Yorkshire Dales National Park Things to Do

  • West Burton, Bishopdale, Wensleydale
    West Burton, Bishopdale, Wensleydale
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  • West Burton, Bishopdale, Wensleydale
    West Burton, Bishopdale, Wensleydale
    by spidermiss
  • Wensleydale, Yorkshire Dales National Park
    Wensleydale, Yorkshire Dales National...
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Most Recent Things to Do in Yorkshire Dales National Park

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    Bolton Abbey and Bolton Priory

    by Ben-UK Written Jul 1, 2006

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    Bolton Priory
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    The Bolton Abbey Estate comprises 30,000 acres of magnificent countryside at the south end of Wharfedale -- the estate straddles the River Wharfe (which at this point is known as the Strid) and provides great walking across moorland, woodland and riverside footpaths.

    The centrepiece is Bolton Priory which dates back to the 12th century -- the Black Canons of the Order of St. Augustine resided here where they spent a life of worship to God and service to the people of the neighbourhood. In 1539 the Priorywas faced with demolition under King Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries but fortunately the last Prior, Richard Moon, was able to ensure that at least the nave of the Priory remained intact. Today the Priory Church of St. Mary & St. Cuthbert (next to the old Priory) carries on as a focus for the community's spiritual life.

    Bolton Abbey is well worth a visit if just to wander around the delightful countryside surrounding the Priory -- it's easy to imagine the tranquilty of life of those who lived here so many years ago.

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    Skipton Castle

    by Ben-UK Written Jul 1, 2006

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    Skipton Castle
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    Skipton is known as the 'Gateway to the Dales' and Skipton Castle is its main attraction. This magnificent castle dates back to 1090 and is acknowledged as being one of the most complete and well-preserved castles in England. The castle is fully roofed and has a beautiful, early Tudor courtyard at its centre with a yew tree planted in 1659 by Lady Anne Clifford (see 'more photos') -- she was born here and is famous for her post Civil War restoration of various castles. The main entrance to the castle (see 'more photos') carries the Clifford family motto 'Desormais' meaning 'henceforth'

    Visitors are given a sheet (available in 8 languages) which has 40 small sketches which take the visitor on a tour of the maze of rooms in the castle -- hopefully you arrive back at the beginning ....

    The castle is open every day except December 25th -- for more details of the castle and admission charges please refer to the below website.

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    Settle

    by Ben-UK Updated Jun 14, 2006

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    Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe -- Settle
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    At the southern edge of Ribblesdale, the bustling market town of Settle is a very nice place to visit. The town received its market charter in 1249 and these days Tuesday is market day. Probably the most famous place is the strangely named 'Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe' in the main square -- the effigy above the door is dated 1663 -- originally there was an inn of the same name on the site and it's said the owner gave it that name as a protest at the ornate, over-elaborate fashions of the time -- it's a very pleasant place to have a drink or something to eat.

    Settle's heyday was probably the 17th century when it thrived on hand-loom weaving, stocking knotting and hat making. These days it's a popular gateway for tourists heading for the Yorkshire Dales and in particular the famous 'Three Peaks' of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent -- Settle is also the southern end of the famous Settle to Carlisle railway which passes through fantastic Yorkshire Dales scenery on its journey north.

    The centre is dominated by the Shambles, a historic three-storey building with shops on two floors and accommodation on the third -- in the 17th century it was an open market which later became a butcher's shop -- arches and cottages were added in the 18th century and later a second storey of cottages was added in 1898. Also prominent in the centre is the Town Hall, built on the site of the old toll-booth which was demolished in 1820.

    If you're heading for the Yorkshire Dales from the south, do stop and have a look at Settle -- I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

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    Pen-y-Ghent

    by Ben-UK Updated Jun 14, 2006

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    Pen-y-Ghent in the distance
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    The lowest of the famous 'Three Peaks '(the others being Ingleborough and Whernside), at 2,277 feet (694m) the jutting jaw of Pen-y-Ghent still provides a good challenge for climbers. The name has Celtic origins meaning 'hill of the border' as it once marked the edge of one of the Welsh tribes' kingdoms. The hill is usually ascended by a walk starting from the village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale (see 'more photos') and for pot-holers and cavers there's action to be found at Hull Pot and Hunt Pot on the western side of Pen-y-Ghent. So, action for walkers, climbers and cavers/pot-holers -- a good place to visit.

