Things to see and do in the Dales
The Yorkshire Dales are a great place to relax and explore the outdoors. Rolling countryside with steep sided valleys, vast heather covered moorland hilltops and a patchwork of dry stone walls and barns. It can be wild and windswept one day and quiet and calm the next. Whatever the weather this limestone scenery is a wonderful area for stretching your legs on a walk, by bike or simply enjoying the large open spaces and far reaching views.
As well as traditional hardy breeds of sheep and cattle roaming the pastures, this diverse landscape also offers a home to many plants and animals. The colourful and fragrant hay meadows in Upper Wharfedale come alive in spring and summer, not only with flowers, but with bees, butterflies and birds. Opt for a waterside walk along the banks of the River Wharfe and you may spot dippers, goosanders and sandpipers.
Close to the historical market town of Richmond and with the River Swale rushing alongside, you will find picturesque scenery with hints of a varied history. Breathe in the pungent smell of wild garlic in late spring or the sweet fragrance of flower filled meadows in summer. Look out for the blue flash of a kingfisher swooping down on the river to catch its supper and in autumn look out for fungi of all shapes and sizes including scarlet elf cups that emerge through the winter months.
The boardwalk at Malham Tarn meanders through the National Nature Reserve, a unique and special place with a rich and varied range of wild flowers and wildlife. Pause on this easy stroll to appreciate the quiet, listen for the songs of our feathered friends or the plop of a water vole jumping into a stream. The beautiful waterfall at Janet’s Foss is also a magical place to visit, and legend has it that Janet (or Jennet) the fairy queen lives in the cave behind the foss. The limestone pavement above Malham Cove is well worth the climb up over 300 stone steps. On top you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views but also the unusual jigsaw of clints (blocks of stone) and grykes (the gaps) and the ferns and flowers living in this distinct habitat.
If walking’s your thing there’s a route for everyone, low level and gentle like a short flat route along the boardwalk or high level and challenging like a hike up Buckden Pike. There are over 5 miles of footpaths in the ancient woodlands of Hudswell Woods to explore, pack a picnic and find the perfect spot or perhaps skim a stone or play pooh sticks. We also have a tramper (all-terrain mobility scooter) available to book at Malham Tarn with a number of routes for you to try. Our walking pages offer easy, moderate and challenging trails for all abilities. All of our walks have dog friendly options, so with miles of footpaths to explore, trees to sniff and grass to roll in we think you'll both have a great day. And if you like your adventure a bit faster we have cycling and running trails to download too.
Events in the Dales
We've got a wide range of events to tempt you and get you outdoors and closer to nature in the Dales. Join our rangers to try your hand at den building, geocaching or bush craft, head out on a guided mountain bike ride, listen to some batty conversations on an evening bat walk or come on a journey through the galaxy on a beginners night sky walk.