During the 19th century, reading rooms were once commonplace across much of rural Yorkshire: they were places to congregate, educate, debate, and elucidate in a time long before mass media and 24-hour news. Practically every Dales hamlet had one, and one charming building sat in Oughtershaw, in the very heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The historic building opposite the village school has been refreshed to a high standard and is ready to warmly welcome guests as a two-bedroom cosy self-catering cottage.

Once patronised by the philanthropic Wood family, who owned nearby Oughtershaw Hall, the Reading Rooms retains all the period charm you could ask for. Topped by York stone roof tiles, surrounded by trimmed lawns and bordered by a tinkling beck, it looks like it could have stumbled straight from the pages of All Creatures Great And Small. Inside, elements of the building’s history are still on show – not least the chunky stone fireplace and the original A-frame timbers that underpin the roof.

The heart of the detached, streamside cottage is the charming double-height lounge, furnished with wooden floors, sisal rugs and warmed by a crackling wood-burning stove. From here, a timber staircase leads up to a mezzanine, the ideal place to settle in with a good book and a mug of tea of an evening. From the lounge, French doors lead out to the cottage’s riverside garden, where the clattering beck provides a constant soundtrack, and acts as a magnet for local wildlife in spring and summer.


Clive Sykes, owner, Catch The Breeze Retreats said: “We’re delighted to open the doors to a cottage perfectly marrying the historic nature of the building, with the luxurious cosiness of a self-catering property guests expect and enjoy. We can’t wait to welcome families and friends to the hamlet where renowned, award-winning pubs are within a short driving distance, and the market town of Hawes is only a few miles away.”

The Reading Rooms joins the Catch The Breeze Retreats collection, which already lists its neighbour Oughtershaw Hall within it.

Clive continued: “It’s wonderful to have Oughtershaw Hall and the hamlet’s Reading Rooms back in the same family once again, and we’ll ensure they are both well looked after and enjoyed by visitors for years to come.”

“One well-behaved dog aged one and over is also welcome, but we would advise that the cottage is not suitable for children under 10, due to the close proximity of the beck. There is ample parking on site for three cars and the train station of Ribblehead is closest to Oughtershaw.”

During a stay in Oughtershaw, it’s well worth visiting the Dales Countryside Museum, Ingleborough Caves, and Aysgarth Falls. Furthermore, there are beautiful walks for all ages and abilities from the property.