Yorkshire Dales: Wikis


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Yorkshire Dales
Protected Area
National park entrance sign, near Skipton
Country  United Kingdom
Part  England
Counties North Yorkshire, Cumbria
Highest point
 - location Whernside
 - elevation 736 m (2,415 ft)
Area 1,769 km2 (683 sq mi)
National Park of England 1954
IUCN category II - National Park
Yorkshire Dales National Park within North Yorkshire

The Yorkshire Dales (also known as The Dales) is the name given to an upland area, in Northern England.

The area lies within the historic county boundaries of Yorkshire, though it spans the ceremonial counties of North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Cumbria. Most of the area falls within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, created in 1954, and now one of the fourteen National parks of Britain.

The Dales is a collection of river valleys and the hills among them, rising from the Vale of York westwards to the hilltops of the main Pennine watershed (the British English meaning). In some places the area even extends westwards across the watershed, but most of the valleys drain eastwards to the Vale of York, into the Ouse and then the Humber.

The word dale comes from a Nordic/Germanic word for valley, and occurs in valley names across Yorkshire (and Northern England generally) but since the creation of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the name Yorkshire Dales has come to refer specifically to these western dales and the area of dales and hills east of the Vale of York is now called the North York Moors after the National Park created there. The Yorkshire Dales is served by its own radio station, Fresh Radio, which broadcasts programmes from studio bases in Skipton and Richmond.



Most of the dales in the Yorkshire Dales are named after their river or stream (eg Arkengarthdale, formed by Arkle Beck). The best-known exception to this rule is Wensleydale, which is named after the town of Wensley rather than the River Ure, although an older name for the dale is Yoredale. In fact, valleys all over Yorkshire are called "(name of river)+dale"—but only the more northern Yorkshire valleys (and only the upper, rural, reaches) are included in the term "The Dales". For example, the southern boundary area lies in Wharfedale and Airedale. The lower reaches of these valleys are not usually included in the area and Calderdale much further south, would not normally be referred to as part of "The Dales" even though it is a dale, is in Yorkshire, and the upper reaches are as scenic and rural as many valleys further north.

Geographically, the classical Yorkshire Dales spread to the north from the market and spa towns of Settle, Deepdale near Dent, Skipton, Ilkley and Harrogate in North Yorkshire, with most of the larger southern dales (e.g. Ribblesdale, Malhamdale and Airedale, Wharfedale and Nidderdale) running roughly parallel from north to south. The more northerly dales (e.g. Wensleydale, Swaledale and Teesdale) running generally from west to east. There are also many other smaller or lesser known dales (e.g. Arkengarthdale, Barbondale, Bishopdale, Clapdale, Coverdale, Dentdale and Deepdale, Garsdale, Kingsdale, Littondale, Langstrothdale, Raydale, Waldendale and the Washburn Valley) whose tributary streams and rivers feed into the larger valleys.

The characteristic scenery of the Dales is green upland pastures separated by dry-stone walls and grazed by sheep and cattle. The dales themselves are 'U' and 'V' shaped valleys, which were enlarged and shaped by glaciers, mainly in the most recent, Devensian ice age. The underlying rock is principally Carboniferous limestone (which results in a number of areas of limestone pavement) in places interspersed with shale and sandstone and topped with Millstone Grit. However, to the north of the Dent fault, the hills are principally older Silurian and Ordovician rocks, which make up the Howgill Fells.

Many of the upland areas consist of heather moorland, used for grouse shooting in the months following 12 August each year (the 'Glorious Twelfth').

Carboniferous limestone is a common geological feature in the Yorkshire Dales, this panoramic image shows the western face of Thwaites Scars taken from Long Lane.

Cave systems

Gaping Gill

Because of the limestone that runs throughout the Dales, there are extensive cave systems present across the area, making it one of the major areas for caving in the UK. Many of these are open to the public for tours and for caving.[1]

These include:

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Stone houses in Hawes, a typical example of Dales architecture
Limestone hills and dry-stone walls in the west of the Yorkshire Dales. This part of the national park is popular with walkers due to the presence of the Yorkshire three peaks.

