As well as Dales Countryside Museum, there's loads for you to enjoy in Hawes whether you are visiting for a day or staying in the area. Nestled in the beautiful surroundings of Wensleydale, this small market town is one of the Yorkshire Dales National Park's most popular destinations, packed with independent shops, great places to eat and tourist attractions for the whole family.

You can get an overview of Hawes and the surrounding area by viewing the Hawes Virtual Visit on the Yorkshire Dales National Park website. 

Hawes Virtual Visit

This uses fantastic 360° views to provide you with a map, local information, MP3 trail downloads, printable leaflets and information about the archaeology and history of the area.


Hawes Highlights

  • Tuesday is market day in Hawes. It's a busy day when the whole community converges to visit the local auction mart and stock up with provisions at the indoor and outdoor markets.
  • Hawes Gala is held on the fourth Saturday in June.
  • The Yorkshire Dales Outdoors Festival is held over the second weekend in September.
  • Hawes Christmas Festival is held on the first Saturday in December.

Gayle Mill

Gayle Mill © Gayle Mill

Gayle Mill, originally an 18th century cotton mill designed by Richard Arkwright, is a fully restored 19th century sawmill with working Victorian machinery and water-powered turbines. It is just a short walk from the centre of Hawes and well worth a visit!

With over 230 years of industrial and social heritage to discover, a guided tour around the Mill will give you a fascinating and unique insight into the workings of a woodworking mill that served the local community for over a century. You can also experience the atmosphere of the mill as the water-powered turbines spin to life, and learn about the restoration of the Mill following its appearance on the BBC2 'Restoration' programme in 2004. The Mill has also been featured on Channel 4's programme, 'How Britain worked' with Guy Martin.

The Mill welcomes school groups and hosts heritage skills training courses. There is also a shop selling wooden and craft products made by Gayle Mill Volunteers. 

Tickets for guided tours around the Mill can be purchased at Dales Countryside Museum. 

For more information, see Gayle Mill's website at www.gaylemill.org.uk.

Hawes Ropemakers (Outhwaites)

Making rope the traditional way at Outhwaites, © Outhwaites Ltd

Visit the Hawes Ropemaker to see traditional ropemaking in action and see how the twist is put in! 

The Outhwaite family came to the Yorkshire Dales in the 1730s when they settled at Stalling Busk in Raydale (near Semerwater), where they successfully farmed for four generations and eventually become landowners. In the early twentieth century, though, it became clear to William Richard Alfred Outhwaite (also known as 'Billy Dick') that the farm was no longer large enough to support his family, so he moved to Hawes and took over Johnny 'Roper' Wharton's ropemaking business in 1905. The roots of this business can be traced back to the business of Thomas Wharton in the late 1700s.

Outhwaites continues to make ropes and braids of many different types including church bell ropes, bannister ropes, barrier ropes and cattle halters, dog leads, horse leading reins, skipping ropes and even candle wicks! All are made using traditional methods and machinery including the 'ropewalk' - equipment that can be as long as 100 feet (30 metres) long, depending on the length of the rope being made.

The Ropemakers have a classroom for school visits and a shop where you can buy their rope items. For more information see www.ropemakers.com.

Wensleydale Creamery

Cutting curd blocks © Wensleydale Creamery

Wensleydale cheese is one of the Yorkshire Dales' most famous and delicious products, and the Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre is the only place where you can find Real Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese. It's the ideal destination for every cheese lover and is full of Wensleydale cheese-fuelled fun!

You can discover how the art of Wensleydale cheese-making has evolved over the centuries in the Centre's museum and then see the Creamery's master cheese-makers in action from the viewing gallery. The Wensleydale Cheese Experience can also include savouring the finished product in the well stocked cheese shop or enjoying a tasty cheese-inspired dish in the 1897 Coffee Shop or Calvert's Restaurant.

For more information see www.wensleydale.co.uk.

A description and map of an accessible walk from Dales Countryside Museum to the Wensleydale Creamery can be downloaded from the Yorkshire Dales National Park's website at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/dcm-to-creamery-trail.pdf

Beyond Hawes 

Cotter Force

Cotter Force

Cotter Force is a beautiful and secluded series of waterfalls in woodland on Cotterdale Beck to the west of Hawes. It is easily accessible along a stile-free and wheelchair accessible public right of way from a lay-by on the A684 road just beyond the village of Appersett. It is a lovely spot for a picnic and you can see a variety of birds there including dippers, grey wagtails, kingfishers and redstarts. Buzzards may also be seen flying overhead.

A description and map of the trail can be downloaded from the Yorkshire Dales National Park's website at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/cotter-force-trail.pdf.

Hardraw Force

Hardraw Force, the largest unbroken waterfall in the UK

Hardraw Force, the largest single drop waterfall in England, is situated in the grounds of the Green Dragon Inn in the hamlet of Hardraw just north of Hawes. It is not far from Hawes - certainly within walking distance - and as it is privately owned and maintained, there is a small fee to see it. The walk and cost is definitely worth it though, as it is one of the most impressive sights in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. See www.hardrawforce.com for more details.

The grounds around the waterfall are also the venue for two annual events - the Hardraw Gathering Folk Music Festival (www.hardrawgathering.com) takes place in July, while the Hardraw Scar Brass Band Festival (www.yhbba.org.uk/hardraw1.html) has been taking place for over 130 years and is held annually on the second Sunday of September.

If you would like a more strenuous walk to see the Force, you can download the Hawes to Sedbusk walk description and map from the Yorkshire Dales National Park website at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/shortwalks-hawes-to-sedbusk.pdf.

Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail

A Red Squirrel at the Snaizeholme viewpoint

The southern edge of Britain's core population of red squirrels can be found in the north of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The Snaizeholme Red Squirrel Trail through the Widdale Red Squirrel Reserve provides an opportunity for you to see these beautiful, cuddly creatures in their natural habitat.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has worked with the local landowners to create a viewing area where you will have an excellent chance of getting superb views of red squirrels along with the possibility of seeing roe deer and birds such as siskin, lesser redpoll and common crossbill.

You can walk to the red squirrel viewpoint from Dales Countryside Museum - a 15 kilometre (9.5 mile) self-guided walk - either downloading our MP3 trail to guide you or following the route using your GPS receiver. Alternatively, the Little Red Bus service can take you from Dales Countryside Museum to Snaizeholme, leaving only a 2.5 mile circular walk to the viewpoint. However way you decide to get there, the Museum is the best place to get started.

For more information and trail downloads, see the Nature in the Dales website at www.natureinthedales.org.uk/snaizeholme-red-squirrel-trail.

Walks in the Hawes area

When it comes to walking in the Hawes area, you are really spoilt!

The Pennine Way passes through Hawes and the Pennine Bridleway crosses the A684 at the nearby Moorcock Inn and Garsdale Railway Station to the west of Hawes.

Another walk is available from the Yorkshire Dales National Park website, visiting the beautiful Aysgill Force via the tiny street of Gayle. Download it at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/shortwalks-hawes-to-aysgill-force.pdf.

There are plenty of other walking opportunities in beautiful Wensleydale - contact us for more details.