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Established in 1954 and extended in 2016, the Yorkshire Dales National Park covers most of the Yorkshire Dales, an upland area of the Pennies in Northern England. Some parts of the dales that aren’t a part of the park are instead located within The Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
An average year, the park receives over 8 million visitors.
Short facts about Yorkshire Dales National Park
|Size||2,178 square kilometres
841 square miles
|Maximum elevation||736 meters
|IUCN category||V – Protected Landscape/Seascape|
Where is the park?
Yorkshire Dales National Park is located roughly 50 miles (80 km) north-east of Manchester.
A majority of the park is in North Yorkshire, but some of it is in Cumbria instead and a small part is located within the borders of Lancashire.
Visiting the park
The park is popular among walkers and hikers, and there are several long-distance routes to explore here, such as Pennie Way, Pennie Bridleway, Dales Way, and the Coast to Coast Walk.
Cycling is also popular and several cycleways are available.
There are five visitor centres in the park, located at:
- Aysgarth Falls, a triple flight of waterfalls on the River Ure
- The market town Grassington
- The market town Hawes
- The village Malham
- The village Reeth
Dales Countryside Museum
This museum is found adjacent to the old Hawes railways station in Wensleydale, in the northern part of the park.
The Yorkshire Three Peaks
Collectively, Ingleborough mountain, Whernside mountain and Pen-y-Ghent fell are known as Yorkshire’s Three Peaks.
This is an inhabited cultural landscape, home to approximately 20,000 people. Traditionally, buildings here have been made from locally sourced stones, and many such buildings still remain.
One of the villages that can serve as a base or a resting point for visitors to the park is the picturesque Clapham, located just off the A65 road and served by the Clapham railways station. Situated right at the base of the Ingleborough mountain, Clapham is a starting point for mountaineers hoping to ascend it. In Clapham, you’ll find an outdoor education centre, guest houses for rent, the New Inn public house, a post office, and a community-run shop.
Another settlement well worth a visit is Hawes, a small market town in Upper Wensleydale, south of the River Ure. This is where the famous Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese is produced. The Wensleydale Creamery makes cheese following recipes brought here by French monks in the 12th century. In 2018, the creamery’s Yorkshire Cheddar was crowned Supreme Champion at the Great Yorkshire Show’s Cheese and Dairy Show.
Other examples of popular sites within the park
- Malham Tarn (upland alkaline lake)
- Firbank Fell (310 meters above sea level)
- Howgill Fells
- Leck Fell
- Wild Boar Fell
- Gaping Gill (a cave)
- Malham Cove (limestone formation)
- Gordale Scar (limestone ravine)
- Janet’s Foss (waterfall)
- Cautley Spout (waterfall)
- Hardraw Force (waterfall)
- Kisdon Force (waterfall)
- Bolton Castle (from the 14th century)
- Gayle Mill (a cotton mill)