In 1954 an area of 1,770 square kilometres (680 sq mi) was designated the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Most of the National Park is in North Yorkshire, though part lies within Cumbria. However, the whole park lies within the historic boundaries of Yorkshire, divided between the North Riding and the West Riding. The park is 50 miles (80 km) north east of Manchester; Leeds and Bradford lie to the south, while Kendal is to the west and Darlington to the east.[5]

Over 20,000 residents live and work in the park, which attracts over eight million visitors every year.[6] The area has a large collection of activities for visitors. For example, many people come to the Dales for walking or exercise. The National Park is crossed by several long-distance routes including the Pennine Way, the Dales Way, the Coast to Coast Path and the latest national trail—the Pennine Bridleway.[7] Cycling is also popular and there are several cycleways.[8]

The Park has its own museum, the Dales Countryside Museum, housed in a conversion of the Hawes railway station in Wensleydale in the north of the Park.[9] The park has five visitor centres located in major destinations in the park.[10] These are at:

Other places and sights within the National Park include:

List of Dales

Janet's Foss, near Malham
The whole of Ingleborough as seen from the peat bog below

See also


External links

Coordinates: 54°16′N 2°05′W / 54.267°N 2.083°W / 54.267; -2.083


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Yorkshire Dales [1] are in the county of North Yorkshire, UK. They are world famous for their picturesque combination of rolling hills, woodland, wild moorland, dramatic landscapes and gentle valleys that create unique and beautiful vistas. There are many opportunities for great walks and the lovely little dales towns and villages provide a glimpse into traditional old-fashioned Yorkshire life.



As with the rest of the UK, winter (Oct-Mar) can be wet, cold (-5°C-15°C) and windy, and summer (Jun-Aug) can be warm and sunny (18°C-28°C). However there are no guarantees so it is quite possible for rainy weather in summer and moderate weather in winter.

Get in

Driving remains unfortunately the easiest way to access most of the countryside destinations.

  • Leeds-Bradford International Airport [2] - the closest airport offering a huge range of flights from Europe including links to the major hubs of London Gatwick and Amsterdam.

By rail

There is England's most scenic railway, the famous Settle-Carlisle [3] railway, which can be most easily accessed from Leeds station, with stops throughout the Dales including Skipton - Settle - Horton - Ribblehead - Dent and Garsdale.

By bus

There are regular bus routes through the dales but due to the country roads these can take a while.

  • DalesBus [4]
  • Postbus [5] - this still exists!


There are no fees to pay except usual entry to attractions and campsite fees etc. Permits are required (as across the UK) for fishing/hunting etc. Fishing licenses are available at Post Offices.

  • Aysgarth Falls - a set of unique waterfalls and rock formations in lush woodland
  • Bolton Abbey - beautiful river-side abbey in picturesque location at the foot of the Dales' hills
  • Grassington - thriving little market town and great base for walks
  • Hawes - another pretty, small and historic market town
  • Ingleborough - one of the highest peaks in the Dales, offering stunning views and great walking opportunities
  • Malham Cove - Stunning rock formation crowned with the famous 'limestone pavements'
  • Masham - on the edge of the Dales, lovely little town with large market place and a few interesting shops and cafés
  • Pen-y-Ghent - dramatic hill, a favourite with walkers
  • Richmond - beautiful town perched on a cliff overlooking the river, with a lovely old centre and dramatic castle
  • Settle - pretty little market town in the Dales with a traditional atmosphere
  • Skipton - attractive historic market town with one of England's largest and best preserved castles
  • Go for a walk in the hills and you can feel like you are miles away from any other human being, surrounded by the beautiful and seemingly endless landscape of green fields and jagged peaks.



Largest of the Dales, certainly the widest and less steep-sided than most. From Hardrow Force (waterfall} above Hawes, through that very pleasant town to Askrigg (noted for the TV series, 'All Creatures Great and Small,' and on to Aysgarth (major waterfalls), to Wensley and Leyburn. From here the dale's river, the Ure, flows on to York. Still in Wensleydale, the ruins of Jervaulx Abbey provide a very peaceful setting.


