The Yorkshire Dales National Park

Outstanding scenery a rich cultural heritage. Its a special place -  a fantastic outdoor area!

 

The Yorkshire Dales lie within the historic county boundaries of Yorkshire, though spans the ceremonial counties of North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and Cumbria. Most of the area falls within the Yorkshire Dales District National Park, created in 1954. The Dales is a collection of river valleys and the hills in between them, rising from the Vale of York westwards to the hilltops of the main Pennine watershed. 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.

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.

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

An area of 1,770 kmē was designated the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Most of the National Park is in North Yorkshire, though part lies within Cumbria. The park is 50 miles north east of Manchester; Leeds and Bradford lie to the south, while Kendal is to the west and Darlington to the east.

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. Cycling is also popular and there are several cycleways.