Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Breath taking scenery, miles of walking, gorgeous villages & plenty of county pubs!


Wensleydale is the valley (dale) of the River Ure on the east side of the Pennines in North Yorkshire, England.

History: Wensleydale was the origin of one of Yorkshire's most famous clans, the Metcalfes. The Metcalfe Society hold records dating back to Metcalfes living in the area during the 14th century. They were one of the most prominent families in Yorkshire for over five centuries. Sir James Metcalfe (1389–1472), who was born and lived in Wensleydale, was a captain in the army which fought with King Henry V in the battle of Agincourt in 1415. Metcalfe is still one of the most common surnames in Yorkshire.

Bolton Castle in the village of Castle Bolton is a notable local historic site. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here. The story goes that she escaped and made her way towards Leyburn only to lose her 'shawl' on the way, hence the name ('The Shawl') to the cliff edge that runs westward out of Leyburn and is a well-known spot for easy walks with excellent views.

Geography: Wenleydale's principal settlements are Hawes and Leyburn; Aysgarth, Bainbridge, and Middleham are well-known villages. The shortest river in England, the River Bain, links Semer Water to the River Ure, at Bainbridge, the home to an Ancient Roman fort (part of the Roman road is walkable, up Wether Fell). Hardraw Force, the highest unbroken waterfall in England, is located at Hardraw, near Hawes. Aysgarth Falls (High, Middle, Low) are rightly famous, and people come from a long way to see them - they are spectacular in their beauty (enough to feature in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves) rather than their height.

Tourism: Wensleydale is a common destination for visitors who like walking on mountains, moorland, dale-sides, and valley bottoms. A high moorland lake called Semer Water is famous for boating, water-skiing and fishing. Hawes and Leyburn are popular because of their age, location and facilities (pubs, shops, teashops, and hotels). Hawes is the home of a rope-makers (Outhwaites), where visitors can see the manufacturing process. There is also the popular Wensleydale Railway.