The entire parish of Yearsley is within the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was, and remains, a predominantly agricultural village with significant forestry on the moors to the north of the village.
Yearsley is the site of a number of barrows and other early earthworks. Yearsley was also the site of the pottery of William Wedgewood, a relation of the famous Staffordshire Wedgwood family of potters. The village was part of the Newburgh Priory estate of the Wombwell family until 1944.