Yorkshire Dales - the land of fields and sheeps
Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Located in North Yorkshire, Yorkshire Dales National Park is known for its beautiful unspoilt landscapes, moorland, vast valleys (or dales), waterfalls and stone-built villages.
If you like nature and the countryside, this place is for you. You'll be blown away by its greenery and peaceful landscape. I mean, if you wake up to this view, how can you not feel calm and happy?
How long should I spend there?
We spent about three days in the Dales and absolutely adored its beauty. We could have spent more time in the Dales, however, you should know that my sprained ankle stopped me from hiking so we could only drive around and do short walks. If you are into hiking, you should budget more days as there are so many beautiful hiking trails in this area.
Where to stay?
There are a lot of accommodation options for you, airbnbs, hotels, B&B in the Dales. You should be aware that staying in the Dales doesn't mean getting around is easier and faster because the roads in the Dales are countryside roads. You can't drive fast and there may be off-roading sections. The view on the sides of the roads is amazing as you get to immerse in the green fields and valleys.
Alternatively, you can stay in nearby towns such as Harrogate and Skipton which are the gateway to the Dales. From these town, you can access different places in the Dales quite easily via the motorway. We stayed in Harrogate and had a really good time there as the town itself is such a lovely town. (see my post on Harrogate here)
Where to go visit?
Eastern Dales: Nidderdale
Nidderdale really deserves its status as the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Rolling fields are stretched for miles with sheeps and cows peacefully nibbling on the grass. Its gentle scenery makes you feel so calm and at ease. We drove through Nidderdale and were really stunned by the wandering valleys.
There are few big reservoirs in Nidderdale, which make really nice viewpoints. We drove past Gouthwaite reservoir and stopped at the Scar House reservoir which has two massive dams at both ends which I thought was a bit unusual.
What I really love is that you can see farm animals everywhere in the Dales.
Northern Dales: Wensleydale and Asygarth fall
Wensleydale is the upper valley of the River Ure. This beautiful valley is known for its scenery, castles, picturesques villages and (most importantly to me) Wensleydale cheese! I especially love the cranberry cheese that originates from Wensleydale so my first stop in the town was to the Wensleydale Creamery. The creamery not only sold cheese and accompaniments but also a lot of nice souvenirs for tourists. I was definitely a happier person when I came out of the shop. We then drove around Hawkes, the main market town in Wensleydale and then to Asygrath fall, arguably the most well known waterfall in Yorkshire Dales.
When I arrived at Asygarth fall, I was very surprised to see how powerful the fall was. I'd seen photos of the waterfall online and I expected a gentle flowing waterfall. On the contrary, the water was heavily flowing over the cliff and it looked incredibly dangerous. The rainfall in previous days must have brought more life to the waterfall and made it much stronger and more powerful. I of course abandoned my plans to play in the waterfall.
After visiting the waterfall, we drove around Wensleydale and visited Bolton Castle, a grade I listing building that is a popular venue for wedding and events. The weather was unfortunately very grey when we got there but overall it was a nice castle.
Western Dales: Three peaks and Ribblehead viaduct
Western Dales is famous for its three peaks, namely Ingleborough, Whernside and Penyghent. These peaks are very popular among hikers. A lot of people have taken on the Three peaks challenge and completed all three in a day, which takes about 12 hours depending on weather and physical health. See the map and route here. I was really excited to hike there but my sprained ankle didn't let me (*crying*).
We then drove to see the Ribblehead viaduct, which is a short distance from the Whernside. The viaduct is the most impressive structure on the Settle-Carlisle Railway, the construction of which cost many lives. It is massive and absolutely stunning. We had a walk around the area in awe. No wonder a walk from the Ribblehead to Whernside is one of most popular walks in the area.
Villages and small towns in Western Dales such as Ingleton and Settle have their own charm. We stopped by Ingleton for a cup of tea before heading back. The town is small yet very lovely. I would highly recommend stopping at some villages to rest and visit local shops.
Overall I really enjoyed the trip to Yorkshire Dales. It always feels great to break away from the city life and come to the countryside to enjoy some quiet time. There is so much to see in Yorkshire Dales and I definitely would like to come back to explore more. Have you been to Yorkshire Dales? Let me know what you think of it.