One of the good things about Yorkshire is coming across places like Kildwick in areas that are otherwise quite ordinary. Traffic speeds past this lovely village on the busy A650 between Keighley and Skipton - blink and you've missed it. It wasn't always like this. Until the bypass was built Kildwick was spoilt by heavy traffic on its way to the Dales, coast and the Lakes, how things have changed. The village is now sleepy and you can hear the birds singing and the sounds of the countryside again.
Kildwick is blessed with having two main waterways running through it - the Leeds to Liverpool Canal and the River Aire, there are nice walks by the side of them both. Narrow boats are often moored on the canal which is just behind the church. It has become a desirable place to live - the quaint cottages and barn conversions are always sought after.
The church itself, St Andrews, is a real gem and a well-known landmark. Christians have been worshipping here for over 1000 years, it gets a mention in the Domesday book. The church is exceptionally long in proportion to its width, and is known as the 'Lang Kirk of Craven.' Saxon and Norman stones have been found built into the piers and chancel walls, but the church to which they belonged was destroyed by the Scots in the 14th century. A rare treasure is a cope made from a bridal outfit that belonged to the Imperial house of China. It was smuggled out of Peking in 1947 and presented to the church a few years later. The stout tower has a lovely old clock - a gift from W. Curwen of Steeton. Bright gold lettering advises us to 'Redeem the Time.'
Outside in the churchyard you can enjoy the elevated view over the village. There is an unusual tombstone in the shape of an organ, in memory of John Laycock who built the original church organ. The Organ Tombstone (Click)
The White Lion is a splendid pub and one of my favourites. It serves decent beer and great food, it also has a lovely beer garden. Kildwick Hall is at the top of the village. This is a C17th house with remnants of a C18th garden including gazebo and urns from the periods. It is now a private residence and was once a hotel and restaurant.
Kildwick Hall and Gardens (Click)
It is well worth stopping at Kildwick and having a walk round. There used to be a sign at the roadside that said 'Kildwick - Rest ye here awhile.' I suggest that you do, stay a while longer and discover the delights of nearby Farnhill.
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