In and Around the Yorkshire Dales

Around Harrogate
The Yorkshire Dales is a region in the county of North Yorkshire in England.   It has been called the jewel in England's crown.   The Dales contain some of the most spectacular scenery on Earth and my photographs really don't do it justice.   There are some excellent books on the Dales with pictures that really make you feel like you are there.   From the people to the scenery, you will be touched with a sense of beauty that will stay with you always.

Much of the landscape is limestone, lush green valleys ("dales") crested with white limestone cliffs ("scars") cutting through wilder uplands beneath towering peaks ("fells") of dark millstone grit.

We stopped on the outskirts of Harrogate and took in the view.   Believe it or not, from atop this dale, we could hear the sheep bleeting in the field down below.   This is a very beautiful and tranquil area dotted with farms where I believe the sheep outnumber the humans.

I also noticed that the sheep were painted!   Depending on which farm they belong to, they have a dot of colour on their backs.   I've seen dots of blue, red and green.   When I had first spotted the red, I thought the sheep might have been injured but I was told it wasn't the case.

No trip is complete without visiting The Darley Mill Centre, by the River Nidd.   It is a 17th century corn mill, with one of Yorkshire's largest waterwheels, a duck pond, a wonderful shop (selling country clothing, home accessories, crafts), a sweet shop (Oh this is a must! They have locally made preserves, old-fashioned candy, chocolate and homemade fudge.) and the Miller's Cottage Restaurant.   Folklore has it that Darley was the home of Dick Turpin, the famous highwayman, who is alleged to have held up many a stagecoach at the nearby 'Catch-em Corner'.

Around Harrogate

Stone fence in the Dales
I took this picture because I really liked the dry stone walls that crisscross so much of the countryside.   These walls bound fields and pastures and were originally put up by sheep farmers.   Though I'm not certain it keeps all the sheep in, as we saw some that had clearly jumped the walls and were trying to get back in!

The Dales lie astride the Pennines in the north of England in the counties of North Yorkshire and Cumbria.   There are over 20 main dales, differing much from each other in character and atmosphere.

To the south of the area lies a highly populated industrial area while to the north thinly settled uplands stretch to the Tees and beyond.   About 20,000 people live in the scattered farms, villages and small market towns of the Dales.

During June and July, traditionally managed hay meadows form a blaze of colour along the valleys.   The colour comes from a wide range of wild flowers, the most obvious are wood cranesbill, buttercup, pignut and clover.   Heather adds a burst of amethyst colour atop the dales.

Heather on the Dales

Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales are an archaeologist's dream.   The Romans made their ruler-straight roads across the fells.   The Angles, Danes and Norsemen came and their past settlements can still be seen today in the particular names of places and natural features.

The Middle Ages brought the Normans.   They built castles and created hunting forests. Monks from the great abbeys farmed vast estates; they were the first to make cheese in Wensleydale (Which, by the way, I really like, even the Cranberry-Wensleydale creation is a delicious dessert cheese.   You really shouldn't visit a place without also taking in the local food.   I believe it enhances the experience as our sense of taste and smell can evoke memories.) and bred the hill sheep on the inhospitable fells.

It was early afternoon when we visited Bolton Abbey.

Exploring London

Onward to Bolton Abbey

Exploring Yorkshire

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