Yorkshire Dales guide to Wensleydale


Upper Wensleydale

Wensleydale is a lush sweeping valley, distinct for its wooded knolls and hidden waterfalls; the most famous being Aysgarth Falls and Hardraw Force. The latter is the site of an annual brass band contest in September.

Hawes, known as the capital of Upper Wensleydale, is a busy market town. Here you can visit Dales Countryside Museum, the Gayle Mill Experience as well as the famous Wensleydale Creamery and traditional Ropemakers. Walk the 2.5 mile circular walk from Hawes or take the Little White Bus to the Snaizehome red squirrel viewing area in the heart of the Widdale Red Squirrel Reserve.

The village of Bainbridge is centred around a spacious village green complete with stocks. The River Bain, the shortest river in England, flows from Lake Semerwater over a picturesque waterfall near the village.

Askrigg is famous for its associations with the James Herriot television series "All Creatures Great and Small". It has regular craft fairs, an annual art exhibition and flower festival.

Coverdale and Bishopdale

Both tributaries of Wensleydale, these are secret dales off the main tourist route and provide an ideal place to escape to peace and tranquility.

Middleham sits at the junction of Wensleydale and Coverdale. It has many attractive buildings gracefully arranged around two market squares, a legacy of the race horse training industry which started here as long ago as the 12th century and still thrives today.

Attractive shops and tearooms make Middleham well worth a visit together but its highlight is the ruins of Middleham Castle, the home of Richard III in the 15th century.

The attractive villages of Carlton in Coverdale and West Scrafton nestle further up the dale. A major attraction in the area is the modern folly of The Forbidden Corner, now one of Yorkshire's leading tourist attractions with its fascinating underground and overground passages. Bookings can be made via Leyburn Tourist Information Centre.

West Burton in Bishopdale is a picturesque village centred around a large village green. You need to make a short detour to enjoy its charms and discover the hidden waterfall. Thoralby and Newbiggin also lie down hidden lanes off the main route down the dale.

On the road towards Leyburn pass through West Witton then to the village of  Wensley, where in an old watermill are candle makers who make candles by traditional and modern methods. Across the Dale is Bolton Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was held. It is open to the public, and features regular historical events.

Leyburn and Lower Wensleydale

Only a short drive from the A1, Leyburn is a thriving market town set amongst the rolling hills of Lower Wensleydale. A good range of traditional shops are centred around three distinct cobbled squares and lively produce and livestock markets take place each Friday. There is excellent accommodation and services.

Leyburn boasts one or two unusual attractions having its own cinema, a Teapottery producing novelty teapots,
a chocolate maker, violin maker's workshop and a fine arts and antiques auction house. Craft workshops and galleries also offer a range of locally and regionally made items including woodturning, stained glass, paintings and pottery.

To the east of Leyburn, Bedale is another interesting market town with market held every Tuesday and the Big Sheep, Little Cow Farm Attraction, Close by, Newton-Le-Willows is a glorious listed Georgian hideaway.

Lower Wensleydale opens out into gentle sweeping countryside with the majestic ruins of Jervaulx Abbey hidden in a peaceful wooded setting beside the River Ure. The garden at Constable Burton Hall is also well worth visiting to enjoy its fine trees, woodland walks and rose garden. The Wensleydale Railway from Leeming Bar to Bedale, Leyburn and Redmire is a great way to explore this beautiful dale.

Bishopdale Aysgarth Falls West Burton
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  • Colling Well Cottage

    This single storey cottage is centrally located for Leyburn, Richmond and the Yorkshire Dales. Set in attractive gardens and overlooking fields, it is in the pretty village of Hunton offering good pub/restaurant and 15 minutes from the A1. Available locally is great walking, fishing, golfing and pony trekking.

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  • Stow House Guest House

    Stow House is situated close to Aysgarth Falls with great views of Wensleydale. It has 9 en-suite bedrooms, croquet and tennis lawns and 3 golf courses close by. During the shooting season, parties of 9 guns are welcome and Stow House makes a great venue for house parties and family reunions.

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  • Street Head Inn

    Close to scenic West Burton village, this 17th century inn is convenient for both Wensleydale and Wharfedale. The Inn offers a wide variety of meals in its excellent restaurant. The inviting and well appointed bedrooms all offer en-suite facilities and panoramic views over Bishopdale.

