Those monks were busy people! They were responsible for starting the textile industry in Nidderdale using wool from the sheep reared on monastic estates as far back as the 12th century.

Over the centuries the textile industry has played an important role in Nidderdale AONB, gradually growing as demand for textiles increased to match the increasing population. In the 17th and 18th centuries textile production in Nidderdale shifted from wool to linen. At the end of the 18th century the invention of more efficient spinning machines and the ability to harness water to power the Nidderdale textile mills led to growth and more concentrated industry, and in the 19th century textile ‘empires’ were developed with fine mill buildings, chapels, schools and workers cottages.

The textile industry has now largely declined but its legacy of engineering structures, buildings, and settlements is an important part of the landscape.


Two of the most significant mills in the AONB are Glasshouses and New York Mill at Summerbridge.

If you wander along the River Washburn at Blubberhouses you can still see the old mill race that served the huge five storey West House Mill that once stood on what is now the cricket ground.