Yorkshire Dales National Park
Yorkshire Dales National Park information
Sitting snugly between the brooding North York Moors to the east and the dramatic Lake District to the west are the Yorkshire Dales (from the Viking word dalr, meaning 'valleys'), a marvellous area of high hills and moors, cut through by rugged stone walls and spotted with extravagant houses and the faded, spectral grandeur of monastic ruins.
Thankfully, nature's feast has been protected as a national park since the 1950s, assuring its status as a walker's and cyclist's wonderland. But the fabulous scenery attracts plenty of four-wheeled visitors, making the roads very crowded - especially during the summer. If you can't avoid busy summer weekends, try to come by bus or train, and even then it's well worth getting off the beaten track.
The 683 sq mi (1769 sq km) Yorkshire Dales National Park divides into two parts: in the north, two main valleys run west to east - broad expansive Wensleydale (home of the famous cheese) and narrow secretive Swaledale. In the south, the main valleys - Ribblesdale, Malhamdale, Littondale and Wharfedale - all run north-south and are the most popular areas for tourists.