The National Trust owns a large slice of upper Wharfedale, in the form of the Upper Wharfedale Estate, which was gifted to the charity in 1988 by Graham Watson MBE JP MA.
Graham Watson was a Bradford businessman and a lover of the countryside. He retired from industry in 1959 and for 40 years devoted his time to public and country matters. He was invited to join the Lake District Special Planning Board (becoming Chairman of their Development Control Committee), the North West Regional Committee of the National Trust and a range of other bodies, all actively concerned with the conservation of and the appropriate development of the Lake District. He became a founder member of the Yorkshire Dales Society and a Member for 22 years of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. For 12 years he was Chairman of the Cave Rescue Organisation. He and his brother David bought farms in Wharfedale and built up an estate of over 5,000 acres which, on the death of his brother, he gave to the National Trust.
The Trust has since added to the estate, which now totals 2,470ha (6,100 acres), including nine farms and the hamlets of Yockenthwaite and Cray. There is an interesting exhibition in Townhead Barn, Buckden, which shows the prehistory and history of the area, as well as the ways in which the Trust is working to conserve it.
The Trust offers holiday properties which it owns to rent:
The Old Smithy, Buckden is a Wharfedale based example.
National Trust Upper Wharfedale web page