Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales
Yorkshire Dales
Protected Area
National park entrance sign, near Skipton
Country United Kingdom
Part England
Counties North Yorkshire, Cumbria
Highest point
 - location Whernside
 - elevation 736 m (2,415 ft)
Area 1,769 km2 (683 sq mi)
National Park of England 1954
IUCN category V - Protected Landscape/Seascape
Yorkshire Dales National Park within North Yorkshire

The Yorkshire Dales is the name given to an upland area in Northern England.

The area lies within the historic county boundaries of Yorkshire, though it spans the ceremonial counties of North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Cumbria. Most of the area falls within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, created in 1954, and now one of the fifteen National parks of Britain, but the term also includes areas to the east of the National Park, notably Nidderdale.

The Dales is a collection of river valleys and the hills among them, rising from the Vale of York westwards to the hilltops of the main Pennine watershed (the British English meaning). 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.

The word dale comes from the Nordic/Germanic word for valley (dal, tal), and occurs in valley names across Yorkshire (and Northern England generally) but the name Yorkshire Dales is generally used to refer specifically to the dales west of the Vale of York and north of the West Yorkshire Urban Area. The Yorkshire Dales is served by its own radio station, Fresh Radio, which broadcasts programmes from studio bases in Skipton and Richmond.



Most of the dales in the Yorkshire Dales are named after their river or stream (e.g. 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, although an older name for the dale is Yoredale. In fact, valleys all over Yorkshire are called "(name of river)+dale"—but only the more northern Yorkshire valleys (and only the upper, rural, reaches) are included in the term "The Dales". For example, the southern boundary area lies in Wharfedale and Airedale. The lower reaches of these valleys are not usually included in the area and Calderdale much further south, would not normally be referred to as part of "The Dales" even though it is a dale, is in Yorkshire, and the upper reaches are as scenic and rural as many valleys further north.

Geographically, the classical Yorkshire Dales spread to the north from the market and spa towns of Settle, 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) run generally from west to east. There are also 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. The dales themselves are 'U' and 'V' shaped valleys, which were enlarged and shaped by glaciers, mainly in the most recent, Devensian ice age. The underlying rock is principally Carboniferous limestone (which results in a number of areas of limestone pavement) in places interspersed with shale and sandstone and topped with Millstone Grit. To the north and west of the Dent fault, the hills are principally older Silurian and Ordovician rocks, which make up the Howgill Fells.

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

Carboniferous limestone is a common geological feature in the Yorkshire Dales, this panoramic image shows the western face of Thwaites Scars taken from Long Lane.


The majority of visitors come to sightsee, with 75% visiting to drive around and 65% walking around. This indicates that most people visiting are there to take in the beauty of the surroundings. 26% also partake in nature trails and spotting wildlife. 45% visit an information centre while 35% visit a castle or other historic site. 94% of visitors travel in a private mode of transport, with 90% using a car. The remaining 6% travelled using public transport. [1]

Cave systems

Gaping Gill

Because of the limestone that runs throughout the Dales, there are extensive cave systems present across the area, making it one of the major areas for caving in the UK. Many of these are open to the public for tours and for caving.[2]

These include:

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Stone houses in Hawes, a typical example of Dales architecture
Limestone hills and dry-stone walls in the west of the Yorkshire Dales. This part of the national park is popular with walkers due to the presence of the Yorkshire three peaks.

In 1954 an area of 1,770 square kilometres (680 sq mi) was designated the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Most of the National Park is in North Yorkshire, though part lies within Cumbria. However, the whole park lies within the historic boundaries of Yorkshire, divided between the North Riding and the West Riding. The park is 50 miles (80 km) north east of Manchester; Leeds and Bradford lie to the south, while Kendal is to the west and Darlington to the east.[6] A proposed westward extension to the park would encompass much of the area between the current park and the M6 motorway, coming close to the towns of Kirkby Lonsdale, Kirkby Stephen and Appleby-in-Westmorland.[7]This proposal to add 162 square miles to the park has now been agreed by all interested parties and merely awaits ministerial approval. For the first time the Yorkshire Dales NP and the Lake District NP will be contiguous.[8]

Over 20,000 residents live and work in the park, which attracts over eight million visitors every year.[9] 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.[10] Cycling is also popular and there are several cycleways.[11]

The Park has its own museum, the Dales Countryside Museum, housed in a conversion of the Hawes railway station in Wensleydale in the north area.[12] The park has five visitor centres located in major destinations in the park.[13] These are at:

Other places and sights within the National Park include:

List of Dales

Janet's Foss, near Malham
The whole of Ingleborough as seen from the peat bog below

See also


External links

Coordinates: 54°16′N 2°05′W / 54.267°N 2.083°W / 54.267; -2.083

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Yorkshire Dales — Categoría UICN II (Parque nacional) Poste de entrada al parque nacional, cerca de Skipton …   Wikipedia Español

  • Yorkshire Dales — Nationalpark (rot) in North Yorkshire …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Yorkshire Dales — 54°16′N 2°05′W / 54.267, 2.083 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Yorkshire Dales — n [pl] an area of countryside, valleys and villages in the north of England. They are mainly in the county of North Yorkshire but also partly in Cumbria. The area became a national park in 1954. It is considered one of the most beautiful areas in …   Universalium

  • Yorkshire Dales Railway — The Yorkshire Dales Railway was a branch line linking the town of Skipton with the villages of Rylstone, Threshfield and Grassington in North Yorkshire, England. There were two stations on the line Grassington Threshfield and Rylstone and a… …   Wikipedia

  • Yorkshire Dales National Park — Sp Jòrkšyro slėnių nacionãlinis párkas Ap Yorkshire Dales National Park L D. Britanijoje (Anglijoje) …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • High Seat (Yorkshire Dales) — Infobox Mountain Name = High Seat Photo = Mallerstang.jpg Caption = The escarpment of Mallerstang Edge High Seat is away to the right. Elevation = 709 m (2326 ft) Location = Yorkshire Dales, England Range = Prominence = 112 m Coordinates =… …   Wikipedia

  • (the) Yorkshire Dales — the Yorkshire Dales [the Yorkshire Dales] noun [pl] an area of countryside, valleys and villages in the north of England. They are mainly in the county of ↑North Yorkshire but also partly in ↑Cumbria. The area became a ↑national park in 1954. It… …   Useful english dictionary

  • List of peaks in the Yorkshire Dales — This is a list of the peaks in the Yorkshire Dales. Marilyns are peaks in the British Isles with 150 m of relative height; Hewitts are peaks in England, Ireland and Wales over 2000 ft (610 m) elevation, with at least 30 m relative height. In this …   Wikipedia

  • Simon Fell (Yorkshire Dales) — Simon Fell is a subsidiary summit on the north east ridge of Ingleborough, a mountain in the Yorkshire Dales in Northern England. With a height of 650 metres and a prominence of 35 metres, it is classified as a Hewitt …   Wikipedia