Three stunning properties in one of Yorkshire’s least-known dales...

Hands up who knows where the Washburn Valley is? For those who know, it’s obvious, but even locally there are many people who haven’t the first idea where to find it.

By John Grainger
Friday, 24th June 2022, 6:00 pm
Salt Pie Farm, Jack Hill, Norwood - guide price £2.95m with Lister Haigh, 01423 730700.
Salt Pie Farm, Jack Hill, Norwood - guide price £2.95m with Lister Haigh, 01423 730700.

If that’s you, you need to head out of Harrogate on the A59. You’ll pass through it briefly, at Blubberhouses, on your way up to the Yorkshire Dales National Park boundary on Kex Gill Moor.

It’s actually a tributary of Wharfedale and, as a part of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s as rural and pretty as many other dales, and can feel wonderfully remote, particularly in the upper reaches.

The reason why so many people have never heard of this beautiful valley could be because it’s one of the few Yorkshire dales without a ‘dale’ suffix, or because it’s one of two locally (the other is Nidderdale) to be excluded from the Yorkshire Dales national park when its boundaries were drawn up in 1954.

Green Farm Cottage, Timble - offers over £775,000 with Dacre, Son & Hartley, 01943 463321.

But perhaps the greatest reason for its relative obscurity is its four reservoirs: Thruscross, Fewston, Swinsty and Lindley Wood – the first (upper) three of which supply water to Leeds.

The decline of the flax industry had already emptied the dale of much of its population by the 1960s, and the creation of Thruscross in 1966 made all but the higher ground uninhabitable for most of the length of the dale.

As a result, there are no schools or shops in the Washburn Valley, although there are two pubs – the Sun Inn at Norwood and the Hopper Lane Hotel (temporarily closed) – plus the Timble Inn, now a five-star restaurant.

Other social hubs include the Women’s Institute (meets at Leathley), and the Washburn Society heritage group.

Cherry Tree Cottage, Timble - £995,000 with Hopkinsons, 01423 501201.

The reservoirs offer excellent opportunities for anglers, and nationally-renowned mountain-bike trails snake their way through the surrounding woods. The mix of coniferous and deciduous woodland, as well as upland and wetland, also make it superb for birdwatching.

If this sounds like your kind of place, you might like one of the following three properties, which are all currently for sale.

The idyllic Salt Pie Farm at Norwood (pronounced Norud)is a detached five-bedroom, five-bathroom house with attached self-contained one-bed annexe, as well as a detached office, double garage, and views across Swinsty reservoir. Outside, it has gardens, an ornamental pond, two paddocks and substantial woodland along the boundaries.

Cherry Tree Cottage near Timble is a three-bedroom home with large kitchen, three reception rooms, utility room and study. Outside, there are gardens on three sides and a double detached garage with study area, toilet, and workshop.

Finally, just up the road in the heart of Timble village, Green Farm Cottage is a detached, stone-built five-bedroom house with family kitchen, three reception rooms, utility room and store room. Outside, there are gardens, plenty of parking space, and stunning views right across the dale to Menwith Hill.