Buckden to Cray to Hubberholme loop with lunch at The George Inn
Updated: Oct 31, 2022
I regularly drive through upper Wharfedale on my All Creatures Great & Small tours, stopping at Hubberholme to visit the church of St Michael and All Angels where the interior was used for the filming of Janes & Helen’s wedding in series 3. Sadly the pub The George pub across the road is often closed during the day midweek, but a friend of mine had raved on about a Sunday lunch there and so I decided to book in and find a walk which would tie in with this.
I found the Buckden, Cray & Hubberholme loop on the Yorkshire Dales National Park website and roped in my wife and some friends to join me.
We drove to Buckden and parked up in the National parks car park, where it was £5 to park all day. The walk description online said the walk was 4 miles but I did plot the walk on my OS Maps app and its actual distance was just over 5 miles. We’d booked lunch for 12.30 so with 3.6 miles to the pub had an hour and 50 to get there.
The first part of the walk leaves the car park through the gate and heads uphill straight away, following the sign to Buckden Pike and Cray. It is quite a steep climb to start with on a rough stone path.
There are some great views up Wharfedale towards Hubberholme as we climbed and we spotted a herd of belted Galloway cattle grazing on the slope.
The climb levels out after about a kilometre and we ignored the sign off to Buckden Pike on the right and carried on the path along the valley side through a number of gates along Buckden Rake until we could see Cray village.
Here there is a path which drops down on the left to Cray. It is quite a steep descent and whilst the weather was ok when we started, the earlier rain had meant that the limestone was very slippy so we took our time descending to the road.
Just before the road, we crossed Cray Gill over some stepping stones and met the road with the White Lion at Cray across the road.
We followed a path behind the pub and climbed around the valley head following the red markers to keep to the path and avoid degradation of the meadow.
Again there were stunning views back towards Buckden with dry stone walls, meadows and limestone pavement sitting above some woods.
Eventually the path meets some exposed limestone where we descended to Scar House Farm. Travelling around the right hand side of the farm, we met a relatively new concrete path signed to Hubberholme and descended down into Langstrothdale in Upper Wharfedale and the valley bottom.
Eventually we met the Dalesway path at St.Michael & All Angels Church. With it being a couple of weeks to Remembrance Sunday there was a wonderful display of poppies outside the church in memory of the fallen of the village.
Much of the church dates back to the 12th century but it was also extended in the 16th century. As mentioned earlier, more recently it hosted the wedding of James & Helen in All Creatures Great and Small But its other claim to fame is that the pews, choir stalls and chairs are made by Robert Thomson – the Mouseman of Kilburn who has carved his signature mouse on the items. Playwright J.B. Priestly’s ashes are also buried in the churchyard.
It had just started to rain when we arrived at the pub, but as we entered The George Inn the roaring stove and warm welcome from Landlord Ed Jackson was in complete opposite to the conditions outside.
The candle was burning on the bar – a George Inn Tradition.
The story with the candle relates to the building at one point being the vicarage for St.Michael & All Angels Church. The vicar would leave a candle in the window so that parishioners knew he was in and they were welcome to call in.
In 1754 the building became a pub called The George but was still owned by the church. The lighting of the candle whenever the pub was open continued.
But there is even more to the tradition – on the first Monday of the New Year there is a meeting of the Hubberholme Parliament where an auction takes place for 16 acres of land still owned by the church. Bidding starts when the candle is lit and the final bid when the candle extinguishes itself wins the use of the land to graze sheep or cattle for the following 12 months. By all accounts it is a grand old night which raises funds for local charities and often involves some musical accompaniment from the local vicar!
Drinks wise I had a pint of The George Inn Ale, a golden copper session ale made specially for the pub by Wensleydale Brewery – it was great. My pal Paul who likes his Guiness had a pint (or two ) of Wensleydale Brewery Black Dub stout.
On Sunday’s The George only offers a Sunday lunch option – today we had the choice of Roast Lamb, Roast Beef a mix of both or a vegetarian option.
The Roast dinner was awesome - as I couldn’t make my mind up I had the mix of lamb and beef. As my friend Paul can only eat Gluten free food I had to eat his Yorkshire Pudding as well as my own!
We all had the sticky toffee pudding for desert. Again it was wonderful and whilst we were all stuffed we still had a mile and a half to walk back to the car.
After saying our good byes, we headed off down the road for half a mile down Dubbs Lane past Grange Farm. The rain had stopped and there was even some blue sky trying to show through the grey skies.
Eventually we met a path off to our left signed Buckden Bridge which followed a lovely flat path next to the River Wharfe.
Eventually we could see the village of Buckden in the distance and then met the road finally crossing over a narrow bridge before making our way back up to the car park.
This is a great short walk which ticks a number of boxes – great views & scenery, not too long a distance and a top place for refreshments. Hope you enjoyed my photos.
The full route description can be found on the link below – but remember it is actually a mile longer!