All Creatures Great and Small filming locations: History of Grassington, the Yorkshire Dales town used to film fictional town of Darrowby on popular Channel 5 show

Grassington has been used as the setting for the fictional town of Darrowby since the 2020 Channel 5 adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small first aired and the Yorkshire Dales village was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.

Historically, Grassington was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire and is located in Wharfedale, surrounded by limestone scenery. It is the main residential and tourist attraction in Upper Wharfedale with its small cobblestone streets filled with shops, pubs, the village museum, independent cafes, restaurants and hotels.

The area is very popular with walkers; one of the most popular routes is a circular walk that includes Burnsall. It is also a major tourist attraction due to its association with the Channel 5 show that follows the life and work of North Yorkshire vet James Herriot.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was used as the setting for the fictional town in the 2020 series instead of James Herriot’s actual hometown of Thirsk as this town was too large for the small-town atmosphere the series creators were looking for.

Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)
Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)

History of the All Creatures Great and Small filming location Grassington

The Domesday Book references Grassington as part of the estate of Gamal Barn including seven carucates of ploughland including Linton and Threshfield.

The Norman conquest of England invaded part of the lands owned by Gilbert Tison, but by 1118, Gilbert had suffered a demotion and his lands returned to the king before being given to Lord Percy.

Initially the settlement was spelt as ‘Gherinstone’ and was also recorded as Garsington or Gersington. The name Grassington came from the Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxon and Gothic languages and means the town of the grassy ings or a farmstead surrounded by grass.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Grassington. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)Grassington. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)
Grassington. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)

Grassington became a separate civil parish in 1866 and was transferred to North Yorkshire in 1974. Even though the Yorkshire Dales location is often referred to as a village by locals, Grassington was granted a Royal Charter for a market and fair in 1282 giving it market town status. The market was held regularly until around 1860.

A change in land use from the early 17th century, when lead mining were in demand and brought some prosperity, but Grassington’s heyday arrived during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The opening of the Yorkshire Dales Railway to Threshfield in 1902 brought new visitors, many of whom settled, some found work in Skipton or in the developing limestone quarries.

The Old Hall of Grassington is considered the oldest house in Yorkshire, dating back to the late 13th or early 14th century.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.