Discover the Dales

Legends of the Dales

The Baghest of Trollers Gyhll

Trollers Ghyll is an impressive limestone gorge, accessed from either the village of Appletreewick or Burnsall in Lower Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

It is a mysterious, remote valley that is regularly deserted and legend has it, home to trolls and the Barghest – a monstrous black dog with massive, fiery eyes, enormous teeth and huge sharp claws.

The story of the barghest that dwells amongst the rocks of Trollers Ghyll dates back to 1881 when the story was first recorded…

A local man finished a hard day’s work high on the Yorkshire moorlands. It had been a blustery day, and the winds were getting stronger and stronger. Dark grey clouds were approaching fast – he had to get home quick to escape the looming storm.

For speed he chose to take the shortest route home via Trollers Ghyll, a route that most would avoid, especially in the darkness of the night. As he approached the entrance to Trollers Ghyll, it looked even blacker than he had ever seen it. There was no way to see what was lurking in the shadows.

Onwards he went, the winds were pushing him side to side, his walk became burdened as the wind blew against him. Then suddenly he noticed two intense circles glowing midst the rocks. They could be only one thing, the fierce, fiery eyes of the Barghest.

He ran. His heart beating load in his ears. As he ran he could hear the footsteps of the Barghest gaining on him. He could hear him getting closer, close enough to hear his breath. He thought his time had come, but then suddenly he remembered the folktale – the Barghest doesn’t like water, if he could cross the river the Barghest wouldn’t follow him, he couldn’t. He had new energy he had to get to the river before the Barghest could catch him.

He made it into the river and across to the woodland beyond. He lay there frightened until the next day he was found close to death and rescued.