Hard Banks Ice Cream Parlour

Monday 4 November, 2019, by Karen Griffiths

We had an exciting trip out to visit Gillian Harrison of Wensleydale Ice Cream last week to discuss how we can work together to deliver our dairying heritage stories to the public. We met up in their brand new venture Hard Banks Ice Cream Parlour which is in a converted barn just off the A684 near Aysgarth.

Hard Banks Barn as you approach it from the car park
Hard Banks Barn as you approach it from the car park

They’ve done a wonderful job converting the barn inside and out – retaining the look and feel (but none of the cobwebs and hay!) of the original building.

Entrance to the ice cream parlour
Entrance to the ice cream parlour
Huge choice of ice cream!
Huge choice of ice cream!
The old hay mew
The old hay mew

We did a little bit of research on the barn prior to meeting Gillian and were absolutely delighted to find that in the early nineteenth century it was one of two barns belonging to the farm that we surveyed up in Thornton Rust earlier this year, called Manor House. This was a typical small dairy farm with lots of original features still in place like the cheese press and dairy shelves.

In 1839 when the Tithe Awards were recorded for Thornton Rust it was tenanted by Simon Thwaite and his wife Agnes. It was her that would have been turning the milk from cows grazed on Hard Banks into valuable cheese and butter. And it’s her that may have been bucketing the whey left over from cheese-making and pouring it down the two stone chutes to feed the pigs in the sty just across the yard from the dairy.

Pig sty across the yard with swill chutes
Pig sty across the yard with swill chutes

The farm was owned by a gentleman named Edward Tennant. We noticed the initials E T carved over the barn’s doorway along with the date 1796. It’s not too hard a stretch to imagine that this huge late eighteenth century barn was erected by the landowner as part of agricultural ‘improvements’ so popular at that time.

Hard Banks Barn datestone
Hard Banks Barn datestone

We’re really looking forward to producing interpretation for Gillian, helping her share some of these fascinating stories with her customers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Picture of Karen Griffiths

Karen Griffiths

Interpretation Officer for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Website: www.yorkshiredales.org.uk

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