The Yorkshire Dales has many moods; it can be wild and windswept or quietly tranquil with valleys full of hay meadows, dry stone walls and barns.
Spectacular waterfalls and ancient woodlands contrast with the scattered remains of rural industries. Together, nature and people created a special landscape of immense beauty and character – one of the most picturesque places in the country.
Grab your boots and come and walk the Dales. There are walks to suit all ages and experience, including ‘miles without stiles’ accessible walks, hill and meadow walks.
You’ll find some of the finest limestone scenery in the UK. From pavements to caves to cascading waterfalls that plummet down dramatic cliff faces. There are dozens to visit.
The Dales is perfect for foodies. There are cheese festivals, farmer markets, micro-breweries, and the world-famous Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes. Make sure you come hungry.
10 reasons why the Yorkshire Dales is a special place…
Ancient dry-stone walls and field barns are defining features of the Dales landscape – shaped over thousands of years by people and nature. The iconic pattern of barns and walls in Upper Swaledale is recognised as being one of the most distinctive agricultural landscapes in Western Europe.
There are dozens of spectacular waterfalls such as Hardraw Force – the longest unbroken drop in England – Ingleton Falls, Janet’s Foss and the world famous Aysgarth Falls which featured alongside Hardraw Force in the hit movie ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’.
The Yorkshire Dales has some of the most spectacular peaks in England, and the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent are amongst the highest in the county, providing an inspiring challenge to walkers from around the world.
Yorkshire is the home of cycling thanks to the 2014 Tour de France ‘Grand Depart’ and Le Tour de Yorkshire. The Dales offers some of the best cycling the country – from gentle routes in the valleys to challenging climbs over the moorland that separates them; including the iconic Buttertubs pass. Check out cyclethedales.org.uk
Over a quarter of England’s flower-rich upland hay meadows and pastures are here – outstanding examples can be found in Swaledale and Langstrothdale – and keep an eye out for nationally important populations of birds like curlew, lapwing, and black grouse.
Some of the best examples of classic limestone scenery can be found the Yorkshire Dales. With its scars such as those at Gordale and Attermire and limestone pavements such as those at Great Asby Scar and Malham Cove, which featured in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part two’.
The most extensive caving area in the UK is here, including the longest cave system – the Three Counties System – and one of the largest caverns and the highest unbroken underground waterfall at Gaping Gill.
The stunning dark sky of the Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of its very special qualities, and each year we support a special festival to celebrate it. The Dark Sky Festival is all about discovering, learning and enjoying the galaxies and stars you don’t normally get to see.
Around 42% of the area of the National Park is moorland, which is internationally important for wildlife, plant species and the carbon they store as peat.
Livestock farming – with distinct sheep breeds like Wensleydale and Swaledale and a strong tradition of upland cattle rearing, that is still deeply interwoven into local life and made famous through local cheese making. Livestock sales and agricultural shows play an important part in the lives of local people.
There are many ways to enjoy the Yorkshire Dales! Whether you’re coming by car, train, bike or on foot, whether you’re coming for the day or staying for longer.
One of the best ways in which you can enjoy the Dales is by walking; there are over 60 varied short walks you can take to enjoy the wonderful scenery. If you fancy more of a challenge, there are longer distance options which include the Pennine Way, Coast to Coast, Pennine Bridleway, and the famous Three Peaks, where the aim is to walk 24 miles, covering all three summits, Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, in 12 hours!
Other ways to access the Dales are cycling and mountain biking – a great way to take in the landscape and observe the wildlife. We have a network of 900km of bridleways, by-ways and green lanes available for you to use, or try some of the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire routes. There are plenty of picture postcard towns and villages to stop off for refreshments!
Take a heritage train journey on the iconic Settle – Carlisle line which cuts through the heart of the Dales, providing stunning views of the landscape and taking in famous features such as the Ribblehead viaduct and the Westmorland fells or take the Wensleydale Railway from Leaming to Redmire.
Stay a while, there are hundreds of cosy B&B’s and holiday cottages to suit everyone. Bring friends, bring families, and enjoy everything the Yorkshire Dales has to offer.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park is very accessible by road, but there are lots of alternative, greener ways to get about including walking, cycling and taking the train or bus.
The excellent DalesBus network through the Yorkshire Dales National Park offers wonderful opportunities for sightseeing and walking. And in the north of the Park, the community run Little White bus links Garsdale station to Hawes, and there are services from Richmond, Leyburn and Reeth.
If you’re coming by car, the M6 skirts the National Park to the west, the A66 to the north, the A1 to the east and the A65 and A59 to the south.
By train you can access the Dales from Northallerton, or Darlington on the East Coast mainline with bus connections into places like Leyburn, Hawes and Reeth. Or you can travel directly into the heart of the Dales on one of the scheduled services from Leeds to Carlisle using the iconic Settle – Carlisle line. Services stop in Settle, Horton in Ribblesdale, Ribblehead, Garsdale and Kirkby Stephen.
Taking the bus is an excellent way of enjoying the views without having to worry about keeping your eyes on the road. It helps reduce congestion and parking problems. Visit www.dalesbus.org or www.traveline.info