Friday, 4 March 2016

An Introduction To The Yorkshire Dales

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   A row of cottages in the village of Clapham

When it comes to mass tourism, the Yorkshire Dalesunlike the nearby Lake District remains virtually undiscovered.  The winding country roads are  rarely busy and you can often travel a fair distance without encountering another car. 

The stone cottages and narrow streets of the pretty dales villages combined with the unhurried pace of life evoke memories of times gone by.  
The A65 which runs from Kendal to Skipton is a good place to start an exploration of the Yorkshire Dales.  From Kendal, the road passes the picturesque Cumbrian town of Kirkby Lonsdale which lies just on the outskirts of north Yorkshire and then continues into the heart of the dales passing close to a cluster of well known villages, each with its own unique personality. 

The first true dales village a few miles down the road from Kirkby Lonsdale is Ingleton, a small welcoming town which has attracted visitors since Victorian times.  Ingleton became something of a tourist attraction when the Ingleton falls waterfall walk constructed along the banks of the river's Doe and Twiss was opened to the public in April 1885.  The falls walk can be quite spectacular especially after heavy rain. 

Ingleton The Yorkshire Dales

Ingleton is a quintessential dales village,  the narrow main street winds it's way uphill, passing the impressive St Mary's church.  A variety of small businesses line the main street including craft shops, a local butcher, newsagent an estate agent, a few coffee bars and a couple of real ale pubs serving a good selection of hot and cold food. A market is held halfway up the main street every Friday.  

St Maty's church Ingleton
St Mary's Church Ingleton

The river runs through the lower part of the village where you can find Ingleton Pottery ,well worth a visit and Ingleton falls.   

Follow the road down the hill and out of the village, then take the right fork after about a mile and you come to what is one of our favourite dales pubs, the Marton Arms, a 17th century coaching house in a tiny place called Thornton in Lonsdale opposite St Oswald's church which was originally built by the Normans.


I've just discovered that the Marton Arms is "closed until further notice" which is sad news for all the caver's walker's and everybody else who frequented it. My family and I have lots of happy memories of the Marton.

Just before you reach the sign to Ingleton on the A65 there's a  road on the right which takes you to the small town of Bentham passing the pristine Parkfoot caravan site on the way. We owned a static caravan at parkfoot, when the children were young and would try to spend every weekend there, fantastic memories.

Continuing along the main road, you pass a turn off for Clapham, an unmissable oasis of peace and quiet dissected by the enchanting Clapham beck, a sparkling stream which meanders it's way through  a canopy of trees to the village pub. Try Clapham on a warm summer day to really appreciate it's magic.

Clapham beck in the picturesque village of Clapham in the Yorkshire Dales
 Clapham Beck

The A65 ends in the historic town of Skipton but before it arrives, you pass signposts for the pretty little villages of Austwick, Feizor and Giggleswick and the larger town of Settle, close to the iconic Ribblehead viaduct, which carries the famous Settle to Carlisle railway, a mecca for train-spotting enthusiasts.  Recent news reports show the newly refitted Flying Scotsman, hurtling over the Ribblehead viaduct on its way to York. 

The iconic Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales
 The Ribblehead Viaduct

Walking Holidays In The Yorkshire Dales

If you enjoy walking, the dales are one of the best areas of the UK for a walking holiday.  There are ancient drover's trails, Roman roads and historic footpaths connecting many towns and villages.  

An ideal way of exploring the dales on foot would be to rent a holiday cottage. Choose somewhere in a small town or village which is situated within a reasonable driving distance of all the most popular areas. Somewhere like  Kirkby Lonsdale on the fringe of the dales, or Ingleton would be ideal. You can take your dog by choosing one of the many pet friendly cottages available. 

Ye olde naked man pub in the town of Settle the Yorkshire Dales

There are so many beautiful dales villages to explore, you would need at least two weeks just to scratch the surface,  to get a feel for the area, a long weekend would be an ideal introduction. 

Ebay is an unexpected source of last minute and late deal cottage holidays. Below you can see the current Ebay data feed for Yorkshire Dales holiday cottages.

For longer stays in a  dales self catering holiday cottage, please try the Yorkshire Dales Section of our Holiday Cottage Getaways website where we have listed a large selection of lovely cottages to rent.  

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