According to the Austwick & Lawkland Tithe Map of 21 October 1851 the parish had an area of 8,201 acres (33.19 km2) of which around a quarter is uncut moorland. The highest point within the parish is at Lord's Seat on Simon Fell at 2,079 feet (634 m).
The area around Austwick has been inhabited by humans for over 4,000 years. Archaeological finds in and around the village include prehistoric burial places, a large Bronze Age settlement, and even an Iron Age settlement. The area surrounding Austwick has many ancient remains including extensive walls and structures constructed of slate, limestone, and sandstone.
At one time, Austwick, Clapham, Lawkland, and Newby were independent manors with their own lord that together formed the larger parish of Clapham. In the Domesday Book, which was a survey of England conducted in 1086, Austwick was the head of 12 manors spread along a northern route. Austwick still has a lord of the manor; the current holder of the position is Dr. John Farrer. The Farrer family has had the position of lord of the manor since 1782.
According to the 2001 census the parish had a population of 476 with an average age of 45.4 years (Neighbouring parishes: Clapham parish 39.9 years, Lawkland parish 39.4 years, England: 38.6 years). There are 231 dwellings and 212 households. 36% are pensioner households, 33% of households have an occupant with a long-term illness and only 25% of households have children. The parish includes the village of Austwick and the hamlet of Wharfe.