Yorkshire Dales: All features great and small

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

From brass bands to Wensleydale cheese, the Yorkshire Dales are being celebrated in a new TV series. Rhiannon Batten has the essential guide

What's the attraction?

Go now if you want to enjoy some solitude in this particular corner of "God's own county". The Dales – a collection of river valleys and hills, most of which fall within the Yorkshire Dales National Park (0300 456 0030; www.yorkshiredales.org.uk) – may well get much busier following ITV's new 12-part documentary series, The Dales, which began this week. In it, Yorkshire-born comedian Adrian Edmondson visits the regional attractions and meets the locals – from vets to shepherdesses. The tourist board ( www.yorkshire.com) is expecting the series to have as positive an impact on visitor numbers this summer, as All Creatures Great and Small did a generation ago.

Get active

With supreme walking in the country close at hand, it would be a shame to visit the Dales without going for a hike. The latest long-distance route to open is the Six Dales Trail, a 38-mile ramble that runs a scenic – but little-walked – route up and down six dales from Otley to Middleham ( www.sixdalestrail.org.uk). It's easy enough to follow independently, but if you'd rather have your bags carried for you and your accommodation pre-arranged, walking specialist Contours Tours has recently started to offer the route as part of its self-guided holidays (01629 821900; www.contours.co.uk). Prices start at £260 per person for a four-night journey, B&B.

Also new this year is Ingleton Overground Underground – a new family-friendly weekend event on the western edge of the Dales where visitors can try anything from climbing taster sessions to safety-conscious "skills in the hills". Running from 27-30 May, its events are individually priced (01524 241843; www.ingletonovergroundunderground.co.uk). For more ideas on active endeavours in the Dales, see www.yorkshire.com/outdoors.

Pen to paper

At Craven Auction Mart this August, it'll be canvases rather than cattle under scrutiny. Skipton's Art in the Pen event is an annual exhibition of contemporary painting, jewellery, textiles, ceramics, photography and sculpture that takes place in a refurbished (and cattle-free) auction ring. Running 12-14 August this year, there will be art for sale and lively debate (01756 709666; www.artinthepen.org.uk; entry £1).

Festival fever

Festivals are almost as commonplace as dry-stone walls in the Dales during the summer. Kicking off the season is the Dales Festival of Food and Drink in Leyburn, which celebrates its 10th anniversary from 30 April to 2 May with Morris dancing and sheep shearing. Epicurean attractions include Turkish food created using local produce and a real ale festival (01748 828747; www.dalesfestivaloffood.org; admission from £8).

Other well-established shindigs include Grassington Festival, with a varied arts programme running from 17 June to 2 July (01756 752691; www.grassington-festival.org.uk) and the musically-minded Swaledale Festival, 28 May to 11 June (01748 880019; www.swaledale-festival.org.uk).

For something a little more offbeat, try the Hardraw Gathering (0113 250 9639; www.hardrawgathering.co.uk) folk music festival, from 29 April to 2 May. Although weekend tickets have now sold out, it's still possible to go along to the pub performances during the day for free. Alternatively, pay £2 at the festival's HQ, the Green Dragon pub (01969 667392; www.greendragonhardraw.com), for access to Hardraw Force, Britain's biggest waterfall. Behind the pub is also the site of an annual brass band contest; this year's takes place on 11 September.

Say cheese

Saved from bankruptcy by the promotional backing of Wallace and Gromit, Wensleydale Creamery in Hawkes is now doing a rejuvenated trade in all things cheese-related. And there's now more reason to visit, because its visitor centre has received an £800,000 makeover. It now incorporates a museum, viewing gallery, expanded cheese and gift shops and a licensed restaurant. You can even buy a truckle of Wallace and Gromit Real YorkshireWensleydale while you're there (01969 667664; www.wensleydale.co.uk; admission free, tours from £2.50 per person).

Raise a glass

With real ales flowing from the Black Sheep Brewery, Theakston's at Masham and the Wensleydale Brewery at Leyburn, it's unlikely you'll go thirsty in the Dales. To quaff with good conscience, though, there's only one place to head to this summer: the community-owned George and Dragon pub in the village of Hudswell, in Swaledale (01748 518373; www.georgeanddragonhudswell.com). Re-opened after a co-operative buyout last year, it serves a range of real ales (many of them local), as well as homemade food. It also serves as the village shop and library. And in summer, visitors can also enjoy its huge pub garden, where you can sit and sup before a vast Swaledale panorama.

Night navigation

Wandering around in the dark might not be the most obvious way to appreciate the majestic landscapes of the Dales, but it's certainly one way to escape the crowds. And if you join Team Walking's (01423 871750; www.teamwalking.co.uk) night navigation experience, you'll be in safe hands. Taking place 6pm-10.30pm on 17 April (from Kettlewell) and 27 November (from Grassington), the courses cover compass and distance-estimation skills with the aim of teaching how to navigate in poor visibility. The course costs £39 per person, including equipment.

What Google will tell you...

Yorebridge House hotel (01969 652060; www.yorebridgehouse.co.uk), in the Wensleydale village of Bainbridge, was voted "Most Romantic Hotel in the UK" by TripAdvisor users earlier this year. A former schoolhouse-turned-boutique hotel, TripAdvisor describes it as "perfect for a romantic rendezvous". B&B starts at £180.

What Google won't tell you... until now

"Lead mining was once a large-scale industry in the Yorkshire Dales," Andrew Denton, of Welcome to Yorkshire, says. "That its history can be traced right back to Roman times is fairly well known. What isn't, however, is the fact that Yorkshire lead has been found in the frescos of Pompeii and in the plumbing of classical Rome."

'The Dales', presented by Adrian Edmondson is on ITV1, Mondays at 8pm

Who said that?

"Gradually, little by little, [Yorkshire people] find a little corner for you in their hearts, and begin to acknowledge you when they drive past with what I call the Malhamdale wave. This is an exciting day in the life of any new arrival. To make the Malhamdale wave, imagine you are holding a steering wheel. Now take the index finger of your right hand and very slowly extend it, as if you were having a small involuntary spasm. That's the Malhamdale wave. It doesn't look like much, but it speaks volumes." – Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island (1996)

"Was the aim frustrated by force or guile/When giants scooped from out the rocky ground/Tier under tier/This semicirque profound?" – William Wordsworth, "Malham Cove" (1819)

"Yorkshire is a state of mind." – Howard Moon, The Mighty Boosh (2004)

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Life and Style
Melissa and Joan Rivers together at an NBC event in May 2014
peopleDaughter Melissa thanks fans for 'outpouring of support'
Life and Style
Life and Style
One in six drivers cannot identify a single one of the main components found under the bonnet of an average car
motoringOne in six drivers can't carry out basic under-bonnet checks
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
Arts and Entertainment
Shady character: Jon Hamm as sports agent JB Bernstein in Million Dollar Arm
filmReview: Jon Hamm finally finds the right role on the big screen in Million Dollar Arm
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone