The Backbone of Britain

 Designated as a National Park in 1954, the Yorkshire Dales is one of two National Parks which
are found mainly in Yorkshire.  A part of the Dalesalso lie in Cumbria and a few square miles
occupy the far north-eastern tip of Lancashire.  More relaxed than the neighbouring Lake
District, the Yorkshire Dales offers plenty of walking, caving, mine exploration and rock climbing
opportunities.  Some of Britain's best caves are to be found here and the Pennine Way and Coast
to Coast Paths pass through the Dales, intersecting in Keld, Swaledale.  Also featured here are
the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Forest of Bowland and Nidderdale.

The Northern Dales

Yorkshire Dales - North
     The Northern Dales consist of Wensleydale and
     Swaledale and the associated valleys of Bishopdale
     and Arkengarthdale.  Wensleydale is a broad valley
     with many farms as is Bishopdale.  Swaledale is more
     rustic with it's meadows and barns.  Arkengarthdale
     is one of the more remote dales leading up to Britain's
     highest pub at Tan Hill.  Extensive mining for lead and
     coal once took place in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale.

The Three Peaks Area & Settle

Yorkshire Dales - West
     Dominated by the Three Peaks of Yorkshire, Pen-
     y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, the western
     part of the Yorkshire Dales also contains some of
     the finest and most extensive cave systems in the
     United Kingdom.  The Settle & Carlisle Railway
     passes through this area on the impressive
     Ribblehead Viaduct.  Ingleton, Clapham, White Scar
     Caves and Ingleborough Cave are well worth a visit.

The Westmorland Dales

    The Cumbrian Dales
     The town of Sedbergh was historically in the West
     Riding of Yorkshire until the county boundary
     re-organisation of 1974 when it was transferred to
     the new county of Cumbria along with part of the
     Yorkshire Dales National Park.  The Park was extended
     further into Cumbria in 2016 and now incudes
     Casterton Fell with it's extensive network of caves.
     along with much of the area to the east of the M6.

Wharfedale & The East

    Yorkshire Dales - East
     The eastern part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park
     is dominated by Upper Wharfedale and the several
     dales that branch off it.  To the west of Upper
     Wharfedale is Malhamdale, at the head of which is the
     impressive Malham Cove.  This area is home to some
     of the most challenging and notorious caves and
     potholes in the country.  For the less energetic Stump
     Cross Caverns is visitable by the tourist.
Skipton, Ilkley & The South

Skipton, Ilkley and the South
     The town of Skipton on the southern edge of the
     Yorkshire Dales is the gateway to the National Park.
     Worthy of inclusion here is Ilkley with it's famous
     moor and part of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between
     Foulridge and Bingley.  Also mentioned here is the
     friendly town of Barnoldswick.  

     Although outside the national park, Nidderdale is
     worthy of inclusion in the Yorkshire Dales with it's
     reservoirs, picturesque villages, interesting geology
     and selection of caves and mines.  Brimham Rocks,
     How Stean Gorge and Pateley Bridge are all worth
     a visit here.  Nidderdale has several interesting
     caves as well as some mines.  

Caving in the Yorkshire Dales

Caving in the Dales

     The Yorkshire Dales is home to some of Great Britain's
     classic caves including the longest cave system in the
     British Isles.  Several of them are open to the public as
     show caves.  There are also a number of mines that can
     be explored here.
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