Meet the Dales

The Yorkshire Dales National Park comprise's of 25 Major Dales & 34 Smaller Dales all within it's new boundaries. CLICK >> on your favourite dales and view our stunning collection of photographs. Just sit back relax and enjoy admiring the view..... We have helped out by producing a webpage of our 'recommendations' of where to Stay, Play, Eat and Drink when in the Yorkshire Dales.


CLICK here >> Destination Dales

25 Major Dales

  1. Arkengarthdale
  2. Barbondale 
  3. Birkdale
  4. Bishopdale 
  5. Chapel-le-Dale 
  6. Coverdale
  7. Deepdale 
  8. Dentdale 
  9. Garsdale
  10. Howgills 
  11. Kingsdale
  12. Langstrothdale 
  13. Littondale 
  14. Lune Valley
  15. Malhamdale
  16. Mallerstang 
  17. Orton Fell
  18. Raydale 
  19. Ribblesdale
  20. Sleddale
  21. Silverdale 
  22. Swaledale
  23. Wensleydale
  24. Wharfedale 
  25. Widdale

Download our map of the Yorkshire Dales or CLICK on the name of the dale that you are interested in to view our collection of photographs.


34 Smaller Dales

Apedale - 3 miles north of Redmire

Bardale - 3.5 miles south of Gayle, south west of Semer Water

Clapdale - 1 mile north of Clapham. Also referred to as Claphamdale

Cotterdale - 4 miles north west of Hawes

Cragdale - 2 miles south of Semerwater

Crummackdale - a quiet valley near Austwick.

Diddlesdale - from Grimwith Reservoir under Dibble's Bridge

Doedale - Located in same valley as Twistleondale & Chapel le Dale

East Stonesdale - 1 mile east of Keld

Fossdale - 3 miles north of Hawes

Gordale - 1.5 miles north east of Malham alongside of Gordale Scar.

Great Sleddale - approx. 3 miles west of Angram

Grisedale - 5 miles east of Sedbergh

Langdale - Located in the Northern Howgills

Littledale - Settle Carlisle line runs through dale north of Ribblehead

Little Sledddale - 5 miles west of Angram

Lonsdale - Located around Thornton in Lonsdale near Ingleton

Lunesdale - 3 miles south west of Middleton

Mossdale - is a remote valley high up on Grassington Moor

Overdale - 2 miles south east of Horton in Ribblesdale

RawtheyValley - Located alongside the A683 Sedbergh

Ravenstonedale - Located south west of Kirkby Stephen

Skyredale - Runs by the hamlets of Skyreholme nr Appletreewick

Smardale - 2 miles west of Kirkby Stephan

Snaizeholme - 2 miles south west of Gayle

Stockdale - 3 miles west of Muker

Trollerdale - Feeding into Skyredale near village of Appletreewick

Twistletondale - Located in the same valley as Doedale Chapel le Dale

Uldale - approx. 5 miles north east of Sedbergh

Waldendale - This valley is on the south side of Wensleydale

Weasdale - 2 miles west of Ravenstonedale

West Stonesdale - 1.5 miles north of Keld

Whitsundale -  South east of Kirkby Stephen bordering Birkdale

Woodale - 3 miles east of Hubberhulme

How the dales became a national institution

1931: A National Park in the Yorkshire Dales was first suggested by planners, but to include only the Craven district and part of Swaledale. However, the idea of National Parks in England and Wales was put on hold because of economic problems and then the Second World War.


1945: Ilkley-born architect John Dower, who was appointed by the Government to assess which areas were in need of protection, produced a report recommending the establishment of National Parks.


1949: The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act was passed. The Peak District was the first park to be established, followed by the Lake District, Snowdonia, Dartmoor, PembrokeshireCoast, North York Moors and Exmoor.


1952: The new National Parks Commission visited the Yorkshire Dales to determine which areas should be included in the proposed park.


1954: Following opposition from councils and others a public inquiry was held. The inspector rejected objections and an order creating the establishment of the National Park was confirmed.


1954: YDNP came into being on November 16th


1957: To begin with, the park was run by two committees, one for the West Riding and one for the North Riding, but these were now co-ordinated with a Joint Advisory Committee. A token arrangement, said critics.


1963: Wilf Proctor appointed as the first warden by the West Riding. Two years later he began recruiting voluntary wardens.


1964: Norman Crossley was appointed warden for the North Riding. There were 400 applicants.


