UK walking holidays & hiking vacations in England: Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Cumbria. Small friendly groups, hotels & transport with experienced guides. Herriot's Dales Holidays

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Swaledale and Wensleydale cover the northern section of the Yorkshire Dales. Stage 1 of the 2014 Tour de France traversed this spectacular landscape. These beautiful valleys with their stone-built villages and surrounding moorland inspired the books of vet James Herriot. Each valley has its own individual character: Swaledale is narrow and deeply-cut winding between rugged heather-clad moors. By contrast, Wensleydale is broad and green with a host of side valleys each with its own unique atmosphere. Waterfalls abound and are a feature of all our walks.

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In Wensleydale Great Shunner Fell, the highest hill in the area makes a fine introductory walk. From the hidden village of Cotterdale a track rises through dark forest to reach a bridleway running along an airy limestone shelf with expansive views. Afterwards we can visit Hardraw Force, one of the highest waterfalls in England.

"I really enjoyed the variety of our hikes - the huge contrasts of it all! I think the Yorkshire Dales are great." K. Macdonald, South Africa.

More spectacular falls can be found close to Askrigg - Darrowby in the TV series "All Creatures Great & Small". Crossing the valley we climb to the prominent hill of Addlebrough with its view over Semerwater, the only natural valley lake in the Dales. Pretty West Burton with its long green and hidden waterfall sits under the dark bulk of Pen Hill once an important beacon site. The final climb is steep but opens up wide-ranging views across to the North York Moors before our return along the River Ure to Aysgarth Falls. The church here contains carved screens rescued from nearby Jervaulx Abbey when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries.

"Thanks very much for all the work you put into making our stay in the Yorkshire Dales a very happy and memorable one." G. & S. Gammon, Ontario, Canada.

The attractive village of Gunnerside was a centre of the lead mining industry that thrived in Swaledale in the 19th century. Our walk from here takes us past the romantic ruins of the old mines up to the wide spaces of the open moors. At the remote head of the dale we encounter the wild ravine of Swinnergill where a cave once sheltered religious dissenters before visiting the tiny hamlet of Keld with its many waterfalls. An old 'corpse road' takes us back across the shoulder of Kisdon Hill to the pretty cottages at Thwaite.

Accommodation:the small market town of Hawes lies near the head of Wensleydale. There are museums and the creamery where the famous cheese is made. The lively stream of Gayle Beck courses under the cobblestones of the main street. Good bus links allow guests without cars to explore the vicinity - there are castles at Bolton, once a prison for Mary, Queen of Scots and Middleham which belonged to Richard III. Swaledale boasts the great keep of Richmond Castle overlooking its charming town. Small, comfortable guest houses include

Fair View House (VB 4 Stars) and

Ebor House (VB 4 Stars)

Cost (week): from £520 per person based on sharing a twin or double room
2 days/nights: from £186
3 days/nights: from £270
Single rooms are available without supplement.

Station: Garsdale then a short bus or taxi ride. Links to travel sites can be found on our Links Page.

Dates: May 20th, June 10th, July 8th, August 5th and September 16th

Hardraw Force
Pen Hill


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