Walks in the Yorkshire Dales

Magnificent landscape

Designated in 1954, the Yorkshire Dales National Park covers 1,762 square kilometres/680 square miles of the central Pennines. As well as some of Yorkshire’s most magnificent landscapes, the National Park also includes a corner of Cumbria, where the secluded Howgill Fells loom over the River Lune. ‘Dales’ is something of a misnomer, for in addition to the beautiful dales the area incorporates great tracts of wild moorland, or fells, the famous ‘Three Peaks’ and an intriguing industrial heritage.

Over 1,300 miles of rights of way allow walkers to explore all facets of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In addition, almost 110,000 hectares of open access land has opened up endless possibilities for exploring this heady mix of limestone and gritstone scenery. Upwards of 8 million visitors a year enjoy this striking countryside with its picturesque drystone walls, stone field barns (or ‘laithes’) and stone villages.

“When God had finished making Heaven, rather like you make an apple pie, with that bit of pastry that was left over, he fashioned the Yorkshire Dales.”

Russell Harty

Best circular walks in the Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is rightly popular with walkers, with circular walks to suit every age and ability, from short easy loops around pretty dales and river valleys to tougher day walks and rounds over the moors and limestone scars and pavements. The ‘Top 10 Walks’ series contains some of the most popular and best known circular walks in the Dales.

The Yorkshire Dales are an upland area dissected by river valleys that spans both North Yorkshire and part of Cumbria. Much of it is composed of Carboniferous limestone whose characteristic landscapes include limestone pavements, coves, gorges, waterfalls and caves. Each dale is named after the river that runs through it. Famous dales include Wharfedale, Airedale, Nidderdale, Ribbledale, and Malhamdale.

There are short, easy circular walks from many of the Yorkshire Dales National Park’s main towns and villages including Malham, Grassington, Hawes, Reeth, Skipton, Settle, Sedburgh and Clapham.

Top ten themed walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

The ‘Top 10 Walks’ series picks the best and most popular walks for each of several key themes for that National Park. Current themes include: pub walks, walks to waterfalls, dales walks and fell walks.

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