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Traditional Ryedale - Villages
The picturesque villages of Ryedale are one of the district’s best assets. Whether visiting the moorland in the north, the beckside villages in the middle of Ryedale or those nestling amongst the rolling hills in the south, you will be equally rewarded. Some of the country’s best-known villages are in Ryedale, such as Thornton-le-Dale and Hutton-le-Hole, but many others have something special to offer. Distinctive landmarks of these villages include thatched cottages, sundials, village stocks, duck ponds and village greens.
The names of some of Ryedale’s villages, the legacy of the Romans and later Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman invaders, often sound nothing like their spelling when spoken by locals. Great Barugh (pronounced Barf), Aislaby (Ais-ul-by) and Normanby (Nor-ran-by) can all cause problems. The Wolds village of Thixendale is also worth noting. It takes its name from the sixteen dry valleys (Sixtendale) which converge at this point.
Village life is celebrated regularly with many village fairs, fetes, shows, exhibitions and open garden days being just some of the events held throughout the year. If you are in Ryedale, it is worth visiting these events, especially if you like crafts, art, gardening or simply a good day out.
Almost all of Ryedale’s villages have a hostelry, most of which serve good Yorkshire fare. Ryedale also has two breweries, at the New Inn at Cropton and the recently established Brass Castle Brewery in Malton, and first class restaurants. It is well worth stopping at a local inn to relax, enjoy the ambiance and listen to the local dialect, whilst planning the next stop on your tour of Ryedale’s villages.
Another pleasure of Ryedale villages is the rich culture hidden within. Many craft workshops are situated in the villages, and the visitor is able to buy direct whilst chatting with the craftsmen and women. Many of the crafts people are members of Brigantia, the local craft association, which took its name from the ancient tribes that lived in this area. The Association has recently opened a craft shop at Thornton-le-Dale.
Most of the land in Ryedale is used for farming. The highlights of the farming community are the agricultural shows, which take place throughout the summer. They offer an excellent day out and visitors will be entertained by best in breed competitions, dog shows, show jumping, produce contests, craft displays and many other activities. A livestock market takes place twice a week in Malton, when local farmers gather to auction their stock. Farmers markets are held periodically in Malton and Pickering. Street markets bring an added buzz to the towns: Monday – Pickering; Wednesday – Kirkbymoorside; Friday – Helmsley; Saturday – Malton.
Song and dance is well represented in Ryedale, with several theatres in the district offering a varied programme of arts and cultural events. The Helmsley Arts Centre has theatre and cinema, whilst the amateur arts groups make regular use of the Kirk Theatre at Pickering and the Milton Rooms at Malton. A contemporary programme of musicians, poets and speakers is offered at The Shed® in Brawby, near Malton. The Ryedale Festival is an annual event, held each summer, when classical music and arts events are held in a variety of venues from churches to stately homes. The historic houses also play their own part in Ryedale’s entertainment by holding many open air plays and concerts. Other musical events include jazz festivals, and folk nights and bands playing in local pubs. For information on events have a look at the Ryedale events and what's on section.