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The Yorkshire Dales (also known as The Dales) is the name given to an upland area, in Northern England.

The area lies within the historic county boundaries of Yorkshiremarker, though it spans the ceremonial counties of North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and Cumbriamarker. Most of the area falls within the Yorkshire Dales District National Park, created in 1954, and now one of the twelve National parks of England and Wales.

The Dales is a collection of river valleys and the hills among them, rising from the Vale of York westwards to the hilltops of the main Pennine watershed (the British English meaning). In some places the area even extends westwards across the watershed, but most of the valleys drain eastwards to the Vale of York, into the Ousemarker and then the Humbermarker.

The word dale comes from a Nordic/Germanic word for valley, and occurs in valley names across Yorkshire (and northern England generally) but since the creation of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the name Yorkshire Dales has come to refer specifically to these western dales and the area of dales and hills east of the Vale of York is now called the North York Moorsmarker after the National Park created there. The Yorkshire Dales is served by its own radio station, Fresh Radio, which broadcasts programmes from studio bases in Skiptonmarker and Richmondmarker.

Geography

Most of the dales in the Yorkshire Dales are named after their river or stream (eg Arkengarthdale, formed by Arkle Beck). The best-known exception to this rule is Wensleydale, which is named after the town of Wensley rather than the River Ure, although an older name for the dale is Yoredale. In fact, valleys all over Yorkshiremarker are called "(name of river)+dale"—but only the more northern Yorkshire valleys (and only the upper, rural, reaches) are included in the term "The Dales". For example, the southern boundary area lies in Wharfedale and Airedalemarker. The lower reaches of these valleys are not usually included in the area, and Calderdalemarker much further south, would not normally be referred to as part of "The Dales" even though it is a dale, is in Yorkshire, and the upper reaches are as scenic and rural as many valleys further north.

Geographically, the classical Yorkshire Dales spread to the north from the market and spa towns of Settlemarker, Deepdale near Dentmarker, Skiptonmarker, Ilkleymarker and Harrogatemarker in North Yorkshire, with most of the larger southern dales (e.g. Ribblesdale, Malhamdale and Airedale, Wharfedale and Nidderdale) running roughly parallel from north to south. The more northerly dales (e.g. Wensleydale, Swaledale and Teesdale) running generally from west to east. There are also many other smaller or lesser known dales (e.g. Arkengarthdale, Barbondale, Bishopdale, Clapdale, Coverdale, Dentdale and Deepdale, Garsdale, Kingsdale, Littondale, Langstrothdale, Raydale, Waldendale and the Washburn Valley) whose tributary streams and rivers feed into the larger valleys.

The characteristic scenery of the Dales is green upland pastures separated by dry-stone walls and grazed by sheep and cattle. The dale themselves are 'U' and 'V' shaped valleys, which were enlarged and shaped by glaciers, mainly in the most recent, Devensian ice age. The underlying rock is principally Carboniferous limestone (which results in a number of areas of limestone pavement) in places interspersed with shale and sandstone and topped with millstone grit. However, to the north of the Dent fault, the hills are principally older Silurian and Ordovician rocks, which make up the Howgill Fellsmarker.

Many of the upland areas consist of heather moorland, used for grouse shooting in the months following 12 August each year (the 'Glorious Twelfth').

Cave systems

Gaping Gill


Because of the limestone that runs throughout the Dales, there are extensive cave systems present across the area, making it one of the major areas for caving in the UK. Many of these are open to the public for tours and for caving.

These include:



Yorkshire Dales National Park



In 1954 an area of was designated the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Most of the National Park is in North Yorkshire, though part lies within Cumbriamarker. However, the whole park lies within the traditional boundaries of Yorkshiremarker, divided between the North Riding and the West Riding. The park is north east of Manchestermarker; Leeds and Bradford lie to the south, while Kendal is to the west and Darlington to the east.

Over 20,000 residents live and work in the park, which attracts over eight million visitors every year. The area has a large collection of activities for visitors. For example, many people come to the Dales for walking or exercise. The National Park is crossed by several long-distance routes including the Pennine Waymarker, the Dales Way, the Coast to Coast Path and the latest national trail—the Pennine Bridleway. Cycling is also popular and there are several cycleways.

The Park has its own museum, the Dales Countryside Museummarker, housed in a conversion of the Hawes railway stationmarker in Wensleydale in the north of the Park. The park has five visitor centres located in major destinations in the park. These are at:



Other places and sights within the National Park include:



List of Dales

The whole of Ingleborough as seen from the peat bog below


See also



References

External links




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