Littondale is a quiet little dale off Upper Wharfedale. The shallow River Skirfare meanders across the farmed valley floor. It disappears below ground for much of the year north of the hamlet of Litton. This exposes a dry, rocky bed, one of the unusual features of limestone landscapes.
Monks and farmers
The dale is a classic u-shaped glacial valley with good farmland along the valley bottom. Not surprisingly, the dale has been settled for thousands of years. Archaeologists have discovered a number of prehistoric and later settlements along its length and during the medieval era the dale was almost completely owned by monastic houses. From an earlier period comes an Anglo-Saxon reliquary – a box that held an item of Christian religious significance like a piece of bone from a saint . This was found in the dale a few years ago and now on display in the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.
As seen on screen
The main villages in Littondale are Arncliffe and Litton. Here you will find accommodation and a pub in each – the Falcon and the Queens Arms. Arncliffe was the outdoor location for the original TV series of ‘Emmerdale Farm’ with the Falcon appearing as the Woolpack Inn.
There are also places to stay further up the valley at Halton Gill. This tiny settlement featured in the 2012 horror film ‘The Woman in Black’ starring Daniel Radcliffe.
From Arncliffe and Halton Gill there are narrow unfenced roads which head south alongside steep-sided valleys leading through to Malham and Stainforth.