North Yorkshire

Embsay is a village in the Craven district of North Yorkshire.

Embsay is two miles north-east of the market town of Skipton.

Part of the village is within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Embsay Crag, high above the village, provides commanding views across Embsay, Skipton and the edges of the National Park.

On the hillside below the Crag is Embsay Reservoir which, as well as collecting water, provides an attractive facility for local walks, anglers and sailing enthusiasts.

Embsay ReservoirEmbsay StationThe village station once served the railway line from Skipton to Ilkley, which was closed by the Beeching axe in 1965. A section of the line was restored by enthusiasts in 1981 and Embsay station is now the terminus of the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. Heritage railway services are provided to Bolton Abbey station, about a mile on foot from the priory beside and River Wharfe. See further information below.

Embsay CragSt Mary the Virgin Church, Embsay with EastbyEmbsay and Eastby Village InstituteThe Church of St Mary the Virgin in the village dates from 1853 but is built on a much more historic site, that of Embsay Priory with origins in 1120. After the monks there founded Bolton Priory at Bolton Abbey over 30 years later, the Embsay Priory remained as an outpost of the new grand priory until the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century.

Embsay has several historic buildings, ranging from farm houses of the 17th and 18th centuries to relics of a varied past industry in the village. The Crown Spindle Works, high above the village, originally produced spindles for the textile industry, but was taken over by The Crown during the Crimean War, between 1853 and 1856, to produce bayonets. Primrose Mill was by the early 1900s being used for tobacco before later becoming the location of the Embsay Tannery, but has now been mostly redeveloped for new houses. Millholme Mills was involved in woollen textiles and is now being redeveloped as Embsay Mill, providing business space for companies including a craft fabric company, auctioneer and gym.

While much of the village's industrial past has been redeveloped, industry continues in the Embsay area at the Skipton Quarry which provides crushed rock and ballast for road building and railways.

 Village features

The village is on the Embsay Beck.
Embsay is at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Embsay has a station on one of Yorkshire's heritage railways.
Embsay has pubs - Elm Tree Inn and The Cavendish Arms.
Embsay has a shop.
The village has a Post Office.
The village has a cafe. . There is a coffee shop at the station.
Places to stay in Embsay include guest house, inn accommodation.
Embsay has a village hall - Embsay and Eastby Village Institute.
Embsay has a school.
Place of worship: Anglican, Methodist.


Bus travel

The village has buses connecting to the town centre. of Skipton.


Embsay has a station on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, one of Yorkshire's heritage railways. See 'Places to visit' below.

Places to visit

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Much of the Craven district is within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The National Park offers mountain peaks, beautiful river valleys, attractive villages with country inns, ruined abbeys and some of the finest limestone scenery in the UK with limestone pavements, dry valleys, potholes and underground caves. The area offers excellent hiking and walking territory with paths and trails for people of all abilities. It is a centre for potholing and caving, has mountain bike routes and offers plenty of opportunity to study its rich wildlife. For more information see our page dedicated to the Yorkshire Dales.

Malham Cove


Malham is a small village in a hill farming community in the Yorkshire Dales National Park which has for many years attracted tourists, walkers and geographers as the location of some of the country's most magnificent limestone scenery. Find out more about Malham.

Bolton Priory and River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey

Bolton Priory

Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire
The beautiful setting at Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of the most visited monastic sites in Yorkshire. Beside the River Wharfe are the ruins of Bolton Priory, where the nave of the priory church still survives as a parish church. The Augustinian priory was founded in 1154 and continued until the dissolution in 1539. The abbey has been carefully managed by the Devonshire family since 1755 and now has day-fee car parking (£15 a car or £12.50 pre-booked, as at July 2022), also gift shops, tea rooms, restaurants and facilities for weddings and corporate events. There is an extensive network of footpaths around the estate and one ancient right of way is the 60 stepping stones across the River Wharfe. Other paths lead into the ancient Strid Wood beside the river. Bolton Abbey is 5 miles east-north-east of Skipton (7 miles by road) and 5 miles north-west of Ilkley.

