Yorkshire Dales

Lots of my friends and website viewers have asked me for more information about the Yorkshire Dales. So here I go!

The Yorkshire Dales and The Lakes are now England’s biggest expanse of protected countryside and our most cherished National Parks. These stunning areas inspire millions to visit every year and are the home to more than sixty thousand people.

The Yorkshire Dales is one of the finest landscapes in the country, with marvellous limestone formations, originally built by sheep farmers, contrasting with the heather clad moorlands and valley bottoms full of meadows, dry stone walls and scattered with field barns.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park’s valleys, cliffs, hills and moorland offer incredible walking and cycling. The road where we live leads north out of the village and we are about 500 yards from the North Yorkshire Dales boundary. My favorite is Malham Cove which is just a few miles up the road from where we live in the village of Gargrave which is in North Yorkshire, just on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

There are some photos of Malham Cove on this website.

The Yorkshire Dales is in the English County of Yorkshire and was created in 1954.

The Yorkshire Dales comprise river valleys, hills and an extensive limestone cave system and is about 680 square miles. A survey carried out in 1988, estimated that there were just over 4,971 miles of dry-stone walling in the Yorkshire Dales. Many of the upland areas consist of heather moorland and are used for grouse shooting from 12 August each year.

Lead mining was quite common in many areas of the Dales in the 19th Century and some industrial remains can still be found, for example, the miners’ cottages which can be seen in Grassington. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal was used to transport lead and additional developed products.

Uphill and down Dale the Yorkshire Dales Park is home to some of Britain’s most iconic scenery and attractions. With spectacular limestone valleys, picture postcard villages and historic castles, it is a place that stirs the emotions and stimulates the senses. 

Tourism is especially important and there are about 4 million visitors each year with about half a million who stay for more than one night.

Most of the Dales are named after their river or stream. Examples are Wensleydale, Ousedale and Swaledale. The River Aire flows though Gargrave, so we are in Airedale. However, Malham is awfully close and spectacular and our area is often called Malhamdale.

More than 60,000 people live and work in the Dales playing a key role in helping to maintain the natural beauty. Much of the area is used for agriculture with residents living in small villages and hamlets or farms. Many miles of dry-stone walls and the traditional architecture has remained, and breeding cattle and sheep is still an important aspect of the economy. There are lots of horse riders in the area.

In 2014 The Yorkshire Dales played a role in the Tour de France! creating a great day in Skipton watching all the cyclists!

The whole area provides fabulous cycling opportunities from gentle routes in the valleys to some challenging climbs over the moorland that separates them. From the wild and remote northern dales to the rolling farmland in the east, the cycling is always memorable for the fantastic scenery and beautiful villages.