How Stean Gorge contains a maze of footpaths, caves and potholes which have been hollowed out of the limestone rock by the constant water flow over thousands of years. Much of the gorge has been designed purely by nature; however the odd section was once quarried for its rich material.
From 866 to 1066 AD Yorkshire was inhabited by the Vikings. The name of the village down the road at Lofthouse is from lofthus a house with a loft. The village up stream, Stean means stone concretion. Ho Stean Beck translates to a trough or basin, of stone concretion with a beck.
Tom means empty void, and hala means cave. Empty Cave Tom H A la (Tom Taylor’s Cave?)
There are many tales and legends about the Gorge. Highway men reputedly used it as a hideout. Tom Taylor’s Cave is said to be named after such a bandit. A hoard of silver and bronze coins was discovered in 1868 by local boy Thomas Jackson, later verified as Roman coins. A bronze brooch was discovered in the nearby hamlet of Stean.
Set in traditional Yorkshire Dales farming country, How Stean Gorge has been welcoming visitors for over 100 years. The attraction developed over time and became a hot spot for visitors during the Victorian era, aided by the popularisation of Harrogate as a thriving spa town, and the railway up to Lofthouse.
In, 2007 Stan and Ann Beer, having worked as a paramedic and registered nurse respectively, took the helm introducing new activities and producing consistently good wholesome food with their daughter who had worked there previously for Pam & Howard Stevenson. The How Stean Gorge Via Ferrata Experience – one of only two in England – opened in Summer 2009 and has been enjoyed by thrill seekers!