There are over 700 "dales" throughout the county of Yorkshire, around 40 in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. These 4 dales are the most popular for day tours, let me show you the best parts and tell you the stories behind the scenery as it unfolds before you!
The most popular of the Dales, with its winding river and the limestone scenery is also the centre of the lead mining industry. on the moors above Grassington there are chimneys and ruined buildings from the 18thc when the Duke of Devonshire invested in new mines to dig out the Galena, lead sulphite. the Devonshire family still have a home at Bolton Abbey. the villages like Kettlewell, Grassington, Burnsall, even the tiny hamlet of Hubberholme have their stories to tell. Who is the Yorkshire writer that is buried in Hubberholme?
The only dale not named after the river that runs through it! it is named after the village of Wensley near Leyburn. This all changed after the plague struck in 1563, when Askrigg took over as chief market town in the dale. Hawes became the main market town in the late 18thc. it has a castle, where Mary queen of scots was kept prisoner for a while. but without doubt the most famous person associated with Wensleydale is James Herriot, whose book sales have now totalled over 40 million! wrote about, filmed here, but the stories themselves were actually based on his experiences in the Thirsk area! let me show you where "Skeldale House" is !
Actually outside the National Park due to the reservoirs in upper Nidderdale, it is still an "area of outstanding natural beauty" Only a short drive from Harrogate, this dale is full of history, industry and characters. The river Nidd starts life below Scar house reservoir and travels down to the town of Pateley bridge, which has the oldest sweet shop in the country. above the town is scot gate ash quarry, its sandstone being used for railway platforms, docks and used in the museums in Kensington, london. along the edge of this beautiful dale is Brimham rocks, where the millstone grit has been shaped by wind and rain over millions of years in to bears, desks and a balancing stone! Combine Nidderdale and Wharfedale, lunch in Grassington, for a fantastic day out!
The most rugged and northerly of the yorkshire dales. this is the land of water! swale meaning swift, the river swale is the fastest flowing river in england. also home to the swaledale sheep, its distinctive features used in the logo for YDNP. this tough hardy breed can survive outdoors all year round up here, its wool is used for carpet making. from the high fells around Keld and Muker, the Swale takes us east to Richmond, home to a castle and the oldest working georgian theatre in the country! This could be joined with Wensleydale for a day out with grand and expansive views of a more spectacular scenery, moors, barns in meadows, waterfalls etc.