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  • Askrigg Cottage Holidays

    Located in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in Askrigg, Wensleydale and Thwaite, Swaledale, choose from this selection of charming holiday homes which are are individual and historic, with many of them being listed buildings.

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  • Bishopdale Bunkhouse

    Close to West Burton village, this recently converted former school is convenient for Wensleydale and Wharfedale, with meals available at the nearby Street Head Inn.

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  • The Old Star

    The Old Star is a 17th century former coaching inn, now a family run bed and breakfast offering en suite accommodation with uninterrupted views across Wensleydale. Great base for walking, cycling or touring in the Yorkshire Dales. The 2014 Tour de France passes by the nearby market town of Leyburn.

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  • Charlcot Lodges

    North Yorkshire holiday lodges in woodland setting in magnificent Wensleydale countryside. Comtemporary log cabins offering self-catering holiday accommodation in the Yorkshire Dales National Park near Masham. Walks and Yorkshire attractions on the doorsteps. Pet friendly holiday accommodation.

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  • Stonecroft Cottage

    Situated near Middleham Castle in stunning Wensleydale, Stonecroft is an 18th century, Dales cottage with inglenook fireplace and woodburner, offering a high standard of accommodation at reasonable rates. Short breaks are available in winter. One well behaved dog is welcome.

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  • Braithwaite Hall

    Braithwaite Hall offers 5 star luxury B&B with a self-catering apartment for cottage holidays on a Coverdale working Swaledale Sheep farm, which was first built in the 1300s when it was listed as a grange to Jervaulx Abbey. Free fishing on the River Cover.

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  • Greenhills

    Within walking distance of the pretty Dales Market town of Leyburn, Greenhills offers en-suite accommodation in a comfortable family house with residents' lounge and private parking. Good base to explore the Yorkshire Dales and Wensleydale attractions

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  • Middle Farm

    Middle Farm is a peacefully situated traditional Dales farmhouse, with converted adjoining stable block for guest accommodation, between Wensleydale and Wharfedale. It is noted for its excellent home cooking, and offers bed and breakfast with optional dinner.

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  • Black Sheep Brewery

    Situated at the gateway to Wensleydale, Masham is the home of the Black Sheep Brewery. Regular 'shepherded' tours of the Brewery allow visitors to experience the traditional brewing process and the aroma and taste of English hops and malted barley.

    Black Sheep Brewery Website Map Where to Stay
  • Bolton Castle

    Bolton Castle is a spectacular medieval fortress, preserved in outstanding condition and situated in the heart of Wensleydale, inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is a 14th Century castle and is a Grade I listed building. Visit our medieval Mary Garden (Catholic Garden), herb garden, vineyard & maze, rose gardens & bowling green. They do weddings and private events.

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  • Masham Sheep Fair

    The popular Masham Sheep Fair in Lower Wensleydale commemorates past times where as many as 70,000 sheep were sold each year. Masham is filled with sheepy fun and entertainment. Held each year on a weekend at the end of September.

    Masham Sheep Fair Website Map Where to Stay
  • Wensleydale Creamery

    Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre incorporates a museum, viewing gallery, specialist cheese shop, 1897 Coffee shop and fully licensed restaurant. Wensleydale cheese has been made in Wensleydale since 1150, when Cistercian monks settled in the dale.

    Wensleydale Creamery Website Map Where to Stay
  • Wensleydale Equestrian Riding Centre

    Wensleydale Equestrian offers a full range of riding and equestrian activities and facilities.Trekking and hacking out from short lead rein hacks to full day treks, for both experienced and novice riders. Riding lessons for groups or individuals, experience range from novice to experienced riders.

    Wensleydale Equestrian Riding Centre Website Map Where to Stay
  • Wensleydale Railway

    One of the longest heritage railway lines in the UK, Wensleydale Railway runs 16 miles from Leeming Bar to Redmire through the magnificent scenery of the Yorkshire Dales. Making a great day out, the Railway also offers including guided walks and excursions.

    Wensleydale Railway Website Map Where to Stay
  • Wensleydale Show

    Find Wensledale Show just outside of Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. There is an extensive range of competitive events for livestock and poultry with over 60 classes in poultry alone! Held every year at the end of August.

    Wensleydale Show Website Map Where to Stay
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