Wensleydale Panorama
Green fields and wide skies of Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales.

The Yorkshire Dales
Outstanding Natural Beauty

You’ll find The Yorkshire Dales National Park in a magical corner of Yorkshire. Its awesome scenery will take your breath away. Relax and enjoy the wide open spaces of the upper fells. The Yorkshire Dales are well known for the rich beauty of their landscapes.

Dales villages are surrounded by lush, dark green pastures, criss-crossed by limestone dry stone walling and characterised by lonely limestone field barns. The dry stone walls take account of neither gently sloping meadows nor steep valley flanks, bounding ancient fields as they have done for centuries.

Many are the waterfalls cascading over limestone ridges. Countless gallons of water thunder through dramatic gorges. Relentless scouring of the landscape, begun by glaciers and meltwater over a period of one and a half million years continues today as rainwater and winds play their part. Sometimes, in periods of little rainfall, the water’s action is gentle and beautiful – a joy to behold. At other times, following a cloudburst or prolonged period of rain, the waterfalls can assume an awesome nature. Senses are assailed by the tumultuous roar, echoing around the steep-sided gullies and scars, as stark white water hurls itself onto the rocks below. Spray is cast high into the air, often forming fantastic rainbows where errant sunlight penetrates deep and darkened ravines.

Caves and potholes abound here. A good many are open for anyone to explore – in the capable hands of an experienced guide. Look out for the fascinating formations created by thousands of years of the drip, drip, drip of the slightly acidic water. A guided tour at, for example, the White Scar Caverns above Ingleton – Britain’s longest show cave – will take you deep into the hillside beneath Ingleborough. Thousands of stalactites and stalagmites are cleverly illuminated to show them at their very best. By the way, do you know the difference between the two? When I was a child they told me the ones hanging from the cave roof must ‘hang on tite’ or they ‘mite fall’ to the floor! The Dales are riddled with smaller caves that are just as exciting to explore.

Yorkshire Dales National Park

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a great place to spend your leisure time. Since 1954, when the Park was opened, the National Parks Organisation has worked hard to open up the land and educate visitors in the way of the countryside. The Yorkshire Dales National Park operates visitor centres at strategic locations throughout the park. The centres have ample car parking and provide a wealth of information about the surrounding area.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park operates visitor centres at strategic locations throughout the park.

Their friendly, helpful staff are happy to help with visitors’ questions and operate a service to locate and book accommodation. The ladies at the Aysgarth centre proved to be very helpful to me. When I needed four night’s accommodation in Malham over a very busy weekend they pulled out all the stops and quickly had me fixed up! The Parks Authority works with local landowners and farmers, ensuring enjoyment of the dales by as many interested parties as possible. The Yorkshire Dales National Park offers 1,762 square kilometres to explore. A perfect place for hiking, exploring, or just enjoying a leisurely picnic on a day out.

Many visitors arrive in the Dales with tents or caravans, destined to enjoy their holidays on a camping or caravan site. The Dales are blessed with dozens and visitors are spoiled for choice. As a place to enjoy an outdoors holiday adventure the Yorkshire Dales are second to none.

There are plenty of indoor attractions in the Dales too. Visit gorgeous castles and Abbeys. Bolton Abbey is an old monastery, and considered by many to be the very heart of the Dales. Inside you will take a step back in time, relishing the history that is alive here. There are 80 miles of paths for you to take wonderful walks around the area. The area is also known for its amazing shops and restaurants.

While you surely won’t be spending much time in your accommodation during your visit to the area, you will find them to be very unique. Places to stay include comfortable bed and breakfast homes and self catering cottages. Choose vintage hotels or even an old farmhouse with wonderful views over the land. Take a look at the various options on the internet. Some of them simply have pictures of the outside while others have pictures of both the inside and the outside.

Here is just a small selection of places to visit and things to see while you’re here in the dales…

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Aysgarth

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Aysgarth is a very small, delightful village located between Leyburn and Hawes in Wensleydale. Dig into the depths of this village’s past and you’ll reveal an important milling heritage. You’ll be in awe of the beautiful scenery… more

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

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Technically a priory, Bolton Abbey was established in 1154 by Augustinian friars on sheltered land beside the River Wharfe between Ilkley and Burnsall. Considered by many to be “the heart of Yorkshire” the romantic ruins sit well by the river… more

Clapham

Clapham

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Clapham village nestles in tiny Clapdale in the shadow of Ingleborough – one of the Three Peaks. Today it is a wonderfully peaceful backwater – since the building of the bypass… more

Grassington

Grassington

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The popular Wharfedale village of Grassington and its surrounding area has quaint, cobblestoned streets and nature trails both easy and “not so easy”… more

Kettlewell

Kettlewell

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Many well marked paths meander in and around Kettlewell enabling you to explore on foot or on a bike. Many of them are located right next to the river… more

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Malham

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Malham is a very small village located towards the Southern end of the Yorkshire Dales. The landscape is interlaced with drystone walls constructed out of limestone… more

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Ribblehead

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Ribblehead Station gives access to the Settle-Carlisle railway that was completed in 1876. It is also the site of a weather station that was erected in 2004… more

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Settle

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Settle is a thriving Dales market town with scenery that looks like something out of the movies. Gateway to the Three Peaks… more

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Skipton

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Skipton – gateway to The Dales. Why are so many thousands of visitors drawn to the cobblestones and castle walls of this ancient market town?… more

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