The Yorkshire area of England is known as one of the country’s most beautiful and diverse. The same can sure be said of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This wonderful region was officially established as a British national park back in 1954 and is about 680 square miles in total size. The Yorkshire Dales Park straddles the famous Pennines mountain range, which is known locally as the backbone of England.
The park is named after the region’s dales, which are deep valleys that have been carved into the countryside by centuries of flowing rivers. A lot of the scenery is pastoral in character and includes farmers’ fields which have been marked out by ancient dry-stone walls along with more than 625 miles of hedgerows. However, there is some diversity in the landscape and you’ll see some wonderful sights, such as the Cautley Spout waterfalls, which are close to 600 feet in height.
(photo credit: colgregg)
The flora and fauna inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park is also quite fascinating. There are plenty of bogs, moors, woodlands, and flower-filled meadows throughout the region. There are several rare plants here as well as rare species of birds. The limestone soil is quite rich in the park. This enables the plants to receive plenty of nourishment and you’ll see some wildflowers blooming here that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. There are about 100 different types of nesting birds to be found in Yorkshire Dales as well as approximately 1,500 species of moths.
It’s believed the region was initially farmed about 7,000 years ago and it’s been a hotbed for agricultural activities ever since. There are many small and charming villages in the park boundaries, with several of them being over a thousand years old. These villages offer a glimpse of the local way of life and traditions and can be reached by hiking through the surrounding fields and narrow roads.
The park is excellent for hiking as there are over 900 miles in total of hiking trails and footpaths. Some of the trails are short and ideal for leisurely strolls while others such as the Pennine Way and Dales Way are a bit longer and more challenging. The local park authority provides several guided walks and there are numerous pony and cycling trips available.
(photo source: micronova)
The Yorkshire Dales National Park is situated in the northern region of England and is quite easy to reach by train and bus from bigger cities such as York, Leeds, Lancaster, and Manchester. You can even take a ferry from continental Europe over to Newcastle and Hull if you’d like to visit. Once you are inside the park boundaries, you’ll find pretty good bus service to most of the communities.
As with most British national parks, they’re filled with many communities and you’ll find numerous camping opportunities throughout the region in the way of caravan parks and campgrounds. Many of these communities hold events during the year and the National Park Authority also provides a variety of activities and events.
You’ll be able to explore historic towns, visit pubs, take in shows and festivals and enjoy all of the outdoor activities that are available in the park. One of the most popular activities is the 25-mile hike which crosses the three mountain peaks in the park, which are Ingleborough, Pen-y-ghent, and Whernside. This popular hike takes about 12 hours for most people to complete.