Hawes, Yorkshire

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber

Local Authority: Richmondshire

Summary: Many towns and cities throughout the country contain areas of historic importance which are a direct link to our heritage and make a major contribution to local distinctiveness and the town’s attractiveness and marketability. Historic surfaces form an essential part of these areas and are an asset which needs careful consideration to help safeguard them.These materials form the foreground to our buildings and add considerable value to the appearance of the built form.


Located on the A684 in Upper Wensleydale, the historic town of Hawes lies within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The A684 passes through the centre of the town, including the main retail areas and historic market place. The town serves the local community and is an economic centre for the wider rural community as well as a tourist destination.



Unfortunately there have been numerous cases in the past where historic surfaces have been removed or covered over, maybe due to their rough surface and the expense of maintaining them. However their importance as a real asset rather than a liability to the street scene should be recognised as they add both character and regeneration value to the street. 

Historic surfaces reveal local geology, they give authenticity to a place, add patina and particularity, and have cultural meaning and hold memories for people from many years of use and wear.  One of these areas was Hawes, Yorkshire.  In this location historic setts had been covered by tarmac.


The cobbled section of the A684 through the Hawes Conservation Area was renovated using new pink granite setts combined with some of the existing historic setts that were recovered from excavation in the street during road works. Many of the original granite setts in the carriageway were in poor condition and could not be re-used due to degradation. After a detailed study the scheme was extended to include re-laying granite setts in the areas where degradation was occurring or likely to occur.

To minimise the amount of new material used within the scheme, many of the existing cobbles which were still in good condition were re-used. This required a considerable amount of effort, both to clean off the existing mortar material and to re-texture the granite setts to achieve adequate skid resistance for traffic. It was achieved by mechanical means, using a tumbling technique, and manually by chipping off old mortar with a mason’s hammer.



The final scheme enabled footways to be widened to accommodate safe use for wheelchair users. Pedestrian crossing points were included at either end of the renovated section together with dropped kerbs to ensure continuity of off-carriageway movement for those who are mobility impaired. Narrowing of the carriageway has encouraged lower vehicular speeds, with a corresponding increase in safety for all users of the street environment. The re-laying and replacement of the granite setts ensured that trip hazards in the carriageway are now eliminated, whilst maintaining the historic feel of the streetscape through the western section of the one-way system

The final affect looked as though it had been there for many years and enhanced the overall character of the town.



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