On the western edge of the Vale of York downstream from the ‘Gateway’ town of Masham the river Ure turns southeast gently slipping away from the fading Pennine hills. Minor tributaries with their becks and gills still cut deep into the distant heights and merge into greater flows to part the sloping Pennine flanks and form an area of lesser rolling valleys which was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1994. The River Laver is one such tributary flowing on its sinuous path over 10 miles to join the River Skell on the outskirts of the small historic city of Ripon. From the high pastures on the nearby Pennines the Laver flows through undulating meadows, occasional cornfields, woodland, isolated farms and small villages linked by winding lanes.
Kirkby Malzeard is the principal village of the area with its own pubs, shops and a garage but there are many other attractive villages to explore such as Grewelthorpe, Grantley, Winksley and Galphay.
The Pennine beauty of Nidderdale, the country Mansion of Grantley Hall, and the woodlands of Hackfall are on the doorstep. The National Trust World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey and the associated Studley Royal and Studley Park are only a few miles away as are the fantastic and often grotesque shapes of Brimham Rocks, a natural geological formation which covers over 50 acres of heather moorland. Ripon, Harrogate and York are all within easy driving distance as are the western dales of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.