North Yorkshire

Masham is a market town in the Harrogate former district of North Yorkshire.

The small town is close to the edge of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The town is well-known for its two breweries, Theakston's and the Black Sheep Brewery, both of which have visitor centres.

Masham has a market charter dating back to the mid-13th century. Its market place, surrounded by fine Georgian buildings, is huge for a town of Masham's size and stems from large sheep markets having being held there in the past.

Masham Sheep Fair (September 26-27, 2020) celebrates a time when as many as 70,000 sheep were sold there each year.

The town usually has an annual steam engine rally in mid-July in fields just north of the town, featuring traction engines and other steam-powered vehicles. The 2020 event is unfortunately cancelled due to the Covid19 outbreak.

Masham has a number of galleries and studios where local artists and craftspeople work, including a glassmaker producing glass ornaments.

 Town features

Masham is close to the Nidderdale National Landscape.
The town is on the River Ure and River Burn.
Masham has local traders and a supermarket. Masham offers butchers, clothes, crafts, sweets, an outdoor market (Wed Sat).
The town has a Post Office branch.
Masham has a choice of pubs.
Restaurant dining and cafes can be found in Masham.
Takeaway food outlets in the town include fish and chips, sandwiches.
There are public toilets in the town with limited hours of use.
Locations of toilets and opening times can be found at this North Yorkshire Council - Public toilets web page.. (8am-8pm).
Places of worship: Anglican, Methodist.
Places to stay in Masham include hotel, guest house, caravan, camping accommodation.


Bus travel

The town has buses to neighbouring towns and villages. Services to Ripon, Leyburn, Richmond.

Road travel

Masham can be reached via the A6108 B6267 B6268 .

Places to visit


One of Yorkshire's historic cities, Ripon has a cathedral dedicated in 672 which was founded by St Wilfred, the Abbot of the monestary of Ripon. The smallest of Yorkshire's seven cities, Ripon also continues ancient traditions, including The Ripon Hornblower who blows the horn at the town's Obelisk in its Market Place at 9pm each evening. Ripon also features some fascinating museums revealing its historic past: a Prison and Police Museum, a Workhouse Museum and Garden and a Courthouse Museum. Find out more about Ripon.

Leeming Bar station

The Wensleydale Railway

Scruton - Leeming Bar - Bedale - Finghall - Leyburn
A railway service into Wensleydale running from Scruton and Leeming Bar, near the A1(M) , towards Bedale, Finghall, Leyburn and, if reopened, to Redmire at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It operates a heritage diesel service and steam on some dates. The line was extended eastwards to Northallerton West, but the effects of flooding on a bridge at the end of 2015 resulted in that section of line remaining closed to passenger services. The railway company currently has aims of restoring a section of the track westward from Leyburn into the National Park at Redmire which has also been closed in recent years.

Further information at the  Wensleydale Railway website

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden

Fountains, near Ripon, North Yorkshire
A World Heritage site containing Britain's most complete Cistercian abbey ruins. Fountains Abbey dates from 1132 when it became the home of 13 monks. The water gardens in the wooded valley of the River Skell were a Georgian addition to the Studley Royal Estate with features including classical statues, follies and garden buildings. Also on the estate are the 12th century Fountains Mill, the early 17th century Fountains Hall, the Porter's Lodge exhibition in the abbey gatehouse, St Mary's Church, a splendid Victorian Gothic Church, and a deer park. The estate is off the B6265 Ripon to Pateley Bridge road about 3 miles south-west of Ripon and is managed by The National Trust.

Find out more at the  National Trust - Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal website.

Marmion Tower

Marmion Tower

West Tanfield
An impressive stone gatehouse to a lost manor house beside the River Ure which was once the manor of Elizabeth Parr, grandmother of Queen Katherine Parr, the sixth and last wife of King Henry VIII. The manor passed to Elizabeth Parr in 1513, but the gatehouse is now its only significant remains. The gatehouse was originally built during the latter part of the 14th century but has been remodelled several times. Its first floor has a splendid projecting oriel window. The 69 spiral steps of the tower can be climbed during its daily opening times. The tower is managed by English Heritage and there is no admission charge.
More information at the  English Heritage - Marmion Tower website.

Jervaulx Abbey

Jervaulx Abbey

Jervaulx, near East Witton, North Yorkshire
Jervaulx Abbey is the ruins of a Cistercian monastery dedicated in 1156. They are set in tranquil and beautiful parkland in Wensleydale, the valley of the River Ure. The abbey is privately-owned and became a visitor attraction, wedding venue and film and photography location after many years of conservation work at the end of the 20th century. A visitor centre displays a model of the abbey as it would have originally looked and the abbey also offers accommodation. The tea rooms at the venue were recently closed. Jervaulx is located along the A6108 about 5 miles south-east of Leyburn, 3 miles south-east of  Middleham and 5 miles north-west of Masham.

Find out more at the  Jervaulx Abbey website.
Find on map:  Jervaulx Abbey

Middleham Castle

Middleham Castle

Castle Hill, Middleham, North Yorkshire
Middleham has substantial remains of a castle built in stages between the 12th and 15th centuries, including a late 12th century keep which is one of the largest hall keeps in the country. Ditch and timber defences were not replaced with the low stone curtain wall until the early 14th century. It is notable as the place where, in the 1460s, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who later became King Richard III, spent several years of his youth under the guardianship of his cousin Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. During the War of the Roses, King Edward IV was imprisoned at Middleham Castle for a short time in 1469. The castle is managed by English Heritage.

