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Leyburn facts for kids

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Leyburn Market Square
Leyburn is located in North Yorkshire
Population 2,183 (2011 census)
OS grid reference SE114904
Civil parish
  • Leyburn
  • Richmondshire
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LEYBURN
Postcode district DL8
Dialling code 01969
Police North Yorkshire
Fire North Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament
  • Richmond
List of places
54°18′32″N 1°49′44″W / 54.309°N 1.829°W / 54.309; -1.829

Leyburn is a market town and civil parish in the district of Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, England, sitting above the northern bank of the River Ure in Wensleydale. Historically in the North Riding of Yorkshire, the name was derived from 'Ley' or 'Le' (clearing), and 'burn' (stream), meaning clearing by the stream. Leyburn had a population of 1,844 at the 2001 census increasing to 2,183 at the 2011 Census. The estimated population in 2015 was 2,190.

Town information and business

Leyburn had a population of 1,844 at the 2001 census, increasing to 2,183 at the 2011 Census, but this swells in summer with visitors to the Yorkshire Dales national park. Public services, with a primary school, a secondary school which serves the whole of Wensleydale, a police station and a medical centre. Several independently owned shops are situated around a market square with a number of pubs and bars. Shops include a small department store called Milners of Leyburn, Campbell's supermarket, a chocolate shop, a range of oriental takeaways, electrical stores and a hunting and sports shop. Leyburn is home to Tennants Auctioneers, the largest auction house in Europe which holds more than 80 sales each year and attracts buyers and sellers from around the world. In 2008 Tennants sold a rare Chinese vase for £2.6 million, a record price at the time. Adjacent to Tennants is The Garden Rooms, the largest multi-purpose events and exhibitions venue with a capacity for 640 people for weddings and concerts.

Although a small town, Leyburn has its own railway station on the re-opened Wensleydale Railway which offers tourist rides throughout the dale, mostly on diesel multiple units but occasionally on a steam train. The town of Leyburn has a 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) antiques centre on Harmby Road. The town also has a local market in the town centre every Friday and a farmers' market which specialises in local meats once a month.

Leyburn has appeared in various television programmes including The Department Store: Milner's, on BBC Four in 2008, and the 1960s-set drama series, Heartbeat.

Leyburn has two hotels and several bed and breakfasts situated in or close to the town centre. The town is a centre for walking, cycling and general sight-seeing, especially the waterfalls for which Wensleydale is renowned. The town is famous for the Leyburn Shawl, an escarpment of about 1.5 miles in length which provides panoramic views of rolling Wensleydale. According to legend, Mary, Queen of Scots, upon fleeing captivity in nearby Bolton Castle, dropped her shawl en route to Leyburn. The Shawl is the start of several circular walks taking in the nearby village of Wensley, from where Wensleydale takes its name.

Leyburn Golf Club (now defunct) was founded in 1895. The club continued until the late 1950s.

Annual events

Annually there is a Dales Festival of Food and Drink, held Saturday 18 and 19 June 2016.

There is an annual 1940s weekend, which takes place each year at the end of July.

Wensleydale agricultural show takes place on the third Saturday in August. Saturday 23 August 2014 will mark the 100th Wensleydale Show.

The local Rotary Club sponsors the annual Wensleydale Wander in March or April, organised walks of 12 miles (19 km) and 22 miles (35 km).


Leyburn is a gateway town to the Yorkshire Dales National Park and relies heavily on tourism, the national park attracted 520,000 overnight visitors in 2017.

Market Day at Leyburn. - - 111411
Leyburn Marketplace

The market place is home to several shops, pubs, and restaurants, including national retailers Co-op Food and One Stop, as well as notable independent businesses such as the department store Milners of Leyburn, which opened in 1882 and is currently in its fifth generation of family ownership, and Campbell's of Leyburn, a grocers dating back to 1868. A traditional outdoor market is held in the square every Friday, along with a livestock auction mart that started in 1918.

Bolton Arms Hotel, Leyburn, North Yorkshire
Bolton Arms Hotel

Other businesses and industries located outside the market place include a local brewery, a chocolate maker and a Royal Mail delivery office.

Tennants Auctioneers, situated on Harmby road, is one of the largest auction houses in the UK, holding more than 80 sales each year and attracting buyers and sellers from around the world. Adjacent to Tennants is The Garden Rooms, a multi-purpose events and exhibitions venue with a capacity for 640 people.

Commercial Square, Leyburn - - 567153
Commercial Square

According to the 2011 United Kingdom census, the economic activity of residents aged 16–74 was 43.5% in full-time employment, 5.0% in part-time employment, 21.0% self-employed, 3.1% unemployed, 2.2% students with jobs, 2.0% students without jobs, 19.7% retired, 0.4% looking after home or family, 2.1% permanently sick or disabled, and 0.8% economically inactive for other reasons.

The average price of a house in Leyburn for the 12-month period ending February 2020 was £197,750 compared to £223,537 for North Yorkshire and the national average of £232,320.


According to the 2011 United Kingdom census, the ward of Leyburn (including Harmby) had a total resident population of 2,554, with 1,335 females and 1,219 males. 98.2% of the population identified as white British, 1.1% as other white, a total of 1.8% identified as being of a non-white ethnic background including 0.5% Asian British, and 0.7% as black, Afro-Caribbean or black British. The place of birth of the town's residents was 95.5% United Kingdom, 1.5% from European Union countries, and 2.5% from elsewhere in the world. 75.6% described themselves as having religious beliefs; 74.9% of those were Christian, 0.8% is made up of all other religions, the largest being buddhism at 0.4%, 16.2% stated they had no religion and 8.2% did not state a religion.

The following table shows historic population changes in the Leyburn parish area between 1881 and 1961.

Year 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1951 1961
Population 972 982 847 832 868 1,440 1,281 1,357


The town's secondary school, The Wensleydale School, has just over 500 pupils, with a catchment are spanning through most of Wensleydale, the school has a sixth form with around 80 students enrolled. In 2006, Wensleydale School became a Specialist Science College under a programme discontinued in 2010.

The town's primary school is Leyburn Community Primary School, from where a vast majority of the pupils proceed to the Wensleydale School for secondary education, in 2017 the school became an academy. Leyburn's second primary school, St Peter and St Paul RC primary school dated back to 1835, but in 2011 it was closed due to financially unviable pupil numbers, having just 15 pupils in its last academic year.


Leyburn railway station with diesel-electric locomotive, Wensleydale Railway, Yorkshire
Leyburn railway station

Leyburn has its own railway station on the heritage Wensleydale Railway, this is the last stop westbound before the terminus at Redmire, trains also run eastbound towards Bedale and Northallerton.

Local bus services to Hawes, Northallerton, Richmond and Ripon are provided by Dales & District.

The town lies on a crossroads of the A684 road between Northallerton and Kendal, and the A6108 between Scotch Corner and Ripon.

Notable people

Leyburn is the home town of footballer Michael Dawson and his elder brother, Andy.

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