1968: The old Reading Room at Clapham became the first National Park Information Centre.


1974: From April 1 the park came within the new North Yorkshire Council and smaller parts in Cumbria. A National Park Officer and other staff were appointed, and central government now paid 75 per cent of funding.


1981: In October the inaugural meeting of the Yorkshire Dales Society, set up to ensure that the park’s users had a stronger voice, took place at Buckden in Wharfedale.


1997: The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority established with its own administration, finances and legal services working from new offices at Bainbridge in Wensleydale.


2005: Following the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000, the Yorkshire Dales was finally declared “open” for public access. Previously only four per cent of land had public access, but now the figure was 62 per cent.


2016: On the 1st August the National Park extends its boundaries to the West increasing it from 680 to 841 sq miles.


Interesting and historical facts

Most of the Dales were named after rivers that flow through them, accept Wensleydale which is named after the town Wensley and the river is named the river Ure.


Became a National Park on the 16th November 1954


Extented 1st August 2016


Spa towns were Settle, Skipton, Ilkley & Harrogate


There are approx. 5,300 miles (8,700 kilometres) of drystone walls within the National Park.


Yorkshire Dales National Park now covers 841 sq miles (from 1st August 2016)


Estimated 600,000 sheep in the YDNP


Attracts over 8 million visitor a year


60,000 people work & live in the dales


20,00 people work in the dales


A Dale is an open valley. The name is used when describing the physical geography of an area. It is used most frequently in the Lowlands of Scotland and in the North of England, where the term "fell" commonly refers to the mountains or hills that flank the dale.

The word Dale comes from the Old English word Dael, from which the word "dell" is also derived. It is also related to Old Norse word dalr (and the modern Icelandic word dalur), which may perhaps have influenced its survival in northern England. Dale is a synonym to the word valley, which entered the English language after the Norman Conquest. Norwegian towns frequently use this term: dalekvam, dale.


The Yorkshire pudding was ate as a 1st course filler for poor people to reduce their hunger for the meat course!

The 1st recorded recipe of Yorkshire Pudding was in 1737 when it was called 'A Dripping Pudding'


The Yorkshire Dales National Park has 23 mls of byways, 389 mls of bridleways & 906 miles of footpaths. All free!


In 2010 the Yorkshire Pudding was voted the most popular and successful export to come out of Yorkshire.

Aunt Bessie's is the world’s largest brand of frozen/ready to bake Yorkshire puddings. 20 million+ made per a week!

Aunt Bessie’s frozen Yorkshire puddings were originally created by the company for Butlins Holiday Camps in 1974

If your Yorkshire Pud is not 4” tall it is not a real Pud says the Royal Society for Advancing Chemical Sciences


From 1780 - 1820 the Enclosure Act led to the creation of the drystone walls which characterises the Yorkshire Dales


A fat rascal is a type of turf cake which originates from Yorkshire - it was a means of using leftover pastry


The Yorkshire Dales National Park has over 36% of Britain’s limestone pavement which includes the top of Malham Cove


Wensleydale is named after a small village rather than its river, in line with most other of the Yorkshire dales? Why isn't it known as Yoredale or Uredale? The reason is that the village of Wensley was once home to the only market in the upper dale, its market charter having been granted by Henry le Scrope, Chief Justice, in 1318. The village remained the hub of local trade until it was badly hit by the plague in 1563. So badly Wensley suffered that a local field called Chapel Hill was used for the burial of the victims in a plague pit, many of the surviving villagers fled to nearby Leyburn. The registers of the former parish church, Holy Trinity, record: The reason as some think that nothing is found written in this register in the year of our Lord God, 1563, is because in that year the visitation or plague was most fearful, so that many fled, and the town of Wensley, by reason of the sickness was unfrequented for a long season; as I found in one old writing dated 1569. Although Wensley eventually recovered, it caused the focus of trade to shift to Leyburn and then Hawes. 


Interesting facts about the individual Dales


The Yorkshire Dales is home to Britain's highest pub, the Tan Hill Inn, at 1,732ft above sea level


Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales dates from the 17th & 18th century. It was built to serve the miners in the area


Over 10% of lead used in England came from Arkengarthdale


Arkengarth lead was used on the roofs of Windsor castle


The old Smelting Works at Surrender Bridge between Feetham & Reeth dates back to around the 1830's


The Forbidden Corner in Coverdale was the idea of Colin Armstrong a millionaire & former ambassador to Ecuador. He began building the grotto for his grandchildren during 1989, then subsequently opened it's doors to the public 1994


Middleham Castle was the childhhood home for Richard III where Richard learnt his battle skills at the Castle owned by the Earl of Warwick. Completed in 1190


Middleham Castle in the Yorkshire Dales was once known as the Windsor of the North & used as a prison during the civil war.


