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Travels with an Eriba

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Information from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority


 Our stunning landscape was shaped over millennia by ice. This created a rolling landscape of lush dales (valleys), windswept hills like the famous Three Peaks and vast expanses of heather-covered moors.

Over the centuries, people's interaction with nature has produced countryside of incredible beauty. Covering 1,762 sq kilometres (860 sq miles), the National Park is a treasure trove of special features. You can enjoy deep ravines like Gordale Scar, the soaring limestone amphitheatre that is Malham Cove, awesome cave systems including Gaping Gill, the lakes of Semerwater and Malham Tarn and spectacular waterfalls like Hardraw Force and Aysgarth Falls. Each valley or 'dale' has its own distinct character, set against expansive heather moorland tops.

Stone-built villages sit amongst traditional farming landscapes of field barns, drystone walls and flower-rich hay meadows, and show how the area has been shaped over thousands of years by the people who have lived and worked here.

Spectacular waterfalls and ancient broadleaved woodland contrast with the scattered remains of former mine workings and other rural industries which remind us of the area's rich industrial heritage.


Yorkshire Dales National Park



More Delightful Dales Destinations




Aysgarth Falls


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Brimham Rocks


aysgarth falls

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Around Knight Stainforth


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Vistas and a Village


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Ruins Galore!

For antiquities addicts such as ourselves, North Yorkshire proved to be a perfect paradise!


Janet's Foss and Gordale Scar

Janet's Foss

Foss/Force is the old Norse name for a waterfall

This is a beautiful little dell with a stream leading to a picturesque waterfall that comes with its own splashpool. It is protected and hosts a sheltered micro-climate of rare wild flowers, ferns and many birds. It’s easy to see how mythical beings have featured strongly around here. For example, local Queen of the Fairies Jennet (the name has been modernised to Janet) is said to inhabit a cave behind the waterfall.

Gordale Scar

William Wordsworth wrote in the sonnet Gordale"let thy feet repair to Gordale chasm, terrific as the lair where the young lions crouch"

A great limestone gorge near Malham some 400 feet (150 m) deep, Gordale Scar is a spectacular feature of the Craven Fault and is believed by some geologists to be the remains of a huge underground cavern whose roof collapsed around the time of the last ice age. Less dramatic theories, however, have the gorge being formed as a glacial meltwater channel. Whatever Gordale Scar's origins actually are it is hugely impressive. Nowadays Gordale Beck cascades down the ravine in three separate waterfalls, the higher of which pours through a natural arch in the rock above the lower (double) waterfalls. An awe-inspiring sight.

A Walk to Janet's Foss via Gordale Scar from Malham Village

After crossing the river on the old bridge, we walked via the National Park Centre and then across the delightful clapper bridge so that we could join the footpath first by the Malham Beck and then the Gordale Beck. It's a walk that has everything - lovely views, riverside and forest paths, waterfalls and extraordinary rock formations.

Malham Cove & Limestone Pavement

Above the village, Malham Cove is a great limestone amphitheatre formed through ice and water erosion during the last million years. A section of the Pennine Way leads from Malham Village to the Cove, ascending the western grassy side of the 250-feet high cliff. At the top there is a remarkable limestone pavement with its clints and grikes and a sensational view over the valley. Beyond, the Dry Valley leads northwards towards the Water Sinks and Malham Tarn. When we visited some representatives were there from the RSPB with telescopes so that we could see the peregrine falcons nesting on the cliff . Their four young ones were just getting ready to fly for the first time.


Video Tour of the Cove, Janet's Foss & Gordale



Where we stayed in the Dales

Lower Wensleydale Caravan Club Site, nr Leyburn N Yorkshire

Lower Wensleydale Caravan Club Site is set within the sheltered hollow of a disused quarry that is now overrun with a vast array of wild flowers, mosses and mature trees. This caravan park is managed by the Club on behalf of the owners. Ducks and rabbits roam the site freely and it is also perfectly situated to watch the local steam trains pass by. Leyburn is a quaint market town, only one mile away, where there are additional pubs and shops. We stayed there for two weeks.

Knight Stainforth Hall Caravan & Camping Park, nr Settle

Set in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the site which stands on a 45 acre estate in the attractive village of Stainforth, is just 2 miles north of the market town of Settle and is on the banks of the River Ribble. Knight Stainforth Hall is a manor house dating back to pre-Norman times which reputedly belonged to the Knights Templar. It's ideally situated for exploring the Dales. We camped there for a fortnight and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Their website indicates that the facilities block now has been updated and that there is good wi-fi availability. They have also opened a bar/cafe/restaurant which, like the site in general, has excellent reviews.

Clints = blocks of limestone that form the pavement

Grikes = vertical or near-vertical fissures in limestone pavement.

Aysgarth Falls


Aysgarth Falls are on a spectacular stretch of water in Lower Wensleydale and are a product of the Ice Age. The River Ure stretches out along the valley and dramatically drops 30 metres in a series of three main waterfalls, the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls. Rather than being sudden drops over a cliff, these waterfalls are really more like a cascade.


This video gives a very good idea of what the Falls are like when the river is in full spate after a period of heavy rain.


Our Short Visit to the Lower Falls




Around the Knight Stainforth Area


  • Around Knight Stainforth
Stainforth Foss 1 at the bottom of the campsite


Winskill Stones Nature Reserve


The Winskill Stones Nature Reserve lies above the village of Stainforth. It is home to an amazing section of limestone pavement.The well-known gardener Geoff Hamilton was a great supporter of the campaign to stop people buying limestone pavement to make rockeries . When he died, this important area of limestone pavement in the National Park was bought by Plantlife International and the reserve dedicated to his memory. It is a unique landscape with spectacular views northwards to the Yorkshire “Three Peaks” of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent.

We were delighted to discover this scenic spot and had a great time exploring it.


To download an excellent information leaflet visit the link below:




An attempt to present typical Dales landscape images - it was a difficult choice!

  • Dales Vistas
Quintessential Dales View

Dent Village

This video shows you all about Dent Village and the spectacular scenery around it. Dent still retains a feel of the past with its cobbled streets and colour-washed stone cottages. During the 18th and 19th centuries Dent became a major hand knitting centre producing gloves and stockings. Knitted goods are still sold there and Kate bought a lovely, warm hat .




Brimham Rocks, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire

The natural spectacle of Brimham Rocks, with its giant rock formations, was created by an immense river 100 million years before the first dinosaurs walked the earth, and a visit to this amazing landscape is truly a journey into pre-history.

The rocks, sculpted by 320 million years of movement of entire continents as well as hundreds of thousands of years of ice, rain and wind, have taken on weird and wonderful shapes and with a little imagination, they resemble familiar creatures.  Visitors are free to explore the site, spotting the Dancing Bear, the Gorilla, the Eagle and the Turtle, whilst the more nimble can crawl through the Smartie Tube and balance on the Rocking Stones.

Some of the most iconic rock formations can be viewed only 10 minutes’ walk from the car park, and it takes around four hours to explore all of this fascinating site, with its enduring landscape and carefully managed environment.

Brimham Rocks and its heather moorland are both Sites of Special Scientific Interest and are a magnet for geologists, naturalists, climbers and walkers, as well as families who love the freedom to explore this amazing place.