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Kilnsey is a small village in Wharfedale, North Yorkshire, England. It lies on the B6160 road, between the villages of Grassington and Kettlewell, near Arncliffe and just across the River Wharfe from Conistone.

Kilnsey from Conistone Pie, east.jpg
Kilnsey and Crag over Wharfedale, from Conistone Pie: Mastiles Lane, left
Kilnsey is located in North Yorkshire
Location within North Yorkshire
OS grid referenceSD973678
Civil parish
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSKIPTON
Postcode districtBD23
PoliceNorth Yorkshire
FireNorth Yorkshire
EU ParliamentYorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament
List of places
54°06′23″N 2°02′30″W / 54.106390°N 2.041780°W / 54.106390; -2.041780Coordinates: 54°06′23″N 2°02′30″W / 54.106390°N 2.041780°W / 54.106390; -2.041780

The most notable feature of Kilnsey is a large limestone cliff called Kilnsey Crag, overlooking the road and the River Wharfe from the west. The crag is around 170 feet high, with an overhang of 40 feet. It was painted by J. M. W. Turner in 1816. West from Kilnsey towards Malham Tarn runs the historic Mastiles Lane, a Roman marching road, later an important route for monks leading sheep from Fountains Abbey to summer pasture on higher ground. This is now a Dales walking track.

The village of Kilnsey is a small collection of stone built Yorkshire Dales cottages, many dating back to the 1600s. The Old Hall in the village is believed to have been a medieval administrative site for the monks of Fountains Abbey who farmed huge flocks of sheep in the area. Most of the present building dates from 1648.[1]

Kilnsey Park is a visitor attraction and fishing lakes that was established in 1978 by the Roberts family. The park offers attractions including fishing, a nature trail and farm animals. There is also a working fish farm, smokehouse and cafe.[citation needed]

Kilnsey has one pub, the Tennant Arms, named after the Tennant family of Chapel House (on the site of an ancient chapel belonging to Kilnsey Grange, a possession of Fountains Abbey[2]) which owned the Kilnsey Estate from 1572[3] to 1911.

Each autumn the village hosts Kilnsey Show, one of the largest one-day agricultural shows in the country. The show was established in 1897 and regularly attracts over 12,000 visitors. One of the highlights is the Kilnsey Crag Race, a 1.5 mile dash up and down the side of a cliff.[citation needed]

On 5 July 2014, the Tour de France Stage 1 from Leeds to Harrogate passed through the village.[4] Regarded as one of the best places to watch the race, an event, VeloFest, was hosted directly alongside the route to allow thousands of spectators to camp and watch the race.


Old NanEdit

Old Nan was allegedly a witch living under Kilnsey Crag and well known locally.[5] She was known as far as Skipton, where she had a stand in the market.[5]

Views of KilnseyEdit


  1. ^ Historic England. "Kilnsey Old Hall  (Grade II*) (1316821)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  2. ^ Historic England. "Chapel House (1173280)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  3. ^ Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, 15th Edition, ed. Pirie-Gordon, H., London, 1937, pp.2217-8, pedigree of Tennant of Chapel House
  4. ^ "Tour de France Stage 1". Archived from the original on 25 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  5. ^ a b Pontefract, E. & Hartley, M. Wharfedale (Reprint 1943) Dent & Sons

External linksEdit