The Yorkshire Dales National Park is big and beautiful, but with a unique character that makes you notice the small details alongside the bigger picture. Overall there are more than 40 dales, which are river valleys, and each has its own local attributes and attractions. Wensleydale is one such area.

 

A Magical Market Town

The town of Hawes in Wensleydale is the highest in Yorkshire, located 850 feet above sea level and dates back as far as the 1300s. Hawes is a major visitor attraction in the Dales and yet it retains an unforced, homespun charm.

It is, famously, the home of Wensleydale Cheese, and you can visit the Creamery, built in 1897, and still a centre of handcrafted, cheese-making excellence. You’ll find a visitor centre museum, coffee shop, restaurant and, of course, a cheese shop where many cheese tasting events are held.

Tuesday is a bustling market day in Hawes, where virtually the entire community gets involved, buying and selling at the indoor and outdoor markets.

Hawes is also home to the Daleside Country Museum, featuring exhibitions from local artists, a permanent collection of art and artefacts relating to the local area, and fascinating workshops where you can get involved in arts and crafts.

The town is home to plenty of places where you can eat and drink, with locally sourced ingredients prominent on menus at places such as Simonstone HallThe Rowan Tree Restaurant and The Crown Hotel.

 

Walks and Waterfalls

Wensleydale is great walking country; presenting plenty of opportunities to experience the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales up close, and to work off all that cheese!

Bolton Castle provides a great focal point for walks. It’s one of the country’s best preserved medieval castles, with some 600 years of history for you to discover within its imposing walls. You can visit castle on an 11 mile circular walk that takes in pastureland, Ivy Scar – home to some Bronze Age stone circles – and a lead mine at Wet Groves.

There’s a shorter, seven mile circular walk via the castle from Asygarth Falls. These shallow falls are where the River Ure flows over a series of broad limestone steps, near the village of Aysgarth. This is an area of truly outstanding natural beauty, with a riverside walk linking the three sets of falls – Upper, Middle and Lower.

In contrast, Hadrow Force is England’s highest single span waterfall. This is a spectacular 100 foot drop of cascading water, dramatically cutting through a sheer rock face. One of the most famous, and breathtakingly beautiful walking routes in the Yorkshire Dales is the journey from Hawes to Hadrow Force.

This takes in a woodland walk, a section of old railway, and you can stop off in the lovely hamlet of Appersett en route.

Wensleydale is only one part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, an area of immense charm and a kind of magnetic, natural attractiveness. The Dales as a whole are well worth exploring, with plenty of holiday cottage accommodation to choose from, giving you freedom, flexibility and accessibility.