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A village standing proud and unspoilt
11:40am Thursday 24th August 2006 in Village profiles
Gillamoor sits on the edge of the North York Moors. Although it has lost its post office and shops, the sense of community remains. NAOMI GLASS went along to find out more.
"WOULDN'T you like to live here? It's lovely. It's quiet. And it's set in the most beautiful countryside," said Hawson Simpson, retired postman and chairman of the parish council.
Gillamoor, often associated with neighbouring Fadmoor, is a small farming village, unspoilt and proud, situated on the edge of the North York Moors National Park.
Mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086, Gillamoor and the surrounding villages are steeped in history and possess many interesting landmarks and dwellings, such as Gillamoor Mill, an ancient sundial classified as a listed building and a cemetery.
Gillamoor's church, St Aidan's, was rebuilt in 1802 by the hands of one man, stonemason James Smith, in place of a church that had existed on the very spot all the way back in 1284.
The village's methodist chapel, which was built in 1867, was created as a memorial to two local men who, in response to John Wesley's call for missionaries to go to America, sailed in 1769 and founded a church in New York.
Nestling on top of the daffodil valley of Farndale, Gillamoor boasts the picture postcard panorama of surprise view'. Here, you can sit peacefully on a bench looking down over the dramatic views of the moors and vales, with a quote by Keble carved into the wall by your side: "Thou, who hast given me eyes to see And love this sight so fair, Give me a heart to find out thee And read thee everywhere."
Many ramblers, bikers and explorers stay in Gillamoor in its various holiday cottages and bed and breakfasts. There is also the local pub, The Royal Oak Inn, which prides itself on being a completely smoke-free establishment.
Still very much a farming village, Gillamoor is home to two main farming families who collectively produce everything from vegetables and pigs to poultry.
Adam Gibson runs Manor Farm, a working farm and bed and breakfast in the village of Gillamoor. Having lived there all his life, he has seen the changes in the village. Although the post office and two shops have come and now gone, Mr Gibson feels that Gillamoor has barely changed - it remains a traditional Ryedale community village.
"The main difference between Gillamoor now and the Gillamoor of my youth is that there were more farms then and there were always cows walking up and down the village.
"There are still just as many children here, and Gillamoor's fantastic primary school is another aspect that helps the village to maintain a sense of community.
"The kids do so well here at Gillamoor primary school because the teachers are so dedicated," said Adam.
Adam and his wife Sue's children, now aged 15 and 17, attended Gillamoor primary school and the couple could not have sung the school's praises more highly.
"The headmaster of the school, Mr Bennett, is fantastic. He really encourages the children to learn and they come out of it as good, friendly, hardworking kids," said Sue.
A good place for families, Gillamoor is also the happy owner of a brand new playing field. The sporting community is strong in the village with thriving football and cricket teams, two domino teams and a recently-formed table tennis club.
In need of a space for children and adults alike to embrace sport, members of the Gillamoor and Fadmoor villages rallied together and worked hard to get enough funds to buy a piece of land on the outskirts of the village.
Run collectively by both villages, the new playing field, which also has a multi-use games area, is now used for football coaching, as a cricket field and even as tennis courts.
The chairman of the parish council for some 20 years, Hawson Simpson, particularly admires Gillamoor's desire to maintain a sense of community. In a parish meeting, everyone who is on the electoral role can attend in order to have their say. Gillamoor rejects the traditional parish council and it has been this way for many years.
"We're the most democratic form of local government there is," said Hawson with a friendly grin.
Filled with flowers, quaint old houses and the sound of silence interspersed with children's laughter, you can't get much more idyllic than Gillamoor.
Adam Gibson said: "We live in a little oasis up here on this piece of Ryedale. Insulated from much crime and violence, with a community still active and some farming still thriving, we live lovely, cocooned lives."