As temperamental as they are tantalising, the Yorkshire Dales can be sun-drenched and still one minute and beautifully bleak and barren the next. Offering two protected areas and harbours for wildlife, Yorkshire Dales National Park and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), this is the dreamy and dramatic Brontë Country that was even home to 2014’s Tour de France.
With a number of different habitats providing some 150 species, the spectacular diversity of Yorkshire’s wildlife was brought to light – via Sean Bean’s dulcet tones – in Channel 5’s Yorkshire: A Year in the Wild. The northern Yorkshire Dales offer the wildest beauty by way of flourishing moorlands and craggy drystone farmland boundaries but those in the south are no poor relation. Wherever you visit, you’ll be caught up in the rural rugged richness that this part of Yorkshire brings.
A haven for hikers and a refuge for ramblers – where you can stride through charming limestone-built villages, roam riverside in search of waterfalls, amble across wild and windswept heathlands, trudge up hills and down valleys, meander amidst the remains of mines or wind through wild flower meadows – the Yorkshire Dales is the ultimate walking location.
Whether you fancy a summertime stroll or the Three Peaks Challenge, there are plenty of traditional country pub pit stops along the way. The local delicacies, which range from Yorkshire pale ales and best bitters to cheeses made at the Wensleydale Creamery, aren’t too much of a chore to try either!
This stunning area also boasts a choice of steam railways that chug through the Dales – from Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, on whose line The Railway Children was set, to Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, which offers foodie specials, to Wensleydale Railway, a rural railway line that passes through small villages, woodland and farmland.
Feeling adventurous? You could crack caving. Feeling exploratory? You could visit Richmond Castle, Ripley Castle and Gardens or Bolton Abbey. Ready to book your Yorkshire Dales holiday cottage? Go right ahead!