Hawes is a bustling market town, affectionately referred to as the capital of Wensleydale. Throughout the year visitors flock to the town which has been made famous by Wallace and Gromit and its cheese making.
Our Town Trail begins at the carpark at the Dales Museum. The carpark has blue badge parking and RADAR toilets. Normal parking charges apply.
The Dales Museum is fully wheelchair accessible and has a great display of the history of life gone by in the Yorkshire Dales.
Within the museum is the Firebox Café, which again is fully accessible and serves a good selection of sandwiches and hot food, together with an abundance of yummy cakes! You could easily spend a morning in the museum as there is so much to see.
Across the carpark from the museum is the Outhwaite Ropemakers, which has been making ropes since the 1700s. The business is still going strong, making a vast array of different ropes from shoe laces and candlewicks through to dog leads, washing lines and skipping ropes and bell ropes up to 25 metres long.
Outhwaite Ropemakers still makes rope the traditional way. Rope of every length, shape and colour is exported around the world from is tiny factory. Entry to the Ropemakers is free and is well worth a visit. You can visit the factory and see rope being made via a wheelchair friendly walkway.
From the Ropemakers, our town trail continues into the town, along the cobbled street. The pavement is narrow so take care when travelling on the road. And beware you will be in for a bumpy ride! There are many antique shops to explore and a few of the shops are accessible. After the bridge the route takes you up a steep, cobbled path to join the Pennine Way. The path has a gradient of 1:7 which will be hard for manual wheelchairs. After about 70m the path levels out with some slight gradients up to 1:10. Most of the path is made up of stone flags. The scenery really opens up here and you can brag to your friends that you have walked some of the Pennine way! The path eventually comes out on the main road above the Wensleydale Creamery.
At the creamery you can sample the different cheeses as well as taking a tour of the cheese factory. The visitors centre, shop, café and restaurant are fully wheelchair accessible.
From the creamery follow the main street back through the town. There are reminders of the past everywhere you look in the town, from the cobbled main street, houses dating from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and pubs that were once staging posts and inns.
Hawes was a village until 1699 when it was granted a market charter by King William lll. Tuesday is market day, when colourful stalls are set up all along the main street.
A railway line to Hawes was opened in 1878 and helped the development of industry and tourism in the area, although the line closed in. The remains of the railway station are now used as offices for the Yorkshire Dales Rangers, and is the site of the Dales Museum. Farming has been an important part of the local economy Wensleydale has a rich history in lead mining. The name of the village of Hawes the came from an Old Norse word ‘hals’ which means “pass between mountains”.
Nearest Train (or tube) Station(s):