Kettlewell is one of the most attractive villages in the Dales, benefiting from a dramatic position in the middle of Wharfedale and from being just off the main road through the valley, which only touches the western edge of the village. A number of ancient routes pass through the village, including the Roman road from Iklley to Bainbridge, a monastic route over the hills down Coverdale to Coverham Abbey and a stagecoach route to London.
Kettlewell’s history really begins in the twelfth century when part of the manor was given to Coverham Abbey. In the next century the village gained a market, which benefited from the presence of Fountains Abbey and Bolton Priory estates close to the village. The Church is still present close by, with a Church of England conference centre close by at Scargill House.
The village had a second period of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries as a centre of the lead mining industry. Many of the attractive buildings in the quiet side streets of Kettlewell date from this period. At its heyday the village contained thirteen inns, mostly catering to the miners! The mining industry faded towards the end of the 19th century (the local smelting mill closed in 1886), but signs of the mining industry are still visible on the surrounding hills.
Kettlewell is perfectly located for the walker, sitting at the feet of Great Whernside and Buckden Pike, the highest points in this part of the Dales, while this part Wharfedale provides a number of less strenuous walks.