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The legend of Beggar’s Bridge in Glaisdale

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Nestled in the heart of the North York Moors is the charming village of Glaisdale, situated on the banks of the River Esk. This idyllic location is renowned for its romantic history, and at the heart of it stands Beggar’s Bridge, a symbol of unwavering love and persistence.

Glaisdale is a picturesque village in the North York Moors National Park in North Yorkshire. Situated on the River Esk’s banks, providing a scenic backdrop to the village. Glaisdale is known for its charming character, with traditional stone houses and buildings, including the village’s pub, the Arncliffe Arms, which dates to the 1800s. The village is also surrounded by countryside, with miles of walking trails and hiking routes that take visitors through the North York Moors. One of the main attractions in Glaisdale is Beggar’s Bridge, a historic packhorse bridge built in 1619 by Thomas Ferris.

Beggar's Bridge Glaisdale

The Beggar’s Bridge Legend

In 1619, a packhorse bridge called Beggar’s Bridge was constructed over the River Esk by Thomas Ferris, the son of a local moorland sheep farmer. The bridge’s history is intertwined with a romantic legend about Thomas and his sweetheart, Agnes Richardson. Allegedly, Thomas used to wade through the river to meet Agnes secretly since her father disapproved of their relationship due to Thomas’s lack of wealth.

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The legend of Beggar's Bridge in Glaisdale

Thomas sought his fortune on the high seas to win her father’s approval. However, on the eve of his departure, he could not cross the river to bid farewell to his beloved due to the river’s flood. Thomas swore an oath that he would build a bridge in that very spot one day. Years later, having returned to Glaisdale, a wealthy man and married Agnes, Thomas fulfilled his promise by constructing Beggar’s Bridge.

Beggar’s Bridge is a popular tourist destination. Visiting Beggar’s Bridge is a must-do activity if you’re planning a trip to Glaisdale.

Beggar’s Bridge, Glaisdale, YO21 2QL

Beggar's Bridge

Things to do in Glaisdale

There are many things to do whilst visiting Glaisdale. People love to visit for the walking and hiking routes. The surrounding countryside has numerous trails and routes, ranging from gentle strolls to more challenging hikes. These Esk Valley walks, which follow the River Esk Valley are particularly scenic routes that you can enjoy.

For those interested in the railway, the Esk Valley Railway is a scenic line between Whitby and Middlesbrough, passing through picturesque villages and countryside. The railway station in Glaisdale is a stop on the line, making it a convenient base for exploring the surrounding area.

Several pubs and restaurants in Glaisdale offer delicious, locally sourced food and drinks. The Arncliffe Arms, a historic pub in the village, is a popular spot for a pint and a meal; you can even stay over.

Overall, Glaisdale, although small, has plenty of things to do in the surrounding area, which makes it an excellent base for your Yorkshire holiday. You can read our things to do in Glaisdale article here.


In conclusion, the legend of Beggar’s Bridge in Glaisdale is a captivating tale of true love and determination. Despite their obstacles, Thomas Ferris’ commitment to his beloved Agnes Richardson is a testament to the power of love and the human spirit. The bridge he built symbolises their enduring romance and remains a popular tourist attraction in Glaisdale. Let us know if you have ever visited in the comments so we can hear about your experiences.

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