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Walking Routes - Thornton le Dale to Ellerburn

Thornton le Dale is regarded by many people as the prettiest village in the National Park, and while its obvious charms make it popular with visitors, it’s also full of historic interest. This 2-mile circular walk follows riverside field paths to the hamlet of Ellerburn and its ancient church, before returning along a minor road to Thornton le Dale. It's an enjoyable stroll at any time of year, but spring and autumn in particular show the wooded riverside at its best.

  • Great for: riverside rambles, history lovers
  • Access: Easy to access
  • Length: 2 miles (3.2km)
  • Time: 1 hour 
  • Start/Finish: Thornton le Dale car park
  • Grid Ref: SE 834 830
  • OS Map: Ordnance Survey OL27
  • Refreshments:Thornton le Dale
  • Toilets: Start/Finish of walk

About this walk 

Walk - The paths on this level walk are waymarked, but run through riverside fields and may be muddy in places after rain. There are occasional stiles and gates en route. Take care on village roads in Thornton le Dale and on the narrow road when returning from Ellerburn.

Dogs - The route runs through farmland and a farmyard. Please keep your dog under control and always on a lead near livestock.

Thornton le Dale to Ellerburn

Beautiful Thornton le Dale is one of the most visited villages in the National Park, with its market cross and stocks on the village green and a babbling stream crossed by little bridges. It's an ancient settlement – farmed by Neolithic man, settled by the Anglo-Saxons and known to have been in existence in its present form since before the Norman Conquest. A grant for a weekly market was first made in 1281, while the stocks (not the present ones) were last used in 1874.

At the start of the walk (on the main road, heading towards the bridge) you'll pass the Lady Lumley almshouses, completed in 1670 to accommodate twelve poor people of the parish. The village is also known for its thatched – and much-photographed – Beck Isle Cottage, idyllically sited on a bend in Thornton Beck. It's one of many handsome cruck-framed buildings in the village, all of which would originally have been thatched.

Following the serpentine course of Thornton Beck leads you to the peaceful hamlet of Ellerburn and the romantically sited church of St Hilda, set in a clearing close to the beck. The church is dedicated to the first abbess of Whitby Abbey and is by far the oldest church in the area. The original building would have been a simple wooden chapel, and while the current church dates back to at least 1050 AD it also incorporates carved churchyard stones of an even earlier date.

Did you know?

There are free concerts on Thornton village green every summer Sunday afternoon, as well as a quirky scarecrow festival every August bank holiday weekend.


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