Bilton, Harrogate

Coordinates: 54°00′36″N 1°32′09″W / 54.0099°N 1.5359°W / 54.0099; -1.5359
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bilton is located in North Yorkshire
Location within North Yorkshire
Population5,409 (2011 census. Ward)[1]
OS grid referenceSE305572
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtHG1
PoliceNorth Yorkshire
FireNorth Yorkshire
List of places
54°00′36″N 1°32′09″W / 54.0099°N 1.5359°W / 54.0099; -1.5359

Bilton is a suburb of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England, situated to the north-east of the town centre.


Bilton was first recorded (as Billeton) in the Domesday Book in 1086. The name is of Old English origin and means "farmstead of a man named Billa".[2]

Bilton was historically in the parish of Knaresborough in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It formed a township with Harrogate,[3] and in 1866 the township of Bilton with Harrogate became a civil parish.[4] When Harrogate became a municipal borough in 1894, Bilton remained outside the borough and became a separate civil parish. In 1896, Starbeck was separated from Bilton to form a new civil parish. In 1938 the civil parish was abolished, and most of Bilton was added to Harrogate.

In 1848 the Leeds and Thirsk Railway was opened through Bilton, although no station was built there. The line crossed the River Nidd on the northern boundary of Bilton by a stone viaduct. In 1908 the Harrogate Gasworks Railway was constructed from the main line to carry coal to the gasworks next to the Little Wonder roundabout. The line was closed in 1956, and with the tracks having been removed the only remains of the line are some walls and the tunnels that carried the trains.[5] A small museum was opened in the neighbouring New Park School, where the line used to come out above ground. Between 2007 and 2008 the school created a garden, known as "The Secret Railway Garden", to commemorate the line.[6][7]

The area of Bilton west of the railway line was developed in the 19th and 20th centuries. The parish church of St John, designed by Gilbert Scott, was built between 1851 and 1857. It is now a Grade II* listed building.[8]

The area east of the railway has remained rural, with scattered houses now known as Old Bilton. The main railway line through Bilton was closed in 1969.[9] In 2013 it was reopened as a cycle way and bridleway known as the Nidderdale Greenway.[10]

Bilton Hall is a large former country house lying to the east of Old Bilton on a hill facing Knaresborough. Built on the site of a hunting lodge constructed on the orders of John O'Gaunt in 1380.[11] William Slingsby, who discovered the first spa well in Harrogate, once resided at the Hall. Bilton Hall became the seat of the Stockdale family from 1631, with three members of that family serving as Members of Parliament for Knaresborough. It later passed into institutional use and is now a care home.[12]


Bilton Lane

Prior to the gala ending in the late 2010s, on the first May Bank Holiday each year the Bilton Gala took place.[13] The first Gala was held in 1977 and the event, which is attended by local families, raises money for groups and organisations within the local community.[citation needed]

Bilton has three churches, four primary schools and its own library. There are a number of shops, including five convenience stores. The Library closed but has now re-opened on the site of Woodfield Primary School (School now closed, as of December 2022; but the library remains open). Bilton has its own online community page, called the Bilton Community Group on Facebook. Started in lockdown to bring a larger ‘sense of community to the area’.

There are two public houses, the Gardeners Arms, in Old Bilton, and the Knox. The Skipton (formerly the Dragon) on Skipton Road closed in February 2014 and re-opened as a Co-Op Convenience Store [14] There is a working men's club on Skipton Road. The Red Cat Cottage (formerly Red Cat Inn), a Grade II listed building is located in the area. It is situated close to the Nidd Gorge conservation area.[citation needed]


Roads out of Bilton lead to Skipton Road, the major artery across North Harrogate, resulting in very heavy congestion at peak times, and heavy traffic throughout the day.[citation needed]

The number 2 bus route runs between Bilton and Harrogate bus station. Previously split into two routes for the Woodfield side and the Knox Side, the routes were merged in early 2023 much to the residents dismay.[citation needed]

A railway station is proposed on the Harrogate Line at Bilton.[15]


  1. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Bilton 2011 Census Ward (1237325090)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  2. ^ Smith, A. H. (1961). The Place-names of the West Riding of Yorkshire. Vol. 5. Cambridge University Press. p. 105.
  3. ^ GENUKI website: Parish of Knaresborough
  4. ^ Vision of Britain: Bilton with Harrogate
  5. ^ "When the 'Barber' rode through Bilton". Harrogate Advertiser. 8 January 2008. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Bilton And Knox News by Anne Richards: New Park School Wildlife Garden". Ripon Gazette. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  7. ^ "MEP visits school's wildlife garden". Ripon Gazette. 21 January 2008. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  8. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1315827)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Disused Stations:Nidd Bridge Station". Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Ripley reaps rewards of new greenway to Harrogate". Sustrans. 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  11. ^ "The fascinating history of a former hunting lodge". Harrogate Advertiser. 25 March 2008.
  12. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1149915)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  13. ^ Bilton Gala
  14. ^ "YOUR SAY: Loss of The Skipton". Harrogate Advertiser. 13 April 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Plans for West Yorkshire" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2020.

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