Middleham Castle in the Yorkshire Dales once had a leper hospital with permission provided by Edward IV in 1478.


Malham Cove 260 feet at its highest point


Malham Cove is a huge curving amphitheatre shaped cliff formation of limestone rock. The cliff is 260 feet high.


Janet's Foss in, North Yorkshire. Janet (or Jennet) is a fairy queen that inhabits the cave behind the waterfall!


Malham Tarn is a freshwater lake in the Yorkshire Dales It is the highest lake in England. 1237 ft above sea level


Pendragon Castle built 12th century, fell into disrepair in late 1600's Legend has it that Uther Pendragon built the original castle in the 5th century, he was thought to be the father of King Arthur.


Semerwater in Raydale is Yorkshire's second largest natural lake after Malham Tarn. It covers 100 acres.


The River Bain in the Yorkshire Dales is England's shortest river at 2.5 miles. From Semerwater to the River Ure.


Semerwater in the Yorkshire Dales was the subject of a number of sketches and paintings by the artist J M W Turner

The 3 Peaks: Ingleborough 2373 feet, Whernside 2415 feet, Pen-y-Ghent 2273 feet


How did Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe, Settle, North Yorkshire get its name from a naked man

was buried underneath its building


The furthest peak visible from the top of Ingleborough Yorkshire Dales is Manod Mawr Snowdonia North Wales 103 miles


On a clear day 41 mountain peaks can be seen from the top of Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales.


15th century St Oswald's Church in Horton-In-Ribblesdale is the most complete Norman church in the Yorkshire Dales


Prince Charles occasionally stays with friends near Garsdale station in the Yorkshire Dales


White Scar Caves under Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales are the longest show caves in Great Britain.


Winston Churchill used to stay at The Old Hill Inn Chapel Le Dale during hunting and fishing holidays


On top of Ingleborough, Yorkshire Dales is the remains of an old walled enclosure with foundations of Iron Age huts

Ribblehead Viaduct
The first stone to create Ribbleshead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales was laid on 12th Oct 1870 and the last in 1874

Ribbleshead Viaduct - 1.5 million bricks used in the construction. Some blocks weighed 8 tons.

Ribblehead Viaduct is 440 yds long, 104 ft high, 24 arches of 45 ft span & foundations 25 ft deep

The Viaduct was orginially planned to be built with 18 arches with longer embankments at either end. However, the embankments were proving to be too unstable and costly to build. So the Viaduct was redesigned to be constructed using 24 arches

In 1964 several new Humber cars carried on a freight train across Ribblehead Viaduct fell off landing on the ground below!

Horton in Ribblesdale railway station in the Yorkshire Dales won 'Best Kept Station' award for 17 consecutive years

One hundred navvies died during the construction of the Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales


Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle line in the Yorkshire Dales was the last one to be built by navvies in the UK


1000 navvies building Ribblehead viaduct Yorkshire Dales created shanty towns nearby for themselves & their families


The Ribblehead viaduct on the Settle - Carlisle line is curved and so may be seen by passengers on the train.


Settle to Carlisle Railway
The Settle to Carlisle railway is 72 miles long, with 11 stations, 21 viaducts, 325 bridges, 14 tunnels & 103 culverts.

Dent Railway Station England’s highest mainline station at 1,150 feet above sea level.

At its peak Dent station in the Yorkshire Dales National Park saw 90 trains a day pass by.

Garsdale station in the Yorkshire Dales had the highest water troughs (above sea level) in the world for steam trains.


Between Horton & Ribblehead on the Settle to Carlisle line in the YorkshireDales the railway track climbs 200 ft in 5 mls

There are 11 stations along the 73 miles of the Settle to Carlisle railway


When built in 1800s Dent's Station master’s house on Settle-Carlisle line in the Yorkshire Dales had double glazing fitted


Blea Moor Tunnel on the Carlisle to Settle line North Yorkshire was built between 1870 - 1875. It is 2629 yds long.


