If your only experience of Spofforth is passing through it on the way to Harrogate or Wetherby, you might never have given it much thought. But park your car and have a look around and you’ll find a lovely village with much more to it than just the A661.
Spofforth grew out of a crossing place over the River Crimple, and there is still a sizeable kink in the road here, where the causeway crosses the soggy valley bottom.
The underlying pink gritstone made for solid foundations and to this day, many of the oldest houses, which tend to be clustered near the ancient All Saints’ church, are built from it – and in some cases directly onto it.
The oldest structure is the ruin of Spofforth Castle, which was the seat of the Percy family before they moved north to become the Dukes of Northumberland.
The village seems none the poorer for their leaving. It not only still has its post office and village shop, which sells local produce, hot and cold food and alcohol, but a well-established ladies’ hair salon as well.
It also has two pubs, both with beer gardens, which book-end the main street. There’s an excellent school, Spofforth CE Primary School (Good, Ofsted 2017), as well as the Millennium Garden and Ginny Greenholes, a play area that was designed by local children and has a wildflower meadow and wildlife-friendly orchard.
The Long Memorial Hall hosts weekly yoga sessions, dog training, line dancing, needle craft and a mother and toddler play group.
Spofforth Cricket Club has excellent facilities and an outstanding track-record, and Spofforth Golf Course offers 18 holes of pay-and-play.
The Harland Way cycle route follows the old Spofforth to Wetherby railway track-bed, continues to Thorp Arch and may yet be extended to Tadcaster and York.
If all this sounds beguiling, you may be interested in one of the following three properties, which are among 10 currently for sale in and around the village.
Steam Cottage is a stone-built cottage believed to date back to the early 18th century. It has been comprehensively renovated and its 1,600 sq ft of accommodation now includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a landing study area. Downstairs, there’s a large dining kitchen with underfloor heating, a similarly spacious living room, utility room and boot-room.
Outside, there’s an adjoining double-length carport and long landscaped gardens with large Indian flagstone patio adjoining the house.
Hartswood Cottage on Castle Street is a spacious, late 18th century semi-detached cottage overlooking Castle Garth, right in the heart of the village. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, two reception rooms, a garden room and garden store. Outside there are gardens to the front and back, as well as a greenhouse and sizeable stone-built outbuilding with garage.
Finally, 5 Beech Terrace is a lovely stone-built end-of-terrace cottage with two bedrooms, bathroom, downstairs cloakroom, kitchen, hallway and a conservatory.
Outside, the front garden belongs to a neighbour, but the vendor has a right of access to his property and to his storage shed. There is also a small area of land beyond the shed owned by the vendor.