More information at these  English Heritage - Middleham Castle web pages.
Find on map:  Middleham Castle

Lightwater Valley

Lightwater Valley

North Stainley
Lightwater Valley is a theme park in 70 hectares of countryside off the A6108 near North Stainley about 4 miles north-north-west of Ripon. It includes more than 40 rides and themed attractions aimed at under-12s.

Find  Lightwater Valley on map.

The World of James Herriot, Thirsk

The World of James Herriot

23 Kirkgate, Thirsk
This museum paying tribute to vet and author James Herriot offers a wealth of things to see at his original practice surgery. The writer, whose real name was James Alfred Wight, wrote a series of semi-autobiographical books through the 1970s which were adapted for two films and a popular BBC TV series. Alf Wight continued to write through the 1980s and early 1990s, focusing more on children's books later in his life. The museum presents the house as it would have been in the 1940s and has an air-raid shelter in the cellar. There is a big display of veterinary instruments from the past to the modern day, a farrier's workshop, a massive collection of James Herriot memorabilia and a behind the scenes look at TV's 'All Creatures Great and Small' including a restored vintage car used in the series.

Further information at  The World of James Herriot website. More about Thirsk  Find Thirsk on map

Thorp Perrow

Kings Keld Bank, near Snape, 2 miles south of Bedale
Thorp Perrow Arboretum has one of the UK's finest collection of trees, including rare trees and shrubs. Located alongside the woodlands is a Bird of Prey and Mammal Centre with birds from around the world. There are regular flying demonstations when the weather is good. The mammals include meerkats, wallabies, goats and rare breed sheep. Thorp Perrow also has a children's playground and tea room. In addition to its regular opening times, Thorp Perrow has a programme of special events and experience days.

More information at the  Thorp Perrow website.
Locate on map:  Thorp Perrow

Nidderdale National Landscape

Extending across an area of 232 square miles (600 sq km), the Nidderdale National Landscape starts 4 miles from Harrogate and 2 miles from Ripon. It covers an area between those towns and the Yorkshire Dales National Park, just a few miles further away. At its centre is the small town of Pateley Bridge. The area has a beautiful and varied landscape including rolling heather-topped moorland, stone-walled agricultural fields and farms, small villages, lake-like reservoirs and some outstanding geological features, the best known of which are Brimham Rocks. For more details see our Nidderdale page.

Yorkshire Dales National Park

After going through the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the 841 square miles (2,179 square kilometers) of the Yorkshire Dales National Park starts just 15 miles west of Ripon. Find out more on our Yorkshire Dales National Park page.

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

Masham Parish Council
Provides some local services in the area.
Link to council website:  Masham Parish Council

Unitary authority

North Yorkshire Council

The North Yorkshire Council is a new unitary authority formed from the previous County Council from April 1, 2023. It covers the existing county duties including highways, schools, libraries and transport planning over an area of 3,109 square miles while also taking over the responsibilities of the seven huge district authorities also created in 1974 — Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby — these including local planning, waste collection, street cleaning, parks and car parks, housing and markets serving a population of around 615,500*.

Councillors were elected to the County Council in 2022 and continue as councillors of the new North Yorkshire Council unitary authority. There have been a few by-elections to fill councillor vacancies since then.

Places in  North Yorkshire
Link to council website:  North Yorkshire Council

^ Area figure from ONS Standard Area Measurements 2022 (converted from hectares).
* Population figure from Census 2021 (combined total of former districts).
Contains public sector information licensed under the  Open Government Licence v3.0.

Political composition:

453CI 1311 NY Ind92 LC421
90 members

CI = Conservative & Independent    NY Ind = North Yorkshire Independents group   LC = Labour & Cooperative
Composition and groupings - source North Yorkshire Council (February 2024)

Strategic authority

York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority
The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority was created in December 2023 combining the unitary authority of York and the unitary authority of North Yorkshire — that created in April 2023 after the abolition of the county authority and its seven district authorities. The combined authority will run some functions under the new mayor elected in May 2024 as part of the government's so-called "Devolution deal" which ties the availablity of funding to the new governance arrangements. As well as having powers over housing development, transport and boosting skills and education across the 3,214 square miles of York and North Yorkshire, the elected mayor also takes on the role and functions of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner across the area.

Elected mayor: David Skaith Labour & Cooperative
 York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority website.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire
Covers the county of North Yorkshire and  City of York. This role is being transferred to the new elected mayor of York and North Yorkshire in 2024.
 Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire website.

Pre-election parliamentary constituency

Skipton and Ripon
Elected MP: Julian Smith Conservative

New parliamentary constituency

Skipton and Ripon
Boundaries of this constituency have been changed since the last General Election.

National government region

Yorkshire and the Humber

Ceremonial county

North Yorkshire


- 1974: Within the North Riding of Yorkshire.
1974 - 2023: In the Harrogate shire district of the North Yorkshire county.

Also in

In Harrogate district: Boroughbridge Harrogate Knaresborough Masham Pateley Bridge Ripon

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