Gayle Mill

Historical Environment Record No:
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Gayle Mill MYD31225 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Gayle Mill MYD31225 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Gayle Mill was built as a water-powered cotton mill around 1784. It was one of the earliest cotton spinning mills in Wensleydale and was built for Oswald and Thomas Routh who were local hosiers and land owners. It survived as a cotton mill until 1813 when John Readman of Gayle Mill was declared bankrupt and the mill was then turned over to spinning flax and wool for the local knitting industry. It was converted into a sawmill in the 1870s. Soon after, the water wheel was replaced by a Williamson turbine. In the early 20th century the turbine was used to supply electricity, first to the mill, and then to Gayle. It continued to provide hydroelectricity until 1948, while the sawmill went on working until 1988. The mill has now been bought by the North East Civic Trust who are restoring it as a working saw mill and traditional craft skills centre.

Gayle Mill interior MYD31225 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Gayle Mill interior MYD31225 (c) YDNPA, 2023


Hartley, Marie (1951) The Old Handknitters of the Dales. Clapham: Dalesman

Hatcher, Jane (1990) Richmondshire Architecture. Richmond: C J Hatcher

Ingle, George (1997) Yorkshire Cotton. The Yorkshire Cotton Industry, 1780-1835. Lancaster: Carnegie Publishing – website about the mill and its restoration


South of Gayle bridge beside Gayle Beck. Can be viewed from roadside. Site under restoration in 2004 so check for open days.

Public Transport Details

Nearest town/village: Gayle. Call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 to plan your journey. After the welcome message key in 885 for North Yorkshire information


Unsurfaced drive down to mill. Steps into mill and to first floor.