After becoming addicted to keeping up with the Owens family on Our Yorkshire Farm, it’s safe to say we’re dreaming of the rural life – and the abandoned Crackpot Hall farm has us wanting to pack up and take on the role of squatters to achieve just that.
Located above the stunning River Swale near Keld, the 18th century farm has long been left to crumble – but it’s the sheer mystery surrounding the site that piques our interest the most.
Was it boggarts that led to its abandonment? Wolves? An apocalypse? No.
It was actually just lead mining subsidence that simply made the place inhabitable, but there is still a strange old story attached to the site that for us, would be more than enough to drive us away at first.
A story that dates back to the 1930s, a “feral” four-year-old girl named Alice was said to have wandered the farm ‘barefoot’, speaking a dialect that nobody could understand (which we now can assume was probably just good ol’ broad Yorkshire).
The story circulated for decades, gradually becoming a ghost-like story of a poltergeist-like child with a crazed laugh, running about the farm with dogs in a sort of Mowgli-esque story.
It was only until just a few years ago that BBC researchers discovered that the young girl (who was very much not a ghost) lived at the farm with her family and wandered the land day-by-day as a child for entertainment.
And it’s not just this now-funny story that has us intrigued about the farm. Naturally, when someone says something is abandoned – we’re just dying to explore it, but it’s the name that also has us wondering, too.
Now, usually when you heard the term ‘Crackpot’, you assume that someone is A) talking about someone with a narcotic problem or B) joking about someone being a little bit silly. In this case, the term ‘Crackpot’ stems from old Viking English, with ‘crack’ deriving from ‘crow’ and ‘pot’ meaning ‘cave’.
It’s unclear what the future holds for Crackpot Hall, however, what we do know is that it is currently a part of the Gunnerside Estate, which has obtained grants through the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust to preserve the site from decaying any further.
The abandoned site now makes a great stop off while walking through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside, with Swinner Gill, Kisdon Force and Catrake Force all nestled nearby.
*Side note, we’re quite obviously joking about squatting here. It’s privately owned, please don’t do that.