Perhaps unusually for a 'dormitory' village, mainly populated by professionals working in the adjacent towns and cities (or now retired but choosing to stay on), Thorp Arch has an active community - kept informed by the church and community magazine, The Causeway.
There are active social groups focused on the church, the Village Society, the tennis club, the school and the Yorkshire Countrywomens' Association. The annual cricket match, church suppers and tennis competition also bring people together, and weekends see the MOB village cyclists group getting underway.
The railway came to Thorp Arch in1847, with the line from Church Fenton to Spofforth opening, and then in1848 being extended to Harrogate. The station was on the road to Walton, just north of the junction with Dowkell Lane.
The line was the first 'Beeching' closure in 1964, and now has a new life as a Sustrans link for non-motorised traffic between Wetherby and the Thorp Arch Trading Estate. This link may eventually be extended over the old railway bridge across the Wharfe to Newton Kyme and Tadcaster.
Thorp Arch Trading Estate
The estate, which lies across the Thorp Arch/Walton parish boundary, started life in 1940 when the Ministry of Supply compulsorily purchased 450 acres of land, including a farmhouse, to build a munitions factory as part of the war effort. Because of the risk from explosions the site was constructed with many small buildings, some separated by blast walls, and with provision for flooding areas with water from raised reservoirs.
Today the estate is used mainly for a range of industrial premises, but also has a small retail park, and is home to the British Library storage and reference facility. Just completed is a new fully automated warehouse - it operates in darkness, and in a reduced oxygen environment, to preserve the books and manuscripts and reduce the risk of fire.The above information draws heavily on the millennium book about Thorp Arch written by David Cummings.