Yorkshire Dales Visitor Guide

About Landscape Nature Recreation

The Yorkshire Dales is famous for its stone walls crossing the landscape, the green of this limestone country contrasting with amazing scenic features such as Kilnsey Crag or Malham Cove.

Each Dale has its own character, with famous rivers such as the Wharfe or Swale flowing along the valley bottom, hardy sheep grazing the uplands, and stone-built farms and villages dotting the landscape. Curlews, oystercatchers and birds of prey can often be seen.

The Yorkshire Dales is prime walking country, with gentle walks throughout, and more taxing walks in the Three Peaks area of Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. Underground, visit caves at White Scar and Stump Cross, or the experienced caver can explore miles of passages.

Towns such as Skipton, Leyburn, Hawes and Richmond offer fascinating shops and interesting diversions, with markets and local produce available.

Throughout the Dales there are reminders of its turbulent history - Viking place names and fortresses such as Bolton Castle and Skipton Castle. More modern attractions such as the Forbidden Corner or Wensleydale Cheese Creamery offer different experiences.

In the Yorkshire Dales there is holiday accommodation to suit all requirements - cosy cottages, welcoming bed and breakfasts and guest houses, hotels and inns in town and country. Good Yorkshire hospitality will add to the pleasure of your stay.

Other Yorkshire Dales Sections we have pages for but are not mentioned in the text of this page - Littondale, Grassington, Malhamdale, Ingleton, Settle, Clapham, Dentdale, Nidderdale and Harrogate.

About the Yorkshire Dales

The Dales lie astride the Pennines in the north of England in the counties of North Yorkshire and Cumbria There are over 20 main dales, differing much from each other in character and atmosphere. To the south of the area lies a highly populated industrial area while to the north thinly settled uplands stretch to the Tees and beyond. About 20,000 people live in the scattered farms, villages and small market towns of the Dales.

People have lived in the area for over 10,000 years and have left their mark on the landscape in the form of ancient settlement sites, disused mineral workings and the patchwork of dry-stone walls and barns so typical of the Dales. Early farmers cleared the woodland and developed the fields.

Sheep on the fells, hay meadows in the valley bottoms: this has long been the way of life for Dales farmers, resulting in a landscape cherished by residents and visitors alike. However, both the landscape and traditional farming methods are now under threat from changing agricultural economics.

Each of the Yorkshire Dales has a different character. The Southern Dales are less remote, and attract day visitors as well as staying guests. The Northern Dales provide rugged scenery for walking and sightseeing. In the West, the villages and small towns have their own charm. Throughout the Dales there is a variety of accommodation and attractions which can keep any visitor fully engaged.

The Yorkshire Dales is worth a visit at any time of year - try a snug country pub with an open fire in the winter months, a luxury hotel for a spring break, a cottage for a summer base, or a bed and breakfast for an autumn weekend. Wherever you go or stay you will find a fascinating landscape and many things to see and do.

Sheep on the fells Limestone clints in the Yorkshire Dales A typical dales landscape