Refurbished national park centre to open for visitors

Information advisor Marnie Peacock and park officer Claire Hodgson in the refurbished Aysgarth National Park Centre.

Aysgarth National Park Centre – which last year welcomed more than a hundred thousand visitors – will reopen on Good Friday  after a full refurbishment.

Interactive displays on local flora and fauna sit alongside a wider range of local products and crafts for sale, together with the usual wealth of information about places to visit and what to do in the area.

With a vinyl laminate floor replacing fusty carpet, the visitor centre has taken on a clean, flexible and accessible look.

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It will be open seven days a week from Good Friday until the end of October, with information advisors on hand every day to help people get the most from their visit.

“Aysgarth National Park Centre is the gateway to the park from the east and the A1,” said centre manager Cathy Bergs.

“We want to increase the number of visitors coming here and help them to enjoy their visit – and the best way to do that is to improve what’s on offer.

“The new displays will give people a fascinating insight into the natural history of Aysgarth and the surrounding area.

The Centre was converted from three railway workers’ cottages in the 1970s.

Cathy added: “A lot of people come here to see the amazing waterfalls on the River Ure, but we are keen that people also enjoy the woods which surround the Centre.

“Freeholders’ Wood is an ancient woodland with rare flowers and butterflies such as the Northern Brown Argus.

“There is something wonderful to see in it every time you come – and by popping into the Centre first you can find out what to look for.

“We’ve put a lot of thought into the retail part of the Centre. As well as offering a good range of books and maps, we’ve got more local products and crafts for sale.

“When people come to the National Park they want to buy gifts that have been made here.”

Next to the centre is the Coppice Café which serves a selection of drinks and meals, and cakes largely made with locally-sourced ingredients.

There is car parking for 80 cars but the car park is not accessible for coaches. Coach parking is available at the Falls car park by the junction with the A684 road.

There is a regular bus service between Leyburn and Hawes which provides access to the village of Aysgarth. The National Park Centre and waterfalls are a 10 minute walk away.

The opening hours are April to October, daily, 10am to 5pm; November to March, weekends only, 10am to 4pm.