If walking’s your thing there’s a route for everyone, low level and gentle or high level and physically demanding. If you’re into scenery there are lots of places to stop your car, jump out and drink in the view. You could combine both at Yockenthwaite where you can park for a picnic by the river, followed by a potter along the bank while peering into pools.
In 2014 the Tour de France peloton powered its way up Kidstone's Pass above Cray. Take a drive up there for a super view over Buckden Pike. Or if you feel really energetic, jump on your bike and see if your time up the hill can match the pros. Watch out though, they don’t close the road for anyone but the professionals!
Farmers have helped to shape this landscape over time and their influence is everywhere. If it’s a typical Yorkshire Dales scene you’re after, in Wharfedale you will find everything in its right place. In the valley bottom are small flower filled meadows surrounded by drystone walls, most with a stone built barn, once used for over-wintering cattle. The best area for this is around Yockenthwaite and Deepdale, where you will find stone walls climbing up steep slopes and merging with scattered woodland. Above the woodland are miles of open moorland. This vast landscape is perfect for blowing away the cobwebs.
At any time of year, heavy rain falls in the dales but, even then, it’s worth making the effort to visit. Waterfalls suddenly appear where before there were none and the river becomes a raging foaming torrent. Careful though, you don’t want to fall in. The best and easiest place to see waterfalls is from the road above Cray. If you look carefully, you will find them hidden away in all kinds of secret places. Sometimes you will find water bursting out of the ground from caves. Lots of people visit the area to go caving; you might see some of the larger entrances. Unless prepared don’t venture in, but take a listen - maybe you’ll hear the sound of waterfalls deep underground!
In late spring and early summer, the dale is filled with the sound of curlew, lapwing and oystercatcher. Around the river you may see yellow wagtail and dipper and, gliding gracefully in the air, perhaps a buzzard. You might be lucky enough to see a red squirrel around Beckermonds, or boxing hares around Buckden in the summer.
Whether you like to be active and energetic, contemplative and restful, or all of these things on the same day, there’s something in Wharfedale for everyone who loves the outdoors.