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Hawes facts for kids

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Main Street, Hawes
OS grid reference SD873898
  • Richmondshire
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HAWES
Postcode district DL8 3
Dialling code 01969
Police North Yorkshire
Fire North Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament
  • Richmond
List of places
YorkshireCoordinates: 54°18′15″N 2°11′47″W / 54.304143°N 2.1964180°W / 54.304143; -2.1964180

Hawes is a small market town and civil parish in the Richmondshire district of North Yorkshire, England, that was granted its market charter in 1699. Historically in the North Riding of Yorkshire, Hawes is located at the head of Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales, the River Ure runs to the north of the town and is regarded as one of the honeypot tourist attractions of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The parish of Hawes also includes the neighbouring hamlet of Gayle. It is 31.2 miles (50.2 km) west of the County Town of Northallerton. The Wensleydale Creamery is a major producer of Wensleydale cheese.


There is no mention in the Domesday Book of a settlement where the current town is. There is little mention of the town until the 15th century when the population had risen enough for a chapel of ease to be built.

The place's name is derived from the Old Norse word hals, meaning "neck" or "pass between mountains".

The town was granted a charter to hold markets by King William III in 1699. It allowed for a weekly Tuesday market and two fairs a year. In 1887 an auction market was established in the town that held cattle sales fortnightly. In addition, five cattle fairs and three sheep fairs were held each year. Soon after, four cheese fairs spread over the year also became a regular event in the town.

The village once had a railway station that was the terminus of the Hawes branch of the Midland Railway and an end-on terminus of the line from Northallerton from its opening in 1878 to its closure in April 1954. British Railways kept the line to Garsdale Junction open for passengers until 1959. The Wensleydale Railway Association has plans to rebuild the railway from Northallerton (from its current western terminus at Redmire) to Garsdale including re-opening the station in the village.


Year 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1951 1961 2001 2011
Total 1,890 1,615 1,595 1,518 1,430 1,404 1,196 1,137 1,127 1,137

2001 census

The 2001 UK census showed that the population was split 50% male to 50% female. The religious constituency was made of 82% Christian, 1.5% Jewish and the rest stating no religion or not stating at all. The ethnic make-up was 97.9% White British, 1.3% White other, 0.5% Mixed ethnic and 0.3% Chinese. There were 601 dwellings.

2011 census

The 2011 UK census showed that the population was split 50.1% male to 49.91% female. The religious constituency was made of 70.8% Christian, 3.8% Buddhist, 0.1% Muslim and the rest stating no religion or not stating at all. The ethnic make-up was 91.4% White British, 3.5% White Other, 0.3% Mixed Ethnic, 4.2% British Asian and 0.4% each British Black. There were 683 dwellings.


The parish of Hawes covers the large areas of moorland on Dodd Fell, Snays Fell, Stags Fell and Widdale Fell and includes the River Ure tributaries of Widdale Beck and Gayle Beck. The latter flows through the town of Hawes. There are many abandoned lead mines, quarries and limekilns in the parish indicating its industrial past. A short distance form the town on Gayle Beck are the Aysgill Force waterfalls. The highest point in the parish is Great Knoutberry Hill at 672 metres (2,205 ft). The parish extends as far north as Hellgill Bridge along a narrow strip either side of the Ure.

The civil parish of Hawes also includes the neighbouring hamlets of Gayle, Appersett and Burtersett. The A684 road from Sedbergh to Osmotherley passes through the town and the B6255 begins at the western edge of the town and links it to Ingleton.

Community and culture

Wensleydale Creamery - - 1343509
Wensleydale Creamery

The main attraction is the Wensleydale Creamery Centre which was established by former workers of the original Hawes Dairy in 1992. It produces the eponymous cheese to traditional recipes following those first done by French monks in the 12th century. The centre has won many prestigious cheese awards, including Supreme Champion for its Wensleydale Blue in 2012. The cheeses produced by the Creamery are undergoing the final stages of an application for Protected Food Name Status.

Other local tourist attractions include the Dales Countryside Museum, based in the old Hawes railway station of the Wensleydale Railway, nearby Hardraw Force waterfall, and the Buttertubs Pass which links Wensleydale to Swaledale. Hawes has a regular market, as well as many shops, pubs and tearooms. Hawes is a centre for walking (hiking) the countryside and the Pennine Way passes through here. There is a Youth hostel located on Lancaster Terrace at the western end of the town.

Hawes Community Primary School provides primary education for the town and nearby settlements. It was established in 1878 and the school retains log books dating back to those dates. Pupils would receive secondary education at The Wensleydale School & Sixth Form in Leyburn. The town has a retained Fire Station, which means that they are crewed by firefighters who provide on-call cover from home or their place of work.


St Margaret's Church, Hawes - - 1599173
St Margaret's Church, Hawes

The church in Hawes is dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch. The current building was rebuilt in 1850 on the site of the former chapel of ease and is a Grade II listed building. There were Wesleyan and Congregational chapels in the village as well as the Sandemanians and a Friends Meeting House.

The Methodist Church in Hawes was built in 1856 and was part of the Wensleydale Circuit. It closed in 2015. Previously, as now, worshippers had to attend the chapel in nearby Gayle.

  • Clarke's Monthly Advertising Journal, for Leyburn, Middleham, Askrigg, Hawes, Sedbergh, and Kirkby Stephen, also for Dent and Swaledale. Hawes: Fletcher Clarke
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