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The quiet market town of Sedbergh, nestling at the foot of the Howgills, is England's first Book Town offering a treasure trove of secondhand and collector's books, enhanced by two major book festivals every year. Sedbergh lies at the foot of the Howgills and at the hub of several valleys that converge near the town. A good network of footpaths and bridleways allows easy access to the Howgills and exploration of Dentdale, Garsdale and the Rawthey and Lune valleys. All the reserves and natural features listed can be easily accessed by public footpaths.

Book Your Stay

The Malabar

The Malabar

Bed & Breakfast with 6 rooms, £160-£240 prpnb

Middleton's Cottage and Fountain Cottage

Middleton's Cottage and Fountain Cottage

Self-catering with 2 units, £329-£490 pupw sleeps 4

Things to do

What's on

Surrounding Area

Devil's Bridge

Culture and Heritage

Fairfield Mill
St Andrews
The historic development of Sedbergh in the Western Dales is linked to its position at the convergence of four valleys formed by the rivers Lune, Rawthey, Clough (Garsdale) and Dee (Dentdale) that served as access and trade routes. The Romans followed the north-south axis of the Lune Valley, establishing forts at Borrowbridge (near Tebay) and Over Burrow (south of Kirkby Lonsdale) linked by a Roman road that runs on the line of Fair Mile and Howgill Lane.

Norse settlers arrived in the 10th century, penetrating up the valleys in search of suitable grazing grounds for their livestock. Their traditional longhouses, often sited next to watercourses, are the forebears of many of today's Dales farmhouses and can be identified by names ending in ‘thwaite' (‘clearing') or ‘scales' (‘summer dwelling').

The name ‘Sedbergh' is derived from the Norse ‘Set Berg', meaning ‘flat-topped hill', a possible reference to the defensive structure at Castlehaw.

Sedbergh is mentioned in the Domesday Book so a settlement must have existed here before the Norman Conquest. On their arrival, the Norman barons established control by constructing a defensive motte and bailey at Castlehaw (SD 662 923), and later founded the two churches dedicated to St Andrew at Sedbergh and Dent.

In 2003, with a number of bookshops, writers and a printer's finisher already based in the town, Sedbergh took the bold step of becoming a Book Town - an initiative that has attracted even more secondhand book sellers to the town and generated two book festivals, along with various workshops and seminars on the theme of writing and books.

Sedbergh town

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