In the last reaches of the Pennines the river Ure twists and turns with the undulating landscape. The river is now so full and wide that bridging is difficult and sites of crossings are route centres, around which important local settlements were founded. One such settlement is the small market town of Masham, a 'Gateway to The Dales'. An ancient market town since 1393 with one of the largest market places in the north of England, now faced by stylish Georgian buildings which surround the central market cross.
The once famed annual sheep sales, where over 80,000 head would be sold in just three days still continues to this day during September, albeit on a much smaller scale, as does one of the North's largest steam rallies in July. Now most famous for the Theakston's and Black Sheep breweries, both owned by the Theakston family who first started brewing in 1827 and warmly welcome visitors to watch them ply their crafts and sample the rewards of their labour.
The town is embraced by the river and surrounding slopes and sits picturesquely with the tall spire of Saint Mary's church visible from miles around. Pretty riverside walks with parkland and playing fields on the doorstep, the nearby stately grounds of Swinton Castle with its delicious restaurant, the fun-park at Lightwater Valley and the not so distant attractions of Ripon, Harrogate and York offer enjoyment and excitement for all.