Garsdale station's waiting room on the Settle - Carlisle line has been used in the past as both a Library & a Church

Settle railway station in North Yorkshire originally had a goods shed, weigh office, sidings and cattle dock


A total of 50,000 tons of stone was used to build Arten Gill Viaduct on the Settle - Carlisle line, Yorkshire Dales


Masham, North Yorkshire is home to 2 working breweries. Black Sheep Brewery & Theakstons. Just a few 100 yds apart


Copse Walk from St Andews Church in Grinton (also known as Cathedral of the Dales) to Keld in upper Swaledale is a distance of 16 miles. There was no sanctified ground in Swaledale so copses had to be carried along the route to be buried at Grinton.


Reeth, North Yorkshire was once a centre for hand knitting. It is known as the capital of Swaledale.

At its height Reeth in Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales was producing over 10% of the UK's lead.


Keld in Swaledale, Yorkshire Dales was a Viking farming settlement. The village was once called Appletre Kelde.

Cistercian monks brought cheesemaking to Swaledale in the 11th century they were the first Swaledale cheesemakers


Buttertubs pass so named as villagers from thwaite would travel this route to the market town of Hawes to sell their homemade butter and cheese produce. Any unsold would be lowered into the cool sink holes until the following week.


Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales is one of England's highest market towns at 850 ft above sea level.


Hawes was granted a market charter in 1699 and is still a place of market to this day.


Wensleydale cheese has been made in Wensleydale since 1150, when the Cistercian monks first settled in the dale, and established a monastery at Fors, just four miles from Hawes. Some years later the monks moved, because of hostile natives and inclement weather, to Jervaulx in Lower Wensleydale.


Hardraw Force in the Yorkshire Dales is home to the longest unbroken above-ground waterfall in England. 100 feet!


Askrigg in the Yorkshire Dales, great claim to fame is that it was the home of some of England’s great clockmakers

Askrigg in the Yorkshire Dales is derived from the Norse, meaning ash ridge, the ridge where the ash trees stand


Shawel Hill just outside Leyburn was so named after Mary Queen of Scots escaped from Bolton Castle, they found her shawel caught on a bush and that's how they re caught her and that is why it's known as Shawel Hill.

St Andrew's Church Aysgarth in the Yorkshire Dales has 1 of the largest churchyards in England. It has 2 public footpaths


Aysgarth Falls in Wensleydale Yorkshire Dales is home to the rare white-clawed crayfish.

Bolton Castle in Wensleydale Yorkshire Dales. Built by Sir Richard le Scrope, Lord Chancellor of England to Richard II. Completed in 1399


Bolton Castle From July 1568 until January 1569 Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner in BoltonCastle, Yorkshire Dales.


The Kings Arms in Askrigg in the Yorkshire Dales was a coaching inn when the village was of commercial importance


The ruins of Norton Tower stand on the strongest point of a natural ridge, and are flanked on the east side by a slight bank and ditch. The Tower was probably built by Richard Norton of Rylstone Hall around 1540. Legend has it that it was used to house watchers after a dispute with the Cliffords of Skipton Castle over hunting rights in Rylstone. It is more likely to have been a guard post for the associated rabbit warren. It may also have been used by its aristocratic owners for banqueting when they were out hunting. The bank and ditch may have formed part of a palisaded enclosure, later walled, that covered the summit of the ridge and was primarily designed for herding deer. The Tower measures 9.5 by 7.5 metres with walls 1.2 metres thick, standing to a maximum height of 5 metres.

There is an gravity fed aqueduct starting on the south bank of Scar House Reservoir a few metres west of the dam. It tunnels under Rain Stang hill for 2,486 yards (2,273 m) at a depth of 484 feet (148 m), and re-appears at Armathwaite Gill. There is then a short overground section across How Stean Beck before another tunnel, 1,408 yards (1,287 m) long, below Heathfield Moor. The aqueduct then tunnels below Greenhow Hill, 380 feet (120 m) below the summit, for 6,204 yards (5,673 m) before re-appearing at Skyreholme, near Appletreewick. It crosses the River Wharfe between Barden and Bolton Abbey, and then Barden Beck near Barden Beck Bridge. It then heads across open land again, crosses the A59 at Bolton Abbey Railway Station and runs to Chelker Reservoir above Addingham.

