Arncliffe, North Yorkshire

Arncliffe is a small village and civil parish in Littondale, one of the Yorkshire Dales in England. Littondale is a small valley beside Upper Wharfedale, 3 miles (4.8 km) beyond Kilnsey and its famous crag. It is part of the Craven district of the non-metropolitan county of North Yorkshire, but is in the historic West Riding of Yorkshire. The population of the civil parish was estimated at 80 in 2015.[1]

Arncliffe is located in North Yorkshire
Location within North Yorkshire
Population80 (NYCC estimate) 2018[1]
OS grid referenceSD931718
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSKIPTON
Postcode districtBD23
Dialling code01756
PoliceNorth Yorkshire
FireNorth Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
54°08′31″N 2°06′23″W / 54.1420°N 2.1063°W / 54.1420; -2.1063Coordinates: 54°08′31″N 2°06′23″W / 54.1420°N 2.1063°W / 54.1420; -2.1063
Arncliffe and Littondale from the north.

Situated on a gravel delta above the flood-plain of the River Skirfare, Arncliffe's houses, cottages, and other buildings face a large green, and green hillsides etched with limestone scars. A barn to the north of the green is a good example of the local style, with an unusual entrance, and a datestone of 1677.

Behind the village buildings are several small crofts, nearly one to each house, and beyond these, limestone walls climb the surrounding hills separating higher fields. St Oswald's church lies close to the river a little north of the village, and the road up the dale crosses the river past Bridge End where Charles Kingsley stayed, and Old Cotes, built in 1650, whose gabled porch has a 3-light window somewhat characteristic of late 17th century houses in this area of the dales. A narrow, winding road climbs steeply southwards from the village, across the fells towards Malham. Paths also go towards Kettlewell and Starbotton.

Arncliffe was the original setting for the fictional village of Beckindale in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale Farm, from its inception in 1972 until moving to Esholt.[2] The village is the birthplace of Up Series participant Nicholas Hitchon.[3]


Arncliffe was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The toponym is of Old English origin, meaning "eagles' cliff" (from earn "eagle").[4]

The ancient parish of Arncliffe was part of Staincliffe Wapentake in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The parish also included the townships of Hawkswick, Litton, Halton Gill and Buckden.[5] All these places became separate civil parishes in 1866.[6]

Arncliffe was transferred to the new county of North Yorkshire in 1974.


  1. ^ a b "2015 Population Estimates Parishes" (PDF). December 2016. p. 10. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  2. ^ Filming locations for Emmerdale Farm
  3. ^ "How a landmark documentary caused a seven year itch". The Yorkshire Post. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  4. ^ Smith, A.H. (1961). The Place-names of the West Riding of Yorkshire. 6. Cambridge University Press. p. 113.
  5. ^ "Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales". 1870. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  6. ^ Vision of Britain website

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