Yorkshire Dales Travel TipsPosted: 2009-06-24
The Yorkshire Dales is one of England's most scenic areas, but in addition to the natural beauty of the area, there are some wonderful historic attractions. I've visited the Dales on several occasions, and I'd like to recommend some of my favourite places to visit.
- Hawes - the centre of Wensleydale, famous for its dairy and the cheese that bears its name. The location is simply wonderful, with classic Dales countryside of fells and stone walls. A mile or so north-west of Hawes is Hardraw Force, one of the most attractive waterfalls in the Dales, reached only by admission through the bar of the local pub.
- Malham Cove - a huge semi-circular limestone cliff, topped by an area of limestone pavement. A steep stair leads up beside the Cove to provide access to the limestone pavement, and to give fabulous views over Malham and beyond.
- Gordale Scar - only a few miles from Malham Cove is the Gordale Scar, an area of steep cliffs where the waters burst through to form a rugged area of waterfalls and tumbled boulders. Easily reached by a gravelled path, the Scar has been drawing visitors for hundreds of years.
- Ingleton Waterfalls Walk - Ingleton is known for the numerous caves in the area, but I found the waterfalls walk to be a real highlight of my visit. The walk is signposted from the main parking lot in the town centre, and is pretty easy going for much of the way. You can take shorter or longer circular loops to take in as many waterfalls as you want. The star attraction is Thornton Force, but some of the lesser falls are quite stunning.
- Ribblehead Viaduct - not exactly a tourist attraction, nonetheless the Ribblehead Viaduct is worth seeing. The viaduct carries the famous Settle to Carlisle rail line, and regular steam train service makes this a popular tourist destination. The viaduct seems to soar across the valley.
- Jervaulx Abbey - a bit of an unknown star among Yorkshire's historic medieval abbeys, Jervaulx can make a claim to be the most attractively sited. The abbey stands in a sheltered valley, just on the eastern fringe of the Dales. The site is known for the many varieties of wildflowers which grow among the crumbling stone walls of the monastic buildings, turning the abbey ruins into a medieval garden.
- Bolton Abbey - The ruins of an early medieval abbey in a wonderful location on the banks of the River Wharfe. Parts of the abbey church have survived as the current parish church, and boasts a fabulously carved west door from the original abbey.
- Richmond Castle - rising high above the old market town of Richmond is this imposing fortress, at the eastern entrance to Swaledale.
- Bolton Castle - not to be confused with Bolton Abbey (or with the large town of Bolton in Lancashire!), Bolton Castle is a 14th-century fortress that was once the prison of Mary, Queen of Scots.
- Easby Abbey - located within walking distance of Richmond, at the eastern gateway to the Dales, Easby is a secret delight. The location is superb, and the remains of the monastic buildings are quite extensive.
In addition to all these wonderful places to visit, there's the splendid countryside, familiar to anyone who has read the James Herriot stories.