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When you are trading in “God’s Own County,” as Yorkshire folk like to call their county, there are so many opportunities because of the vast amount of people who visit Yorkshire every year. Some people come for the history of York Minster and Whitby in the North Riding, while others want to enjoy everything that cities like Leeds and Sheffield have to offer – shopping, nightlife, and sporting events. There are many who come just to enjoy the great outdoors. The term “industrial north” certainly does not apply to huge areas of Yorkshire, notably the Dales.
“Green and Pleasant Land”
The Yorkshire Dales is a vast area of green space. Small towns and villages welcome visitors throughout most of the year. Some come on day trips, but others come for an extended break to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful walks that the area provides. The Yorkshire National Park was founded back in 1954, one of 15 in the UK. Its boundaries do not encompass all of the Dales, and there are equally stunning areas outside those boundaries. There are over 20,000 people living and working within the park, which itself gets over 8 million visitors every year.
Hills and valleys
This is a region of hills and river valleys. The rivers are a source of power, which has resulted in some industry, such as textiles and paper, but it has never intruded on the enjoyment people have gotten from the environment. There are two main rivers, the Ouse and Humber, and many more smaller rivers that can be regarded as tributaries of the two.
The individual Dales usually take their names from these tributaries – the Wharfe, Calder, Aire, and Swale. The main notable exception is a place famous for its cheese, Wensleydale, which is named after a small town rather than the river that runs through the Dale – the Ure.
If you had to pick out a single feature that typifies all of the Dales, it is the dry stone walls creating separate fields that hold cows and sheep. The tops of the hills are often heather moorland, which sees sportsmen arrive on August 12 for the opening of the grouse shooting season.
While most people visit to see the scenery, there is a specialist group that wants to see what lies below. This is a limestone region, and the result is a number of caves that have become popular with potholers. There are two systems near the Pateley Bridge, Stump Cross Caverns and Goyden System. If you go there, be sure to try the pork pies at the local butcher and visit the oldest sweetshop in the UK before, perhaps, travelling down to Ripon and Harrogate – where there is even more to enjoy.
Of course, no visit to the Dales is complete without a memento or two. At eeebahgum.co.uk , you can provide your own ideas of what you want to have on a Yorkshire-inspired T-shirt – something that, perhaps, will remind you of your experience for years to come.