The Yorkshire Dales is an upland area of the Pennines in the historic county of Yorkshire, England, most of it in the Yorkshire Dales National Park created in 1954.
The Dales comprise river valleys and the hills rising from the Vale of York westwards to the hilltops of the Pennine watershed. In Ribblesdale, Dentdale and Garsdale, the area extends westwards across the watershed, but most of the valleys drain eastwards to the Vale of York, into the Ouse and the Humber. The extensive limestone cave systems are a major area for caving in the UKand numerous walking trails run through the hills and dales.
The word dale , like dell, is derived from the Old English word dæl. It has cognates in the Nordic/Germanic words for valley (dal, tal), and occurs in valley names across Yorkshire and Northern England.Usage here may have been reinforced by Nordic languages during the time of the Danelaw.
Most of the dales are named after their river or stream (e.g., Arkengarthdale, formed by Arkle Beck). The best-known exception is Wensleydale, which is named after the small village and former market town of Wensley, rather than the River Ure, although an older name for the dale is Yoredale.River valleys all over Yorkshire are called "(name of river)+dale"—but only the more northern valleys (and only the upper, rural, reaches) are included in the term "The Dales".
The Yorkshire Dales are surrounded by the North Pennines and Orton Fells in the north, the Vales of York and Mowbray in the east, the South Pennines in the south, and the Lake District and Howgill Fells to the west. They spread to the north from the market and spa towns of Settle, Skipton, and Harrogate in North Yorkshire, to the southern boundary in Wharfedale and Airedale. Natural England define the area as most of the Yorkshire Dales National Park with fringes of the Nidderdale AONB, but without the towns listed above apart from Settle.
The lower reaches of Airedale and Wharfedale are not usually included in the area, and Calderdale, south of Airedale and in the South Pennines, is not often considered part of the Dales (even though it is a dale, is in Yorkshire, and its upper reaches are as scenic and rural as many further north).Additionally, although the National Park includes the Howgill Fells and Orton Fells, they are not usually considered part of the Dales.
Most of the larger southern dales – Ribblesdale, Malhamdale and Airedale, Wharfedale and Nidderdale – run roughly parallel from north to south. The more northerly dales – Wensleydale and Swaledale – run generally from west to east.There are many other smaller or lesser-known dales such as Arkengarthdale, Bishopdale, Clapdale, Coverdale, Kingsdale, Littondale, Langstrothdale, Raydale Waldendale and the Washburn Valley whose tributary streams and rivers feed into the larger valleys, and Barbondale, Dentdale, Deepdale and Garsdale which feed west to the River Lune.
The characteristic scenery of the Dales is green upland pastures separated by dry-stone walls and grazed by sheep and cattle. 4,971 miles (8,000 km) of dry-stone walling in the Yorkshire Dales. Many upland areas consist of heather moorland, used for grouse shooting from 12 August (the Glorious Twelfth).A survey carried out in 1988 estimated that there were just over
Much of the rural area is used for agriculture, with residents living in small villages and hamlets or in farmsteads. Miles of dry-stone walls and much of the traditional architecture has remained,including some field barns, though many are no longer in active use. Breeding of sheep and rearing of cattle remains common. To supplement their incomes, many farmers have diversified, with some providing accommodations for tourists. A number of agricultural shows are held each year.
Lead mining was common in some areas of the Dales in the 19th century, particularly during 1821 to 1861, and some industrial remains can still be found, such as the Grassington miners’ cottages.Certain former mining sites are maintained by Historic England. The Grassington Moor Lead Mining Trail, with its many remaining structures, has received funding from a variety of sources. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority provides a mobile-device software app for those who wish to explore the relevant areas.
In this primarily agricultural area, tourism has become an important contributor to the economy.In 2016, there were 3.8 million visits to the Yorkshire Dales National Park including 0.48 million who stayed at least one night. The park authority estimates that this contributed £252 million to the economy and provided 3,583 full-time equivalent jobs. The wider Yorkshire Dales area received 9.7 million visitors who contributed £644 million to the economy.
Visitors are often attracted by the hiking trails,including some that lead to waterfalls and picturesque villages and small towns. These include Kirkby Lonsdale (just outside the area), Hawes, Appletreewick, Masham, Clapham, Long Preston and Malham.
