yorkshire Dales are famed, for Airton marks the point at which the narrow Aire Valley widens out onto an improbably wide floodplain for such a small river. All the local valleys were widened by the last Ice Age, and pretty much all the rivers are whar are known as 'misfits'. However, you would be surprised at the ferocity of the infant River Aire here: the low fields between Airton and Newfield flood across much of their width each year (cutting the road at Newfield Bridge) and the sight of the rushing Aire at the mill in Airton when the water level is high, is both impressive and frightening. The relatively narrow bridge means that the meadow opposite the mill is one of the first places to flood.

  • Last visit to Airton: Jul 2007
  • Intro Updated Jul 12, 2007
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