Helmsley & Local Area
Helmsley is a market town and civil parish in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, the town is located at the point where Rye Dale leaves the moorland and joins the flat Vale of Pickering.
It is situated on the River Rye on the A170 road, 14 miles (23 km) east of Thirsk, 13 miles (21 km) west of Pickering and some 24 miles (39 km) due north of York. The southern boundary of the North York Moors National Park passes through Helmsley along the A170 road so that the western part of the town is within the National Park.
The settlement grew around its position at a road junction and river crossing point. Helmsley is a compact town, retaining its medieval layout around its market place with more recent development to the north and south of its main thoroughfare, Bondgate. It is a historic town of considerable architectural character whose centre has been designated as a conservation area. The town is associated with the Earls of Feversham, whose ancestral home Duncombe Park was built overlooking Helmsley Castle. A statue of William Duncombe, 2nd Baron Feversham stands in the town’s square. The town is a popular tourist centre and has won gold medals in the Large Village category of Yorkshire in Bloom for three years. The town square is a meeting place for motorcyclists as it is at the end of the B1257 road from Stokesley, which is a favourite with bikers.
The Cleveland Way National Trail starts at Helmsley, and follows a horseshoe loop around the North York Moors National Park and Yorkshire coast for 110 miles (180 km) to Filey. The remains of Helmsley Castle tower over the town.
Helmsley Arts Centre has a 140-seat auditorium and 40-seat studio/exhibition space.It provides film screenings, live music, theatre performances, comedy clubs, art exhibitions and workshops/classes. The 1812 Theatre Company is the resident amateur theatre company at the centre. It mounts at least three productions per year in the main theatre and two in the studio. The 1812 Youth Theatre meets there on a regular basis, putting on two shows a year.
Inside the Walled Garden
The indie rock band One Night Only is from the town.
The five-acre (2 ha) Helmsley Walled Garden, originally built in 1756, is being restored as a working kitchen garden. A walled garden for the castle stood along the banks of the river to the south. Soon after the family moved out of the castle into Duncombe Park this walled garden was built. The garden incorporates glass houses designed in 1850 as a vine house. The ongoing programme of restoration uses appropriate plants where possible.
Helmsley has an open-air swimming pool and a recreation ground providing facilities for tennis, bowls, cricket and football. The Cleveland Way, a horseshoe-shaped route around the North York Moors National Park starts in Helmsley. It follows the moor’s western escarpment to meet the coast at Saltburn-by-the-Sea, and then follows the North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast to end at Filey. Other places of interest include the International Centre for Birds of Prey, Rievaulx Abbey and Helmsley Arts Centre. Local newspapers are the Malton and Pickering Mercury and the Gazette and Herald. Helmsley Library is situated at the front of the town hall, in the Market Place. Staff at the library received an award for North Yorkshire County Council’s Library of the Year in 2010.