Yorkshire Dales Visitor Guide
The Yorkshire Dales is recognised universally by its stone walls and grazing sheep spread over the walled landscape. Its natural landscape forms one of the UK's National Parks. It has been featured in the James Herriot vet series "All Creatures Great and Small".
The Dales have been carved out by rivers over millennia. Outside the Park, the most southerly Dales of Calderdale and Airedale flow though cities and towns of West Yorkshire – notably the River Aire flows through the centre of Leeds and the market town of Skipton. Wharfedale becomes more rural, stretching from north of Leeds to the moorland uplands, flowing through towns such as Otley and Ilkley and more rural settings such as Bolton Abbey and Grassington.
The exception that proves the rule, Wensleydale is the valley of the River Ure, flowing close to the small cathedral town of Ripon, near which is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey. Racehorse training takes place at Middleham, whose Castle was the childhood home of King Richard III. The privately owned Bolton Castle in Wensleydale is a solid feature of the landscape, once the prison of Mary Queen of Scots, with further up the Dale the town of Hawes, home to Wensleydale cheese making to the delight of Wallace (and maybe Gromit).
The northernmost of the Yorkshire Dales is Swaledale, a more intimate valley once home to lead mining, The Swaledale village of Reeth is much visited, with the Swale flowing around the spectacular Norman fortress of Richmond Castle in a hilltop setting.
The rivers of the Dales flow east into the River Ouse, and ultimately the River Humber and the North Sea with one exception – the River Ribble flows through Settle and the western Dales to reach the Irish Sea.
You can get info about the Yorkshire Dales at: https://www.yorkshirenet.co.uk/yorkshire-dales/