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    Widdale

    by Ben-UK Written Jun 14, 2006

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    Widdale

    Widdale is a quiet valley that runs south-west from Hawes in Wensleydale down to Ribblehead. There's not usually much traffic on the road as it winds its way through lush fields surrounded by moorland -- just a few farm homesteads along the way -- it's a very pleasant drive. Widdale is one of the few areas left in the Yorkshire Dales where red squirrels thrive -- so far resisting the invasion of grey ones. If you're heading south from Wensleydale this is a nice and usually quiet option.

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    Bolton Castle

    by Ben-UK Updated Jun 14, 2006

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    Bolton Castle
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    Bolton Castle is in the tiny village of Castle Bolton at the eastern end of Wensleydale. The castle was originally built as a residence by Lord Richard le Scrope (Treasurer and Chancellor to King Richard II), but in 1379 he was given permission to fortify his house. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here in 1568 and in 1644, during the English Civil War, the castle was garrisoned by Royalists besieged by Parliamentarians, but it eventually fell to Cromwell in 1645. Although the castle is partly in ruin, many of the halls and galleries can still be seen. Nowadays the castle offers fine views over Wensleydale, but in the 14th century it would have overlooked the Forest of Wensleydale which would have offered fine hunting with deer and probably wild boar their prey. The castle has never been sold and still remains in the ownership of Lord Bolton, Richard Scope's descendant.

    The castle is open from March to November, 10am to 5pm

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    Richmond

    by Ben-UK Updated Jun 14, 2006

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    Richmond Castle
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    Lying at the eastern end of Swaledale, the old market town of Richmond is a very nice place to visit but you need to be fit! - many of the streets are very steep, especially around the castle.

    Richmond is dominated by its Norman castle - construction began in 1071 and the best preserved part is the Keep (added in the 12th century) which at over 100 feet (30m) high towers above the town. The castle is open as follows :-

    1 April to 30 September -- open daily 10am to 6pm
    1 October to 31 March -- open Thursday to Monday 10am to 4pm
    Closed 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January

    The huge market square is dominated by the strange obelisk erected in 1771 to replace the old market cross, and the medieval Holy Trinity Church which was first constructed in 1150 but has been altered many times since -- it now houses the Green Howards Regiment museum.

    Richmond's heydey was probably the 17th and 18th centuries when its wool industry was in its prime and lead was being mined in nearby Arkengarthdale -- its from this period that many of Richmond's Georgian properties originate -- visitors now like to see the Georgian Theatre Royal & Museum on Victoria Road which was built in 1788 -- it closed in 1848 but reopened in 1963 and was restored and extended in 2003 -- it's the oldest and most complete working Georgian theatre (open Mondays to Saturdays, 10am to 4pm)

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    Arkengarthdale

    by Ben-UK Written Jun 13, 2006

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    Arkengarthdale

    Running north from Reeth and Swaledale, Arkengarthdale used to be part of Arkengarth Forest -- many years ago the few small hamlets along the way used to be inhabited by lead miners -- now they're hill farmers. It's quite a wild area, deserted mainly -- it's main claim to fame now is probably the fact that the village of Langthwaite was seen in the opening title shots of the popilar TV series of James Herriot's 'All Creatures Great and Small' -- but if you're in Reeth, it's nice to take a drive north to have a look at this remote dale.

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    Reeth

    by Ben-UK Updated Jun 13, 2006

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    Reeth main square
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    Situated at the junction of Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, Reeth used to be much larger than it is now -- that's because it used to be the centre of the lead mining industry in the region. Reeth received its market charter in 1695 and it used to have nine fairs throughout the year -- now however just a weekly market remain. The village is dominated by a huge green central area surrounded by some shops and a pub and on a nice day it's very pleasant to sit on the green and watch the world go by.

    If you have half an hour to spare, do visit the little Swaledale Folk Museum (see 'more photos') -- it's hidden away behind the post office, just off the central green -- the lifestyle of generations gone by is well illustrated by a good collection of implements and artefacts that clearly reflect the industries and living styles of Reeth's bygone inhabitants.