This is many people's favourite dale and would be the longest, if the top part were not called Lansstrothdale. It contains the fine villages (ordered up the river) of Bo;ton Abbey, Burnsall, Grassington, Conistone, Kettlewell, Starbotton and Buckden. As well as the old Bolton Priory, the nave of which survived the dissolution of the monasteries because it served as the parish church, there is Clifford's Tower and the Cavendish memorial. The Strid, a very narrow and potentially dangerous stretch of the Wharfe, lies a short way above Bolton Priory.


The name given to the Wharfe above Buckden. Hubberholme with its delightful church is the only place of note but the riverbed makes for an easily accessed Paradise for children with polished smooth limestone on each side. By following the road beyond Langstrothdale, Wensleydale can be reached near Hawes after a very scenic drive.


Mainly a north-south dale, Ribblesdale runs through fine limestone scenery with plentiful caves in the near vicinity, including the extensive Alum's Pot system. The area immediately around Horton in Ribblesdale is much marred by quarrying but beauty is restored at Stainforth and Settle.


A beautiful east-west dale north of Wensleydale and connected with it by some scenically fine unclassified roads, including the 'Buttertubs Pass,' named after the shape of impressive potholes beside the road. Keld, Thwaite, Gunnerside and Reeth are the main villages with the market town of Richmond and easby Abey at the lower end of the dale.


The Dales is not known as a major shopping destination, but many of the towns and villages have a range of small tourist and craft shops as well as local ameneties. The markets can be treaure troves of local produce. The nearest major shopping city is Leeds, but nearer-by Skipton and Harrogate have a selection of shops.

  • Hawes. Market, rope-maker's shop and a few good antique shops.  edit


Find a traditional Yorkshire pub in any of the numerous villages, for a fair value hearty meal. Traditional favourite is Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding.


There are a variety of local beers to try in any local pub. Just a short journey westwards from the A1, main arterial road north,lies the village of Wensley. This village gives its name to the local dale and is a favourite spot in the whole of the Dales. Whilst here, drop into the local pub (there is only one) to sample the brews from the local Wensleydale Brewery, particularly the "Poacher" and "Gamekeeper". These are drinks to die for! But, take it easy if you want to be able to enjoy the scenery afterwards! These are brews of around 5 per cent. You can sit outside if the weather is good or sit inside and enjoy a pub interior that owes nothing to modern `drink-factory` design.



Many pubs offer B&B (bed and breakfast), there are also B&B guesthouses, though these can be pricey, and hard to book in summer.

  • Hostels, [6]. Available throughout the park.  edit


There are numerous campsites available throughout the Dales, the cheapest way to see the Dales, though in winter weather (Oct-Mar) can be too cold, windy and wet.

Stay safe

There is little crime in the Dales except for petty theft from cars so leave valuables hidden. Take precautions against the weather if going out walking etc.

  • Leeds - the biggest city in Yorkshire and is easily accessible, by road or rail.
  • York - historic and is easily accessible, by road or rail.
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Simple English

, a typical example of Dales architecture]] s in the west of the Yorkshire Dales. This part of the national park is popular with walkers due to the presence of the Yorkshire three peaks.]] The Yorkshire Dales (also known as the "Dales") is the name given to an upland area, mostly in Yorkshire, in Northern England. Most of the area falls within the Yorkshire Dales District National Park, created in 1954. The "Dales" is one of the twelve National parks of England and Wales. The area is so called because it is a collection of river valleys ("dale" comes from a Danish word for valley), and the hills in between them. The area lies mainly in the historic county of Yorkshire, but today lies partly in three modern counties : North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and Cumbria.

List of Dales


  • Arkengarthdale
  • Birkdale
  • Bishopdale
  • Coverdale
  • Dentdale
  • Garsdale
  • Langstrothdale
  • Littondale
  • Malhamdale
  • Nidderdale
  • Ribblesdale
  • Swaledale
  • Wensleydale
  • Wharfedale

Other pages

  • Bolton Castle
  • Skipton
  • Settle and Carlisle Railway
  • List of peaks in the Yorkshire Dales

Other websites

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