The scenic hillside village of Glaisdale is on the Esk Valley Railway, which runs from Whitby to Middlesbrough. Farming has always been important, but the village expanded in the nineteenth century when iron ore began to be mined in the surrounding hills. The village still has its characteristic terraces of slate-roofed houses built to accommodate the ironstone miners and workers. Peter Walker was born in Glaisdale and spent his childhood in the village. He’s better known as Nicholas Rhea, author of the ‘Constable’ series of books – which inspired the long-running ‘Heartbeat’ TV series, filmed in nearby Goathland.
At the eastern end of Glaisdale, a mile from the village, the road drops steeply down into the richly wooded valley of the River Esk. Here – near the station – is the well-loved, high-arched packhorse bridge known as Beggar's Bridge. Marked with the date 1619 and the initials “T F”, Beggar’s Bridge was built by one Thomas Ferres, who was Sheriff and, later, Mayor of Hull but originally the impoverished son of a Glaisdale farmer. As a youth, Thomas not only had to wade across the river every time he wanted to court his sweetheart Agnes, the local squire’s daughter, but also contend with her father who refused him her hand in marriage. Off went Thomas to seek his fortune and on his return he claimed his bride. When Agnes died, he built Glaisdale’s charming bridge as a memorial to her and symbol of his devotion.
Esk Valley Theatre
Glaisdale’s own professional theatre company, Esk Valley Theatre, is a real feather in the cap for the local community. There’s an annual production each August and other events throughout the year, held at the village’s Robinson Institute.
Various lovely walks set off from Glaisdale, including the route to Egton Bridge through Arncliffe Woods, along the old packhorse way made of stone trods.
Glaisdale is also on the waymarked 37-mile Esk Valley Walk, which runs from the River Esk’s high moorland source to the coast at Whitby.
Many other walkers come across the moors and down to Glaisdale following Wainwright’s famous Coast to Coast Walk, which passes through the village.