The aqueduct then descends into Airedale and crosses first the Leeds Liverpool Canal over Mauds Bridge in Bingley, then Bingley South Bog Site of Special Scientific Interest. It passes underneath the A650 dual carriageway and crosses the River Aire at Cottingley. It then goes up to Chellow Heights near Bradford where the water is stored.


White Wells is a spa bath situated on Ilkley Moor in West Yorkshire. It was built in circ 1700 as an open air spa bath, later the baths were enclosed, Only a single plunge pool survives today inside the White Wells Spa Cottage.

Hendrix plays Ilkley! 12th March 1967 - Did you know that the legendary Jimi Hendrix once played a gig in Ilkley 12th March 1967 at the Troutbeck Hotel? As the gig heated-up, Ilkley policeman Tom Chapman decided enough was enough and stopped the gig. One boy in blue versus nearly a thousand Blues fans was never going to end well - and Hendrix just kept on playing. What happens next is unclear - some say there was a 'riot', others say people just went on their way. For his part, Tom Chapman denies there was big trouble.

The Craiglands in Ilkley Wharfedale was built in 1859 and was one of the largest and most finely situated purpose-built hydropathic establishments in the country. The first proprietors were the Dobson Brothers, one of the brothers being Dr Henry Dobson, a physician, who supervised all the treatments offered to patients. These included mustard pads, massage, and all the latest Turkish, Russian and Electro-Chemical baths. The systems, coupled with the "tonic" air from the moors had the effect of enhancing the popularity of this splendid hydro.


Barden Towers built in 15th century by Henry Clifford instead of living at SkiptonCastle, he preferred to live by the river.


Barden Tower was one of six hunting lodges and the principle seat of administration for Barden hunting forest. Henry Clifford, the Shepherd Lord, rebuilt the hunting lodge in the late 15thcentury and made it his principle residence. In 1515 he built the Priest House next to the chapel. Lady Anne Clifford restored Barden Tower in 1659. Surprisingly, it did not belong to her, but on her death it was returned to the rightful owners, The Earls of Cork. Sadly the building fell into decline in the late 18th century..

Bolton Abbey was built in 1154. In the 16th century the Abbey was ruined during Henry the 8th dissolution period in the 16th Century.

On August 28, 1888, Tom de Grey, the 6th Lord Walsingham, killed 1,070 grouse, shooting by himself, on Blubberhouses Moor. It’s often said that he undertook this feat because an invitation he had made to a VIP – reputed to be the Prince of Wales – had been turned down, because he thought that there were insufficient grouse on the moor to make the journey worthwhile.


The four reservoirs of the Washburn Valley. Thruscross Reservoir was opened 1966, Fewston Dam opened 1879, Swinsty Reservoir opened 1871 and Lindleywood Reservoir opened 1869.


Thruscross Reservoir - It’s strange to walk beside the calm surface of a reservoir, rippled only by swimming ducks, geese and the occasional rising trout, and remind yourself that beneath those 1,725 million gallons of cloud-reflecting water are the remains of a church, cottages, a school, country lanes and garden walls. If the average bath holds 50 gallons, then Thruscross approx 35,000,000 bath tubs full


Kilnsey Crag is 170 feet high.


900+ yr old Skipton Castle in North Yorkshire is one of the most complete & best preserved medieval castles in the whole of England


Skipton Castle was built in 1090 by Robert de Romille, a Norman baron. Preserved for over 900+ years


Original Burnsall bridge was built in 1609, repaired in 1884 after flood damage to what we see today - 5 arche style.


Reindeer fossils and the bones of wolverine and bison have been found at Stump Cross Caverns in the Yorkshire Dales


The caverns at Stump Cross North Yorkshire are located beneath Greenhow Hill & were formed around 500,000 yrs ago


Stump Cross Cavens opened in 1860, discovered whilst looking for lead seams Height above sea level approx 1500 feet


Stump Cross Caverns are beneath Greenhow Hill in the Yorkshire Dales which marked the limit of KnaresboroughForest


Rylstone Cross in the Yorkshire Dales was erected originally in 1885 to commemorate peace with the French. The original wooden cross was replaced with the existing stone one after a severe snow storm in 1947


Wharfedale in Yorkshire is the longest of all the Dales – 70 miles from Cam Fell to Cawood where it joins the Ouse.


At the Dissolution the nave of the priory church to Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales survived because is was used as the parish church


Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales has no Anglican church. It shares the C12th church at Linton with Threshfield & Hebden

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