Run­ning at full pelt

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Front Page -

Conkers cham­pi­onships, pork pie com­pe­ti­tions and fer­rets racing over­head – Vic­to­ria Benn vis­its the pub bring­ing his­toric pas­times back to life. Pic­tures by Matthew Lloyd.

There is a pub in the charis­matic York­shire Dales vil­lage of Ap­ple­treewick called the Craven Arms. It has flagged floors, real fires, gas light­ing and all the snug nooks and cran­nies one could hopes for from a 16th cen­tury inn. Sited at the rear is its undis­putable crown­ing glory, a tra­di­tion­ally built cruck barn – hand-crafted from bent oak trees, with walls in­su­lated with sheep’s wool and ren­dered with tra­di­tional lime and horse hair, and roofed with a hand-pulled heather ling thatch. The pub’s sched­ule of events and ac­tiv­i­ties is as quirky and quintessen­tially York­shire as its ex­te­rior. An eclec­tic cal­en­dar which in­cludes a pork pie com­pe­ti­tion, beer fes­ti­val, ter­rier racing, conkers cham­pi­onship and, on Fe­bru­ary 15, the most ec­cen­tric and pop­u­lar of all – an an­nual fer­ret racing com­pe­ti­tion.

Re­mark­ably, how­ever, the Craven Arms’s time­honoured at­mos­phere and ap­pear­ance, and cru­cially its “his­toric” cruck barn were cre­ated by cur­rent own­ers David Aynesworth and his fam­ily just over 10 years ago. And the un­con­ven­tional pro­gramme of events? Also dreamt up by David.

“I’ve al­ways en­joyed old things and get­ting them go­ing and bring­ing them back to life again – I have a real pas­sion for the past,” he says with a smile.

Through­out his early ca­reers as a farm man­ager then char­tered sur­veyor, David’s love of restora­tion started to man­i­fest it­self, first with vin­tage cars

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