More information at  Bolton Abbey visitor website and at the  Priory Church website.
Find on map:  Bolton Abbey

Skipton Castle

Skipton Castle

The Bailey, Skipton, North Yorkshire
Skipton Castle is one of England's best restored medieval castles, standing between the town of Skipton and the top of a rocky cliff over the Eller Beck. The castle was first built as a Norman fort at the end of the 11th century, but was replaced in stone and in the early 14th century turned into a formidable stronghold after being granted to the Clifford family by King Edward II. Inside, the castle reveals how it was modified over the centuries, including a charming early Tudor courtyard with a yew tree growing at its centre. The castle was the scene of a Royalist last stand in the north during the English Civil War when it withstood a three-year siege until 1645. After the castle yielded, it was ruined by the Parliamentarians in the winter of 1648-9, but between 1657 and 1658 Lady Anne Clifford saw it carefully restored. The castle is open daily.

Find out more at  Skipton Castle website.
Find on map:  Skipton Castle

Embsay station

Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway

1903 Electric Autocar at EmbsayBolton Abbey stationEmbsay, near Skipton, to Bolton Abbey station
Operates from Embsay, about 1.5 miles from Skipton, to Bolton Abbey station about a mile away from the attractive priory ruins and beauty spot beside the River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey. The railway runs trains on most days during the summer and at weekends at other times of year, except January. It also has a range of special weekend events, dining trains and footplate and signal box experience courses. Tank engines are the mainstay of steam operations on the line, but the railway also has a collection of historic diesel locomotives. Also running on the line some days is a restored hybrid electric railcar, which was way ahead of its time when built in York in 1903.

More information at the  Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway website.
Find on map:  Embsay Station

Ingleborough Cave

Ingleborough Cave

Near Clapham
This show cave about a 1-mile walk from the centre of Clapham village is one of the natural wonders of the Yorkshire Dales which has been attracting visitors over a period of 180 years. Underground tours along concrete paths in floodlit passages reveal a world of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is open daily from mid-February to the end of October. Not to be missed if visiting the cave is Trow Gill, a short walk further up the valley from the cave entrance. The spectacular ravine was carved by the melt waters of the ice age.

More information at the  Ingleborough Cave website.
Find on map:  Ingleborough Cave

Kilnsey Park

Kilnsey Park

Kilnsey Park Estate, off B6160 at Kilnsey
The scenic Kilnsey Park Estate has a cafe, local produce shop and an activity centre centred around its trout farm, offering fly fishing and family fun fishing lakes. It also offers an insight into nature through its trout raceways, reserve of wildflowers, red squirrel enclosure, butterfly gardens and bee observation hive and has farm animals and children's play areas.

More information at the  Kilnsey Park Estate website.
Find on map:  Kilnsey Park

Stump Cross Caverns

Stump Cross Caverns

On B6265 Hebden Road, near Greenhow Hill
Situated around 5 miles west-south-west of Pateley Bridge, Stump Cross Caverns are show caves with some impressive stalactites and stalagmites among the limestone features reached by steps leading beneath the ground. A cafe with fine views across the nearby hills is also situated at the show cave entrance.

Find on map:  Stump Cross Caverns

Emergency services

North Yorkshire Police  North Yorkshire Police website.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service  North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust  Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust website.

Local government

Civil parish council

Embsay with Eastby Parish Council
Provides some local services in the area.
Link to council website:  Embsay with Eastby Parish Council

District authority

Craven District Council

Craven District Council is one of the seven large district authorities within the county of North Yorkshire.

It covers more than 450 square miles of the western area of North Yorkshire with its administrative centre in Skipton.

It has boundaries with the Richmondshire and Harrogate districts of North Yorkshire, the Bradford district of West Yorkshire and with Lancashire and Cumbria, including parts of both counties which were formerly in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Much of the district is within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The council is made up of 30 councillors. They are elected for 4-year terms with one-third of the council elected each year in three out of four years.

The  North Yorkshire County Council will absorb the services of Craven District Council and six other district councils as a unitary authority area of more than 3,100 square miles from April 2023.

Link to  Craven District Council website.

The political composition after the May 2019 election was:

151 Con Ind832 1
30 members

County authority

North Yorkshire County Council
Includes Craven and six other non-unitary districts of North Yorkshire.
 North Yorkshire County Council website.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire
Covers the county of North Yorkshire and  City of York.
 Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire website.

National government region

Yorkshire and the Humber

Ceremonial county

North Yorkshire


-1974 In the West Riding of Yorkshire.

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