Airton Things to Do
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Airton is in Lower Malhamdale, so with the exception of Scosthrop Moor and Calton Moor to Weets Top, most of the walking is at lower levels. It is farmland - nearly all pasture for sheep and cattle rather than upland. However, it is still stunning beautiful Yorkshire Dales and it is possible to break off along footpaths in any direction and just explore secluded valleys and wonderful fields and woods.
It is best to use the Explorer 1:25,000 map (OL2 "Yorkshire Dales - Southern and Western areas") rather than the local 1:50,000 map. In pastureland, it is much more difficult to follow the route of the footpaths, especially in spring and winter. Although farmers are generally tolerant in this area, they are also nervous because there are many walkers in Malhamdale. Do use the 1:25,000 maps (because they show the field walls). Even then it can be difficult.
For me, the nicest walks are also the most simple ones - a variety of walks up or down the Aire Valley from Airton Mill; there are many paths crossing the river so there is an almost infinite number of permutations in just a few kilometres between Malham and Newfield. Tree lovers may be a little disappointed as its almost 100% ash, field maple and hawthorn but there is a hge variety of birds and the full range of limestone wildflowers.
There is an increasing range of books full of walks but the ones that cover Malhamdale are probably not worth it. With a map, the routes are fairly obvious and the books tend to focus on the "big ticket" walks around Malham Cove, Malham Tarn, Gordale Scar and Janet's Foss and little else.
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Pretty much all the houses in the village have a history, and there is an excellent booklet produced by the Lindon Guesthouse in Scosthrop. Although the booklet is for guests, I am sure that for a nominal fee, they will let you have a copy to read. This tells you about the history of the village and the individual houses (14 of them in Airton and Scosthrop are listed).
Note, however, that none of these buildings are open to the public.
The best-known building is the Friends Meeting House and the attached 'The Nook' dating from the late 17th Century. These days, there is a bunkhouse in the grounds of the Meeting House - very useful for Pennine Way walkers. The Quakers had a strong influence on the village and to this day, there is no pub in the village.
Although there are curently no shops in the village (although there are various farm shops nearby) this has not always been the case. 'Daisy Mount' on the south side of the Green once was an ice-cream shop (and a textile factory!) and Vipoint House next door was the Post Office (Vipoint House is the oldest house in the village).
A little further down the hill towards the mill, and opposite the Friends Meeting House, is three houses in what was originally one 17th Century house. In true Yorkshire style, there is a plaque with the initials of the original builders and the date of construction. This is very common on older houses, and it is a practice that is being restored with new buildings as well.
Although the village may seem quaint, rustic and maybe even a little isolated, don't make the mistake of thinking this is an area of housing bargains. A new house on the north edge of the Green (opposite the Squatters' Cottage) is selling for 600,000 ($1.2 million) and little sells in these parts for less than 250,000 ($500,000)!
The Green at Airton is the hub of the village, and at the north-west corner are two stone posts that originally held the village stocks.
But more prominent on the Green, is the Squatters' Cottage. In time gone by, if someone could build a house and get a fire burning in the grate in one day, the building - and they - could stay. In Airton, this was attempted several times, but the local villagers pulled the shack down during the night so preventing the obligation being fulfilled. But eventually someone managed to do it, and the cottage remains to this day. Contrary to popular perception (and all the photographs on a multitude of websites and in brochures, the Squatters' Cottage is not the rose-festooned cottage on the Green but its garage. Rather perversely, most of the photographs crop out the garage!
Opposite the Squatters' Cottage, to the north is a long line of cottages built for mill workers.
There is no Sunday or Bank Holiday service between Malham and Skipton, but there is a Summer Sunday (and Bank Holidays) service between Malham and Settle station (see separate similar tip for Malham).
This is intended just as a rough guide to the services. The times are accurate but several services operate along different routes, including some of the smaller villages (e.g. Calton, Otterburn and Hellifield) so check with the operator listed.
All these services are marketed by Dalesbus who also have online timetables at that website. I have created a separate tip (under Malham) for Dalesbus information.
Given the utterly woeful state of rural transport in the UK, the bus services to and from Airton, Kirby Malham and Malham are surprisingly frequent.
The downside is that the local online version of Traveline is completely useless and e-mail requests to improve the sitaution have gone unanswered. If you don't believe me, try it....enter Airton in the first box and Skipton in the second box. Despite being totally confused by this request (it wants you to choose from 14 mentions of Airton....yet there is only one bus-stop...duh!!!! and then three mentions of Skipton. Whichever you pick,it comes up with no service) Try the phone number instead 0871 200 22 33.
As a free public service, here are the bus times to/from Malhamdale in summer 2007. Times are for Malham (5-7 minutes later for Kirby Malham, 10-12 minutes later for Airton heading south; earlier if heading towards Malham)
[dep time/arr time]
Malham to Skipton Mon to Sat: 0800/0840; 1115/1240; 1118/1210 (Mon-Fri only); 1515 (only to Airton); 1635/1710; 1515/1810 (Mon-Fri only)
(first and penultimate journeys are PMS Route #210; the other four are Postbuses]
Skipton to Malham Mon Sat: 0635/07??; 0705/0750; 1425/1512; 1600/1635
(second and last journey is PMS #210; need to confirm arrival time of first bus as timetable suggests 0945 and that doesn't seem right!)
Additional Sat Only Service [Operator Stagecoach]
Malham to Skipton: 1045/1120; 1300/1335; 1430/1505; 1645/1720 (continues to Preston 1925)
Skipton to Malham: 1005/1040 (starts at Preston 0755); 1220/1255; 1350/1425; 1605/1640
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