Westow is a country village and civil parish in the Ryedale district of the county of North Yorkshire, England. The village has a population of around 300. Until 1974 the village lay in the historic county boundaries of the East Riding of Yorkshire.
Westow is situated in the lee of Spy Hill, part of the Howardian Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, from the A64 road linking Leeds to the East Coast, west of the market town Malton, and east from the city of York.
The village has deep associations with agriculture and is surrounded by a traditional, diverse farming landscape, much of it estate owned and managed. The village has views to the North Yorkshire Moors National Park to the east, and the Yorkshire Wolds to the south.
Westow has an active village cricket team with a strong family tradition. Records show the team existed as far back as 1875. Lands around Westow are also the setting for traditional, seasonal field sports which provide income to the local agricultural community and serve as social events. The Middleton Hunt covers the area and is well subscribed. Neighbouring villages are Crambe, Whitwell-on-the-Hill, Welburn, Howsham, Leavening and Burythorpe.
Parish records of graves dating back to 1500s build a view of a small community established around agriculture. It is highly likely the village origins are older than this as the Ryedale area has significant evidence of Medieval and Roman settlement and activity. In all probability the location of Westow was originally chosen and occupied at a time when farming techniques were undeveloped and people were highly dependent on the natural environment and what it can provide. Westow is surrounded by fertile soils with good irrigation, and in the lee of the hill it is partly sheltered from north and easterly winds. These characteristics are likely to have led to the location of Westow being chosen for settlement. Today as throughout the centuries, for some residents village life continues to revolve around farming and agriculture, or providing services those living in the area. With improved mobility and recently telecommuting, others have chosen Westow for the country living, commute to towns and cities for work or work from home, whilst others have retired into the area. Westows strong sense of community remains.