The 73-mile-long (117 km) Settle–Carlisle line railway, operated by Network Rail, runs through the National Park using tunnels and viaducts, including Ribblehead.
The top-rated attractions according to travellers using the Trip Advisor site include Aysgarth Falls, Malham Cove (scenic walking areas), Ingleborough (hiking trails) and Ribblehead Viaduct.
The DalesBus service provides service in the Dales on certain days in summer, "including the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty". In summer, these buses supplement the other services operating year-round in the Dales.
Tourism in the region declined because of restrictions implemented in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and into 2021. Later in 2021, the volume of visits was expected to increase as a result of the 2020 TV series All Creatures Great and Small , largely filmed within the Dales.The first series aired in the UK in September 2020 and in the US in early 2021. One source stated that visits to Yorkshire websites had increased significantly by late September 2020. By early 2021, the Discover England websites, for example, were using the tagline "Discover 'All Creatures Great and Small' in Yorkshire".
The dales are 'U'- and 'V'-shaped valleys, the former enlarged and shaped by glaciers, mainly in the most recent Devensian ice age.The underlying rock is mainly Carboniferous Limestone, which results in a large areas of karst topography, in places overlain with shale and sandstone and topped with Millstone Grit, although to the north and west of the Dent Fault the hills are formed from older Silurian and Ordovician rocks.
The underlying limestone in parts of the Dales has extensive cave systems, including the 54-mile-long (87 km) Three Counties System, making it a major area for caving in the UK. There are over 2500 known caves; some are open to the public for tours. Visitors can try caving at one of the show caves: White Scar Cave, Ingleborough Cave or Stump Cross Caverns near Greenhow.
The systems include:
The River Wharfe is a river in Yorkshire, England originating within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. For much of its middle course it is the county boundary between West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire. Its valley is known as Wharfedale.
Airedale is a geographic area in Yorkshire, England, corresponding to the river valley or dale of the River Aire.
The Pennines, also known as the Pennine Chain or Pennine Hills, are a range of uplands running between three regions of Northern England: North West England on the west, North East England and Yorkshire and the Humber on the east. Commonly described as the "backbone of England", the range stretches northwards from the Peak District at the southern end, through the South Pennines, Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines to the Tyne Gap, which separates the range from the Border Moors and Cheviot Hills across the Anglo-Scottish border, although some definitions include them. South of the Aire Gap is a western spur into east Lancashire, comprising the Rossendale Fells, West Pennine Moors and the Bowland Fells in North Lancashire. The Howgill Fells and Orton Fells in Cumbria are sometimes considered to be Pennine spurs to the west of the range. The Pennines are an important water catchment area with numerous reservoirs in the head streams of the river valleys.
Wharfedale is the valley of the upper parts of the River Wharfe and one of the Yorkshire Dales. It is situated within the districts of Craven and Harrogate in North Yorkshire, and the cities of Leeds and Bradford in West Yorkshire. It is the upper valley of the River Wharfe. Towns and villages in Wharfedale include Buckden, Kettlewell, Conistone, Grassington, Hebden, Bolton Abbey, Addingham, Ilkley, Burley-in-Wharfedale, Otley, Pool-in-Wharfedale, Arthington, Collingham and Wetherby. Beyond Wetherby, the valley opens out and becomes part of the Vale of York.
Craven is a local government district of North Yorkshire, England centred on the market town of Skipton. In 1974, Craven District was formed as the merger of Skipton urban district, Settle Rural District and most of Skipton Rural District, all in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The population of the Local Authority area at the 2011 Census was 55,409. It comprises the upper reaches of Airedale, Wharfedale, Ribblesdale, and includes most of the Aire Gap and Craven Basin.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a 2,178 km2 (841 sq mi) national park in England covering most of the Yorkshire Dales. Most of the park is in North Yorkshire, with a sizeable area in Westmorland (Cumbria) and a small part in Lancashire. The park was designated in 1954, and extended in 2016. Over 95% of the land in the Park is under private ownership; there are over 1,000 farms in this area.
