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. While some of the buildings are homes others house local businesses including art galleries, sweet shops, delicatessen, butchers, wine shop, walking shop, pubs serving lunch and evening meals, restaurant serving evening meals and cafes serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.
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. Masham is now home to the Spirit of Masham distillery where you can take a tour and distil your own gin.
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, and Hackfall Woods and Marfield Wetlands Nature Reserve both within reach. Masham was proud to welcome Le Grand Depart in 2014 and since then has welcomed the Tour de Yorkshire on numerous occasions, why not try the routes for yourself, bring your bikes or hire one locally and have it delivered to your holiday property. The nearby stately grounds of Swinton Castle with its delicious restaurant and Spa, the fun-park at Lightwater Valley, Fountains Abbey World Heritage site with fabulous Visitors Centre and Saturday morning parkrun and the not so distant attractions of Ripon, Harrogate and York offer enjoyment and excitement for all.