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Selby is a market town and civil parish located in North Yorkshire, England. It is situated approximately 12 miles south of York along the course of the River Ouse. The town’s origins date back to the establishment of a Viking settlement on the banks of the River Ouse in Ad 779. Historically, Selby has a large shipbuilding industry and was an important port due to the Selby canal which brought in trade from Leeds, and much of the town’s wealth was facilitated due to its position.
Selby has a selection of shops, pubs, restaurants and a weekly market. There are a wide range of amenities nearby including three major supermarkets, the Abbey Walk Retail Park and the Market Cross Shopping Centre, as well as the railway station and famous Selby Abbey.
Selby Abbey is an Anglican parish church often referred to as ‘The Hidden Gem of Yorkshire’. It boasts iconic architecture, sacred space and a vibrant worshiping community. The Abbey was founded by Benedict of Auxerre in 1069 and built by the de Lacy family. Benedict saw three swans on a lake which he believed represented the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and is said to have seen this as a sign to build the Abbey. The official crest of Selby Abbey is three swans to symbolize this. King Henry I is reputed to have been born at the Abbey in either 1068 or 1069.
A key feature of the Abbey is the 14th century Washington Window, featuring the heraldic arms of the ancestors of George Washington. This notable design is often cited as an influence for the Stars and Stripes flag.
In the heart of the town is the open-air market, established in the 14th Century by the Monks of the Abbey; it consists of over 120 stalls offering a wide variety of goods. The town market is held every Monday and is split over 2 sites in the town centre, Selby Farmers Market is held on the 1st Wednesday of every month. The extended Bank Holiday market is arguably the most popular in the North.
Barlow Common Nature Reserve has abundant flora and fauna which can be enjoyed all year round. It has been declared a Local Nature Reserve by Selby District Council in consultations with English Nature. This important status recognises its special interest and the conservation of wildlife and habitats to safeguard their future.
For centuries, Barlow Common was used by local parishioners for turning out cattle, pigs and sheep to graze; for firewood and for sand and gravel. The land value fell to almost nothing during the agricultural depression and it was acquired by the local railway company in 1908. It was used intermittently as a ballast tip for over 50 years. In 1983, tipping ceased and British Rail took the initiative to reclaim the land by covering the former tip with earth. Selby District Council acquired the site in 1986 to create a nature reserve.
Selby Horseshoe walk involves a nine mile route starting at Selby Abbey. The route includes the Selby Canal towpath, Brayton Barff, field paths and the Selby Dam. It is particularly lovely to do this walk in the spring time when a variety of wildflowers and birds can be seen.
The park is conveniently situated in the centre of Selby and is open throughout the year, whilst the pavilion is open from April to October. The five acres of gardens include a variety of decorative planting, a play area, a bowls green and mini golf, plus a picnic area with tables and seating.
Selby has excellent commuter links to the A19, M62, M1, M18 and A1041 along with regular rail services including 7 direct trains per day to London and Doncaster, providing Selby with first-rate connectivity to the South of the UK. The new by-pass offers easy access to York, Leeds and Castleford.