Discovering the Yorkshire Dales


Situated within the boundaries of historic Yorkshire, the Dales (as they are commonly known) are an iconic and impressive display of British scenery that covers 680 square miles (1,762 square kilometres). Lying between the Pennines and the Lake District, this entire area of the English North is dominated by striking landscapes that have become must-see destinations for both those at home and abroad.

Discovering the Yorkshire Dales is therefore an exploration of wildlife which generates numerous points of interest. The Yorkshire Dales National Park, which was first established in 1954, consists of three tiers of landscape (lowlands, moorlands and highlands), each of which is dominated by outstanding natural beauty.

Lowlands and limestone

The lowlands are dominated by luscious meadows which are rich with natural flowers, flora and fauna. There is also a direct link between the southern Dales and a rare limestone habitat which has achieved international biodiversity importance.

Moorlands and birds

Perhaps the most striking feature of the Yorkshire Dales moorlands is the impressive selection of animals which inhabit it. There are numerous species of wading birds found within this landscape plateau with black grouse, yellow wagtail and skylarks all common sights for those with a keen interest in bird-watching.

Highlands and waterfalls

With the impressive height of the area, there are numerous natural formations which are sure to catch your eye. Stunning waterfalls, including the sheer 90ft drop of Hardraw Force and 600ft staggered drop of Aysgarth Falls, combine with breath-taking valleys to make this one area where natural beauty cannot be overlooked.

Where to go

For those interested in visiting this diverse area, there are plenty of towns and cities which are easily accessible via rail. Train tickets to the beautiful spa town of Harrogate are available for those interested in staying just outside the Dales, connecting travellers to plenty of beautiful locations.

The town was first known as ‘The English Spa’ during the Georgian period when the area’s famous waters were discovered in the 16th century. Attractions in the area range from a number of cultural events, including festivals and flower shows, to historical sites such as the Wesley Chapel – a Grade II listed building.

Other attractions worth a visit in the Yorkshire Dales and surrounding towns include the record breaking Tan Hill Inn. Located in Swaledale, this quaint little pub stands at an impressive 1,732ft above sea level and dates from the 17th century, earning it the title of the highest pub in Britain.

The pub isn’t the only attraction in the area to take such an accolade either. MalhamTarn, one of the Dales’ freshwater lakes, stands at 1,237ft to make it the highest lake in Britain. Its waters have an alkaline PH of between 8.0 and 8.6, making it one of only eight upland lakes with such water acidity levels in Europe.

All of these features combine to make the Yorkshire Dales a spectacular place to visit and, with rail tickets available from London and a selection of other major cities, visitors can be treated to impressive views from the first second they set out.

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