Remotely located in the North Yorkshire Moors and set in a peaceful rugged landscape, Goathland provides an ideal destination to escape the rigours of modern life. The name is most likely of Norse origin, meaning 'Goda's land'.
Goathland Village Green © Hannah Brownlie
The village lies high up in the moors, where old stone cottages are widely spread over common land. Black-faced Swaledale sheep and occasional horses graze freely between the houses and over the moors. Although the settlement dates back to the 12th century very few of the current buildings are earlier than 19th-c. The modern church of St Mary's, built in the 1890s to a sympathetic design by W. H. Brierley, fits snuggly into the village.
Goathland Stores © Hannah Brownlie
The area is known for the Plough Stots ('stot' means bullock), with local groups who perform traditional dances. On Plough Monday a special service is held to bless the plough. After which teams of sword dancers in pink and blue dress perform sword dances. The plough is then dragged around the village collecting money for the Plough Monday celebration.
The village has many useful amenities including a pub, museum, tearoom, convenience store and a post office.
Minor roads and footpaths lead out of the village in all directions, making Goathland an ideal destination for walkers and ramblers. The surrounding moorland is laced with a network of streams and 'fosses' (waterfalls). In particular, Mallyan Spout, is a pretty long-drop waterfall located in a wooded dell to the southwest. Also, the picturesquely sited Thomason Foss Waterfall, near the pretty hamlet of Beck Hole, about a mile northwest. For those interested in exploring the area on foot the useful booklet 'Walks around Goathland' is available from local shops in the village.
The moors here are also popular with archaeologists, naturalists and historians, who come to study its prehistoric remains, such as earthworks, crosses and standing stones. During the 1st century the old Roman road, 'Wade's Way', cut its way across the moors from Malton to Whitby. Not far from the village a large paved section of the road is still visible, complete with functional drainage culverts.
Heartbeat TV Prop © Hannah Brownlie
The North Yorkshire Moors Heritage Steam Railway runs through the village. Planned by George Stephenson in 1833, the railway was closed under the Beeching Plan in the 60s. It reopened again in 1973 under the control of a preservation society. Bygone steam trains regularly wend their way from Whitby, across the rugged moors, to the terminus at Grosmont in the north. The attractive stone-built Goathland station recently earned celebrity status as ‘Hogsmeade’ in the first Harry Potter film, and earlier as Aidensfield Station in the ITV programmes Heartbeat. For details visit the North Yorkshire Moors Railway website.