The mountains of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent are collectively known as the Three Peaks. The peaks, which form part of the Pennine range, encircle the head of the valley of the River Ribble in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in the North of England.
Grassington is a market town and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. The population of the parish at the 2011 Census was 1,126. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, the town is situated in Wharfedale, about 8 miles (10 km) north-west from Bolton Abbey, and is surrounded by limestone scenery. Nearby villages include Linton, Threshfield, Hebden, Conistone and Kilnsey.
Malham is a village and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. Before 20th century boundary changes, the village was part of the Settle Rural District, in the historic West Riding of Yorkshire. In the Domesday Book, the name is given as Malgun, meaning "settlement by the gravelly places". In 2001 the parish had a population of approximately 150. Malham parish increased in size geographically and so at the 2011 Census had a population of 238.
Clapham is a village in the civil parish of Clapham cum Newby in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. It was previously in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It lies within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, 6 miles (10 km) north-west of Settle, and just off the A65 road.
The River Dibb is located in North Yorkshire, England. It is a tributary of the River Wharfe. Grimwith Reservoir is at the head of the River Dibb at a point some 2.5 miles (4 km) from Appletreewick. The river flows for 5.2 kilometres (3.2 mi), and must maintain a flow of 273,000 cubic metres (9,600,000 cu ft) of water a day into the River Wharfe system.
Nidderdale, historically also known as Netherdale, is one of the Yorkshire Dales in North Yorkshire, England. It is the upper valley of the River Nidd, which flows south underground and then along the dale, forming several reservoirs including the Gouthwaite Reservoir, before turning east and eventually joining the River Ouse.
The Nidderdale AONB is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in North Yorkshire, England, bordering the Yorkshire Dales National Park to the east and south. It comprises most of Nidderdale itself, part of lower Wharfedale, the Washburn valley and part of lower Wensleydale, including Jervaulx Abbey and the side valleys west of the River Ure. It covers a total area of 233 square miles (600 km2). The highest point in the Nidderdale AONB is Great Whernside, 704 metres (2,310 ft) above sea level, on the border with the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Hebden is a village and civil parish in the Craven District of North Yorkshire, England, and one of four villages in the ecclesiastical parish of Linton. It lies near Grimwith Reservoir and Grassington, in Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In 2011 it had a population of 246.
The Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association is based in Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales of northern England, and provides help to people and animals in difficulty in the caves and on the fells around Wharfedale, Nidderdale, Littondale and Mid-Airedale. Although it is staffed by approximately 80 volunteers and funded by donations, it is integrated into the emergency services and is called out by the police when there is an appropriate incident. The Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association was founded in 1948, and is the third oldest such team in the UK.
A Dales High Way is a long-distance footpath in northern England. It is 90 miles (140 km) long and runs from Saltaire in West Yorkshire to Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, roughly parallel to the line of the Settle and Carlisle Railway.
Horton Quarry is a limestone quarry near to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire, England. The quarry, which is some 6 miles (9.7 km) north of Settle, has been operating since at least 1889, and produces limestone for a variety of purposes. Stone used to be exported from the quarry by rail, but now leaves by lorry, although there are plans to re-instate the railway sidings. The quarry used to produce its own lime by roasting the limestone in big kilns on the site, but the last of these were removed in the 1980s. Since 2000, the quarry has been owned and operated by Hanson.
Crummackdale,, is a small valley north of the village of Austwick in the Craven District of North Yorkshire, England. The Valley is drained by Austwick Beck, which flows into the River Wenning, which in turn heads westwards to empty into the Irish Sea. Crummackdale is a narrow south west facing dale, at the south west corner of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The geology of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in northern England largely consists of a sequence of sedimentary rocks of Ordovician to Permian age. The core area of the Yorkshire Dales is formed from a layer-cake of limestones, sandstones and mudstones laid down during the Carboniferous period. It is noted for its karst landscape which includes extensive areas of limestone pavement and large numbers of caves including Britain's longest cave network.
There are over 2500 known caves in the Dales including the longest system in Britain
He says this year has been extremely challenging for many businesses in the Dales. In the tourism business, it has been a disaster
There are over 2500 known caves in the Dales including the longest system in Britain