Buckden and Starbotton

Pretty villages, great walking and the famous Buckden Pike, with its memorial to the victims of a WW2 plane crash.

Buckden Pike, Wharfedale. © Yorkshire Dales Trail, 2004

Buckden Pike, Wharfedale.

The villages of Buckden and Starbotton are a few miles further up Wharfedale from Kettlewell in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Both are small – Starbotton has around 75 permanent residents, Buckden about 180 – and popular with tourist and walkers, especially those wanting to climb Buckden Pike.

In brief

  • A great starting point for walks in all directions
  • Good pubs with restaurant and rooms in both villages
  • Natural limestone pavements along the river
  • Buckden Pike, the 2nd highest mountain in the Dales
  • Memorial to wartime crashed bomber at top of Buckden Pike

A bit of history

People have been living in this part of the Yorkshire Dales since the Iron Age. The area is criss-crossed with pack horse trails made by monks from the great monasteries of Fountains Abbey, Jervaulx and Rievaulx who traded wool and other goods across this part of the Pennines.

The name Starbotton appears to have nothing to do with “stars” or “bottom”. It is thought to be derived from “Stamphotne” (in the Domesday Book of 1086) or “Stauerboten”, meaning “the place where stakes are got”.

Buckden is slightly larger with some 180 people living in the village. One of the key industries in the village was lead mining and the remains of an old, long disused, lead mine – Buckden Gavel Mine – can still be seen.

Buckden Pike Memorial Cross

Buckden Pike Memorial, Wharfedale

Buckden Pike Memorial

On 30th January 1942 an RAF Wellington bomber on a training flight, piloted and crewed by six Polish airmen, got lost during a severe snowstorm. In the whiteout, the bomber crashed on the top of Buckden Pike killing four of the crew and severely injuring the wireless operator, Sergeant Jan Sadowski.

The Rear Gunner, Joe Fusniak, who sustained a badly broken ankle, made Jan as comfortable as he could in the ruins of the aeroplane and then fought his way down the Pike, through the still raging snow storm, in search of help. He eventually stumbled, exhausted, wracked with pain and hypothermic, into the White Lion pub at Cray. By the time the rescuers could get to the plane, Jan had died.

Buckden Pike Memorial Plaque, WharfedaleJoe Fusniak was decorated for his efforts to get help and years afterwards built the memorial on top of the Pike in honour of his fallen comrades.

For the full story visit www.buckdenpike.co.uk/mainstory.html

Buckden and Starbotton today

Farming is still important today but much more so is tourism. Both villages are popular with walkers and there are a number of public footpaths in all directions. One of the most used is the climb up to the top of Buckden Pike (2,303ft), which offers terrific views of the area.

The Georgian Coaching inn at Buckden, The Buck Inn , is a popular place to stay or eat, and at Starbotton equally popular is The Fox and Hounds .

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