The Yorkshire Dales - the very name defines beauty ; from the rolling evergreen landscape, flowing becks, dry stone walls, dilapidated barns, fields of grazing sheep, picture postcard villages and country pubs. When you have visited once, you want to return.
The Yorkshire Dales is one of England's great protected National Parks, covering 680 square miles of breathtaking countryside. It's distinctive character is recognisable from every picture - unmistakenly The Dales. This expansive area of hill country rises to over 2300 feet, into which rivers have cut deep valleys ( dales ) of which there are over 20 named examples, each distinctive in character and atmosphere.
This is a landscape shaped by ice, with significant glacial and post-glacial landforms and features, and spectacular waterfalls, such as the famous Aysgarth Falls in Wensleydale.
The Dales National Park is home to a wide diversity of plants and animals. As you drive along the winding lanes, as well as seeing farm animals, you may be lucky enough to view some of the 100 species of bird, including a number of birds of prey, as well as badgers, hare, otters and red squirels. The rivers are home to salmon and trout, which explains why fishing is so popular in this area.
The area’s long history of livestock farming has given rise to distinct sheep breeds and its tradition of cheese making. Livestock farming, sheep in particular, is deeply interwoven into Dales life and culture, with sheep rearing, livestock sales and local agricultural shows playing an important part in the lives of its people.
The Dales National Park is characterised by numerous small, attractive and compact villages and hamlets most of which have been there for over a thousand years. They are still largely unspoilt and retain a very traditional and intimate atmosphere as well as a sense of continuity and stability. Many are still bordered by small, ancient, often unimproved fields accessed by narrow lanes and tracks between meandering stone walls, giving the villages an historic, timeless setting.
The way of life and culture of communities was, in the past, shaped by the area’s physical environment and remoteness, nurturing self-dependency and closely knit communities. Whilst the area’s traditional dialects and culture are now hard to find, community spirit and self-belief survive. Tourism has greatly increased over the decades, and all visitors will appreciate the warm welcome they receive from the Dales folk, particularly if this is over a well earned pint at one of the many pubs in the area.
When in the Dales National Park people experience a range of emotions triggered by its beauty, grandeur and special qualities. These all help create the ‘spirit of place’ that is unique to the Dales.
There are extensive areas where a true sense of tranquillity, remoteness and a sense of solitude can still be found, which is rare in England today. It is indeed one of Britain’s 'breathing spaces'.
Whichever way you look at it, the Yorkshire Dales is a very special place, and one enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors every year. Wouldn't you like to be one of them ?
Jump in and enjoy The Dales.
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