Pateley Bridge

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Pateley Bridge
West Riding
Pateley Bridge (2).JPG
High Street, Pateley Bridge
Grid reference: SE155655
Location: 54°5’7"N, 1°45’44"W
Population: 2,153
Post town: Harrogate
Postcode: HG3
Dialling code: 01423
Local Government
Council: Harrogate

Pateley Bridge (known locally as Pateley) is a small market town in Nidderdale in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It stands on the banks of the River Nidd.

The last Dales agricultural show of the year, the Nidderdale Show, is held annually on the showground by the River Nidd. The show attracts over 14,000 visitors each year.


Pateley was first recorded in 1175 (though the document survives in a later copy), as Patleiagate, with 14th century forms including Patheleybrig(ge). The final elements are clear, deriving from Old Norse gata ('street') and the northern dialect form brig ('bridge') respectively. There is more debate about the Pateley section of the name: the usual explanation is Old English pæþ ('path') in the genitive plural form, so paþa leah meaning paths' meadow", perhaps referring to paths up Nidderdale and from Ripon to Craven, which intersected here.[1]

However, the Pateley name forms competed in the Middle Ages with forms like Padlewath (1227) and Patheslayewathe which could be from Middle English *padil ('paddle'; a shallow place in water') with the Old Norse vaþ ('ford') and it could be that they owe something to this name.[2] The local story that the name comes from 'Pate', an old Yorkshire dialect word for 'Badger',[3] is incorrect.[4]

In 1320 the Archbishop of York granted a charter for a market and fair at Pateley.[5]

Until the Beeching Axe fell in 1964, Pateley was the terminus of the railway line running up Nidderdale from Nidd Valley Junction, near Harrogate. Between 1907 and 1937, the Nidd Valley Light Railway ran farther up the dale. Access is now by road, with an hourly bus service from Harrogate.

About the town

The "Oldest Sweet Shop in England"

This is a place of bed & breakfast houses, church and chapel, garage, hotels, Nidderdale Museum, primary school, public houses, public library, public park, restaurants, secondary school, shops and theatre (Pateley Playhouse). Bewerley Park Centre for Outdoor Education in the nearby village of Bewerley. Brimham Rocks and Stump Cross Caverns are also close by.

The Nidderdale Way and Six Dales Trail both pass through the town.

The town also serves as a sporting hub, with several teams (known collectively as 'The Badgers') competing in football, cricket and crown green bowling.

The football team is Pateley Bridge FC.

The town is also famous for the "Oldest Sweet Shop in England" which was established in 1827.

The King Street workshops can be found on King Street & house a talented group of artists and designers. Their studios are open and they include jewellers, milliner, textile art & gifts, sculptors, fine artist and glassblowers.

Outside links


  1. Smith, A.H. (1961). The Place-names of the West Riding of Yorkshire. 5. Cambridge University Press. p. 149. 
  2. Victor Watts (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names Based on the Collections of the English Place-Name Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), s.v. PATELEY BRIDGE.
  4. Jennings, p.23
  5. Jennings, pp.79-80

Further reading

  • Jennings, Bernard (1992). A History of Nidderdale. ISBN 1 85072 114 9.