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Once upon a time in Appletreewick, United Kingdom

Troller's Gill

Fairy Tale - told by Philip Dainton

Troller’s Gill is a limestone gorge situated deep in the hills of North Yorkshire. The natural terrain left as a permanent reminder of the last Ice Age. Rolling heather blanketed hills, meet jagged and unforgiving limestone peaks riddled with caves, ravines and old disused mine shafts.


On a warm Summer’s day it is spectacular and aw-inspiring, but by night it’s a place of intimidation and sense of foreboding. As the name suggests, this location is steeped in local folklore. Said to be the home of trolls, gnomes, goblins, pixies and imps, yet none more terrifying than the Barghest.

The Barghest, according to local folklore, is a large, hairy black dog with glowing yellow eyes the size of saucers. It is said that Hellhound encounters are typically associated with death, demonic forces and hell itself. The ominous hound may even have given inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story “The Hound of the Baskervilles”. The Barghest, and other such dog-like spirits are often associated and seen in conjuction with places of execution, ancient pathways, cross roads and electrical storms.

Near Troller’s Gill itself, lies a cave named ‘Hell Hole’. Rumour has it, this is where the Barghest lives and lures his victims in. If you throw a stone down Hell Hole, you can hear it falling for what feels like an eternity.

Located at the head of Skyreholme Beck near Appletreewick in Wharfedale, in this tranquil and rural location, solitude and eeriness surrounds you. The Scandinavian trolls that gave this location its name are said to be responsible for throwing rocks at ungrateful travellers, so if you visit- remember to pick up your litter!

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