The pretty village of Lealholm (the name means ‘the settlement by the willow trees’) is within walking distance of Old Bears Barn and offers a village shop, post office, plant nursery, tea rooms and pub as well as having sites of local historical interest and easy access to walking trails (the Esk Valley Walk passes through the village). There is also a car park in the village.
Mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086 the village is situated midway along the Esk Valley between the villages of Glaisdale to the east and Danby to the west. With the river Esk flowing through it, crossed by the locally-revered stepping stones, Lealholm was once named by The Sunday Times as the prettiest village in Yorkshire.
The village was home to John Castillo (1792-1845), ‘Bard of the Dales’, a renowned poet treasured for ‘rescuing’ the ancient language of the dales from oblivion; Poets Cottage Shrub Nursery is now on the site of his former home. Frank Meadow Sutcliffe (1853-1941), a famous Victorian photographer based in Whitby, was a regular visitor to Lealholmside for his work and local people and locations appear in many of his images (you’ll find reproductions gracing the walls at Old Bears Barn).
Lealholm station, situated between Old Bears Barn and the village, is on the route of the Esk Valley railway line, which connects rural communities between Whitby and Middlesbrough and offers an alternative way to explore the magnificent landscape and lovely villages.