Chocolate-box pretty, that's Thornton le Dale, a cute crossroads village just a couple of miles east of Pickering. It's a summer honeypot, with a large National Park car park soaking up the walkers, window-shoppers and tea-room visitors, and its central green with wooden stocks, gushing beck and duck-filled pond certainly are attractive. But the back byways are prettier still, starting with the stroll up the road to the stone bridge and then along the beck, past the much-photographed thatched cottage. It's a mile or so's walk up the wooded valley to the Saxon church at Ellerburn, or Dalby Forest with its bike and hike trails is really close too. There are two or three pubs in the village, and a fair array of olde-worlde shops, cafes, ice-cream parlours and the like – you won't be stuck for a bite to eat.
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