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Visit the Dales


Churn stands

Belted Galloways near Grassington
Photographer: Paul Harris
Belted Galloways near Grassington


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The churn stand is a piece of twentieth century archaeology. There are an especially high number within the Dales, and in some parts of the National Park there may literally be a churn stand for every farm.

What is a churn stand?

These roadside platforms were built to allow easy loading of milk churns onto trucks, and perhaps initially even onto carts. The milk was collected and taken to some of the larger dairies, at Hawes, Skipton and even Leeds. Eventually new regulations changed the way milk was transported. Instead tankers were introduced to collect the milk directly from storage tanks in the farm dairy.

What do they look like? 

As far as we know, the stands are simple structures, rectangular or square in plan and normally stone built. They sometimes have a stone slate covering, but more frequently a macadamised or concrete platform for the churns to rest on.

How vulnerable are they? 

Churn stands are quite vulnerable to falling into disrepair. They frequently have no modern use and as they are by roadsides their stone is easy to remove for other building projects. Despite this they tend to blend in quite well. We believe many of them will survive having largely been unnoticed over the last forty years or so.


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