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Destination: Yorkshire Dales Back to News
Tuesday 23rd January | Posted by On Foot Staff
We hold a soft spot in our hearts for the Yorkshire Dales. The green meadows dotted with stone barns and the wilder uplands are a special part of the wide and welcoming landscapes of northern England.
This area has been home to our route designers (and long-time On Foot clients) Shaun and Lynda for many years. We asked Shaun what it means to them.
Why do you love the Yorkshire Dales?
Everything about the Dales is special. It’s so unspoilt and sparsely populated – despite being only 30-40 miles from a number of major cities, it could be a world away. The people, the scenery, the gorgeous villages – what more could you want?!
How long have you lived there?
We’ve lived here for 14 years, but have visited for the past 50. We’ve always enjoyed walking in the Dales – the quietness and beauty of the area is such a contrast to the West Yorkshire town we lived in before. When we took early retirement, it was at the top of our list.
What do you think it is that creates the particular character of the Dales?
Of course, it is Yorkshire, so it has to be good! The landscapes are influenced by the geology, which creates extraordinary features such as the cliffs and limestone pavement at Malham Cove, and the knobbly Brimham Rocks. The agriculture is mainly sheep farming, which makes for excellent walking as the fields are perfectly manicured pastures and easy underfoot.
The picture-postcard villages such as Grassington, Kettlewell, Malham and Austwick are lovely small communities. Despite the ‘Yorkshire grit’ tag which comes from our northern hardiness, Yorkshire folk are so friendly, open and helpful. They’re always ready to stop for a chat and to test you out with a bit of our famous dialect.
What’s the walking like on our route?
It’s excellent, and very varied. There are only two steep climbs of note and a few short, sharp pulls, but also quite a lot of easy-going walking mixed in. Underfoot it is generally very good even after rain, and there are no peat bogs, thank goodness! The route is very quiet except for a few villages that can be a little busier at weekends.
What are your favourite places on our route?
That’s difficult to answer, but if pressed we would say Thieves Moss and Ingleborough for their rugged beauty, closely followed by Wharfedale and Malhamdale which are much more pastoral and gentler in nature. The contrast between the start and end of the walk is staggering for such a small area – it’s so diverse.
Yorkshire food and drink are a great feature of the holiday – what do you recommend?
You’re sure to get some hearty food, and large portions too! However, there are more refined dining opportunities as well, including by a couple of French chefs at Hebden and Austwick, plus a three-rosette kitchen at The Traddock. For a good Yorkshire ale, I’d recommend anything from Timothy Taylor’s brewery, and Theakstons provides another great range of ales.
Why should walkers choose On Foot’s Yorkshire Dales walk in 2024?
It’s perfect for anyone who enjoys wide and panoramic views over ever-changing scenery, and it packs a real punch over its six walks. And you can spot some of the locations for the recent TV series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ along the way!
No matter where you are in the Dales, the walking is great, the views are endless, and the people friendly.
Find more details of our walking holiday in the Yorkshire Dales here.