Geographically, Cross Hills is in Airedale at a point where the River Aire bends east from its north-south course. The village lies on the south bank of the river just above the flood plain, which is wholly agricultural. As its name implies, Cross Hills is surrounded by the hills of the eastern Pennines including Steeton Moor (south-east), Cowling Moor (south-west), White Hill (north-west) and Kildwick Moor (north-east). There are views along the Aire Valley itself to the north and east. Rombalds Moor, between Silsden and Ilkley, is about six miles east of Cross Hills. Skipton is about four miles north and the hills of the Yorkshire Dales can be seen beyond it.
The village is overlooked by two monuments called The Pinnacles which stand above crags on the Cowling Moor skyline. These are small towers: Sutton Pinnacle is square with internal staircase and topped by a crenelated parapet; Cowling Pinnacle is an obelisk. They are known locally as the Salt Pot and Pepper Pot. Sutton pinnacle, called Lund's Tower, was built in 1896 by James Lund of Malsis Hall (now Malsis School) to commemorate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. Cowling pinnacle (or Wainman's Pinnacle) was built in 1816 by Richard Wainman to commemorate victory at the battle of Waterloo the previous year (in which his son was killed).
The village is adjacent to Glusburn, which lies immediately to the west. Kildwick is due north of Cross Hills on the other side of the River Aire. Sutton-in-Craven is less than a mile to the south-west and Eastburn less than a mile to the south-east. Cross Hills is separated from Sutton-in-Craven and Eastburn by the beck which flows into the Aire just east of Cross Hills. The beck is known by various names: Surgill Beck, Holme Beck and Eastburn Beck. It forms part of the county boundary between North and West Yorkshire as it approaches the Aire, Eastburn being in West Yorkshire.
Cross Hills is split by the Airedale Line of the former Midland Railway. The biggest part is south of the railway and is largely residential with most of the shops and restaurants on or near Main Street (the A6068). North of the railway, former farmland has been given over to light industry and commerce but with some residential property on Station Road which connects the A6068 and the A629.
Cross Hills was the original home of chocolatier Whitakers, now based in Skipton, which was established in 1889. Ida Whitaker began making chocolates in 1903, taught by the wife of the vicar of Kildwick.
The village is well served by road communications as it is close to the main A629 connecting Keighley and Skipton. The A6068 trans-Pennine route from Colne forms the village's Main Street and joins the A629 at the large roundabout between Cross Hills and nearby Kildwick. The A6068 forms Colne Road through Glusburn and becomes Main Street at the junction with Wheatlands Lane. This lane joins Park Road which climbs due west out of the village and provides routes to Cononley and Lothersdale. There are regular bus services between Keighley, Skipton and Colne that all serve the village.
The local Kildwick and Crosshills railway station, opened in 1847, was closed in 1965. It was just off Station Road where the humpback bridge crosses the railway. The nearest station now is Steeton and Silsden two miles to the east.
Cross Hills is home to the Old White Bear pub/restaurant on Keighley Road which had its own real ale brewery producing Naylor's Pinnacle beers. Due to the need to increase capacity, the brewery was moved in the 2000s to the nearby Midland Mill complex off Station Road. Other eating places include Tams Cantonese restaurant and the Bella Napoli Italian restaurant, both on Main Street, and the Zolsha Indian restaurant which is at the eastern limit of the village on the junction of Keighley Road and Skipton Road.
The village has several small retail outlets. The largest retailer is the Co-op store, a small supermarket just off Main Street. The Co-op has one of the two public car parks in Cross Hills. There is a SPAR store towards the western end of Main Street. The village post office is on Keighley Road opposite the junction with Station Road. It used to be in one of the buildings opposite (now a private house) and the old lettering can still be seen on the lintel above this house's front door. There is now only one bank in Cross Hills and this is at the end of Main Street on the junction with Park Road and Station Road.
The village has a large health centre on Holme Lane and is only a mile or so from the Airedale NHS Trust hospital at Steeton with Eastburn in West Yorkshire. There is a public library and a police station. The largest secondary and sixth form college in the area, South Craven School, is located in Cross Hills off Holme Lane, which is the road from Cross Hills to Sutton-in-Craven. The local primary schools are in Sutton-in-Craven, Glusburn, Malsis (private school) and Kildwick.
Cross Hills has no Church of England parish church of its own and is part of the parish of St Andrew's Church across the Aire in Kildwick. St Peter's Methodist Church, whose hall has an additional function as the local polling station, is just off Main Street in the centre of the village. St Joseph's Catholic Church is on Aire Street, off Keighley Road. South Craven Evangelical Church is on Back Colne Road.
Cricket and football are played at Park Fields where Cross Hills adjoins both Glusburn and Sutton-in-Craven. The clubs are Cross Hills Football Club, which plays in the Craven and District Football League, and Glusburn Cricket Club. The Cross Hills tennis and bowling club is located off Keighley Road with three tennis courts and one bowling green.
J. Arthur Dixon (1897-1958), founder of the eponymous manufacturer of greetings cards and postcards, was born at Cross Hills.
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