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    Keld -- waterfalls walk

    by Ben-UK Written Jun 10, 2006

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    Keld
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    Depending on whether you're travelling east or west, Keld is either the first or last village in Swaledale -- well, it's a hamlet rather than a village I suppose as it doesn't have even a shop, never mind a pub -- but it's a superb base for walking in this area with quite a few waterfalls (or as they're called in these parts 'Force' - derived from the Norse word 'fors' or 'foss'). You'll need an Ordnance Survey map of this area to show you the paths to the various falls, but if you enjoy walking you'll certainly like Keld and its environs.

    Please see 'more photos' for pics of the falls.

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    Birkdale Common

    by Ben-UK Written Jun 10, 2006

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    Birkdale Common
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    Birkdale Common stretches eastwards from Kirkby Stephen as far as Keld where Swaledale begins -- it's wild and wonderful country as the B6270 winds it's way through superb, unspoilt countryside. Lead mining used to be the industry here dating back even to Roman times, but a decline led to people trying their hand at sheep farming but if that failed they left the area, often heading to the north-east to work in coal mines -- thus the area is dotted with deserted homesteads and the land is dotted with disused lead mines (walkers beware!). The landscape softens as you get nearer Keld and Swaledale but Birkdale Common offers a few miles of wildness as you traverse this part of the Yorkshire Dales.

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    Kirkby Stephen

    by Ben-UK Updated Jun 10, 2006

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    Frank's Bridge - Kirkby Stephen
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    On the River Eden and in the north-west corner of the Yorkshire Dales, the ancient market town of Kirkby Stephen is actually in Cumbria - it was granted its market charter in 1361 and markets are still held today.

    The name Kirkby derives from the Saxon kirk (church) and Stephen the saint to whom the church is dedicated. The church is known as the 'Cathedral of the Dales' (see 'more photos) and the oldest part dates back to 1220 - within the church you can see the Loki Stone (see 'more photos') which dates back to 850AD - it's an Anglo-Danish cross shaft carved with the image of the Norse god Loki - it's one of only two in the whole of Europe.

    The cobbled back streets are interesting to wander around - look for the signs for Frank's Bridge (main photo) which spans the River Eden - Frank is believed to be Francis Birkbeck a brewer in the 1800's.

    The Cloisters (see 'more photos') which separate the market square from the church were built in 1810 with the intention of giving churchgoers and market visitors some shelter.

    Apart from the north-west Yorkshire Dales, from Kirkby Stephen you can also easily get to the Lake District on the other side of the M6 motorway, so it's ideally located for tourists.

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    Pendragon Castle

    by Ben-UK Written Jun 9, 2006

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    Pendragon Castle
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    There's not a great deal left of the little 12th century Pendragon Castle but it's an atmospheric place and the views from the castle down Mallerstang are memorable. Legend has it that it was founded by Uther Pendragon the father of King Arthur and Uther and 100 of his followers were killed when Saxon invaders poisened their well. However, legend apart, it is felt that the castle was built in the 12th century by Hugh de Morville then it came into the possession of the Clifford family -- a raiding Scottish army set fire to the castle in 1341and it was abandoned, only to be rebuilt in 1360. Another fire in 1541 again left it in ruins but it was restored in the 17th century by Lady Anne Clifford -- after her death though the castle again fell into ruin.

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    Mallerstang

    by Ben-UK Written Jun 9, 2006

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    Mallerstang
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    Mallerstang is a wonderful valley that runs north-south roughly from Kirkby Stephen in the north down to Garsdale Head in the south. The River Eden runs through the valley and the famous Settle to Carlisle railway passes through as well. The general area has been described by David Bellamy, the celebrated botanist, as 'England's last wilderness' - there are glorious views all along the way and you can also see the remains of 12th century Pendragon Castle (see separate tip).

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    Wensley

    by Ben-UK Written Jun 8, 2006

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    Wensley

    If you're driving through Wensleydale it's easy to whizz through the tiny village of Wensley without hardly realising it, but this was once the main place in Wensleydale being the first village to receive a market charter as far back as 1202 - indeed for the next 100 years it was the only village in Wensleydale to have a market charter.

    But this dominance was to end in 1563 when the plague struck the village and the focus of Wensleydale life shifted to Askrigg, Leyburn and more recently to Hawes.

    The Church of the Holy Trinity has parts dating back to 1240 with the tower being added in 1719

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Yorkshire Dales National Park Things to Do

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