We made a visit to the isolated village of Arncliffe, situated in ancient Amerdale (latterly called Littondale), amidst the intense rugged beauty of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Overlooking the village green is the ‘The Falcon Inn,’ where we stopped for lunch, to celebrate Tracy William's birthday. The Falcon retains much of its character, even the serving of beer from a jug, through one of three wooden hatches.
In the early 1970s, the charms of Arncliffe, coupled with the unspoilt scenery and solid farming community; made the village an ideal setting for a fledging Yorkshire Television drama serial ‘Emmerdale Farm.’ Kevin Laffen, the creator and first writer wished to bring an authentic portrayal of farming and rural life to the wider public. It was one of the first drama productions in Britain to film outdoor sequences in the countryside.
Whilst at the Falcon ~ (the first fictional Woolpack of Beckindale village in the television series), we envisaged the gentle and funny antics of joint landlords, Amos Brearly and Henry Wilks (Ronald Magill, Arthur Pentelow.) Only a few years later, filming moved to a location nearer to Leeds.
Before leaving the village, we visited St Oswald’s Parish Church, also featuring in the original Emmerdale serial. Inside, a marble tablet is dedicated to the men from Littondale who served in the First World War. Amongst the names is Private James Simpson, Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment); a great grandfather. The Simpson family lived in a cottage beside the attractive, yet curiously styled River Skirface, which runs along the northern side of the village.