Burnsall, Yorkshire

Burnsall from the south, Yorkshire | Then and now

View from the south

To reach the view from the south, I drive through the winding main street of Burnsall on the B6160, the road from Threshfield to Barden. Entering the village, on my left lies the village hall and the parish church of St Wilfrid with its graveyard. In the first bend, the Old Methodist Church, now Hebden Lodge Nursery & Pre-School, catches my eye. The building has a spire on top of the slender church tower, rather unusual for a former Methodist house of worship. The barns along the street, once part of the farmhouses on the main street, are all converted to private dwellings, as the farmhouses are. Another two bends further, on the left, the village pub and hotel, The Red Lion, with a few hikers on the terras enjoying a drink.

To the left, Burnsall Bridge and the road to Appletreewick, a few miles on. I take a turn to the right, with The Green and the River Wharfe on my left. After 250 yards, the road bends again to the left and continues straight uphill. Leaving the village, I park my car on a layby, where you can start a hike steeply up to Barden Moor and its two upland freshwater reservoirs, Upper Barden Reservoir and Lower Barden Reservoir. But I have to descent back on the main road to find the place where the old postcard with a view of Burnsall was taken.

Burnsall from the south, Yorkshire | Then

The postcard is taken in the late 1930s or the 1940s by Walter Scott. Walter Scott (1878-1947) was a photographer who began publishing postcards in Bradford in 1905.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park website describes Burnsall as “one of the most beautiful villages in Wharfedale.” It lies on a bend of the River Wharfe “surrounded by a spectacular circle of fells. The village was originally an Anglo-Viking settlement and the parish church still contains rare Viking and Anglo-Saxon carved stones which are well-worth a visit.”

The village is enclosed by many trees, with dry-walled pastures and the moor more uphill. Some sheep are grazing in the field in front of the 17th-century five-arched Burnsall Bridge, which gives the village extra charm and character. Most of the buildings in the village are embedded between the bridge and the Church of St Wilfrid.

The resemblance more than 80 years later is rather striking, with more trees and more farm buildings on the left.

Burnsall from the south, Yorkshire | Now

End 1930s - 1940s
End 1930s – 1940s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *