One of the great and unique pleasures of walking in the Yorkshire Dales is starting/finishing, or just passing through, one of the delightful villages that pepper the area. Traditional stone buildings characterise a good village in the Dales, a knot of houses that develop out of old farms, their barns and solid stone houses from days gone by.
The tight planning restrictions that presently exist I hope are never relaxed, particularly with regard to style and character of buildings. Along with the sheep, stone walls, rolling landscape and excellent pubs it is the villages which are the area’s great attraction to walkers. The Lake District can be left to ‘do’ drama, the Dales should stick with peace and tranquility.
I have listed 10 villages that I have enjoyed the most and like revisiting. They are in no particular order but must have have at least 1 good walk which passes through. The links to these walks are included.
If you do nothing else in the summer seek them out; I actually live in one….
A delight which I have visited many times, not only because it is the base for the best route Ingleborough but because it displays all the characteristics of a typical Dales village; Yorkshire stone, great pub, nice church, quirky local shops and in this case plenty of space.
The best walk
This is a hidden gem of a village tucked up the quiet valley of Arkengarthdale. A stream runs past, hills enclose the houses and it is very very small.
I have come to enjoy Dent more and more as the years pass. Away from the main Dales valleys Dentdale is often ignored/forgotten but as a result the village has an old fashioned appeal which the famous cobbles only add to.
A castle steeped in history is the centrepiece of Middleham, with the cobbled streets, fine pubs and fine views adding to its attraction. Its character though is completed by the village being populated by jockeys oclattering over the cobbles on their racehorses, trained at the local stables.
The main village in my favourite dale, Arncliffe in Littondale expresses all the main charcteristics of a Yorkshire vilage but has the added advantage of superb scenery in all directions. It does not matter which direction you head off, they are all good
Nowhere typifies a Dales village better than West Burton in the heart of Wensleydale. Its main feature is a large village green with the houses almost lost around its edges. Visit the pretty waterfalls nearby.
I have always been drawn to A’wick, in no small sense due its name. There is not much more than a few houses strewn along the Grassington Road but it has a fine and ever improving pub and it is easy to picture yourself visiting after an evening dtoll along the nearby River Wharfe.
Whether it is the wonderful Hay Meadows in high summer, snows in deepest winter or a trip up Kidston Fell Muker is a fantastic spot to visit. The Farmers Arms is a fine pub, the shop interesting and the village itself exquisitely attractive.
Reeth is slightly larger than many of the other villages in the list but it is a great place to visit, many people I know have it as their favourite. Set around a large sloping village green there is a range of excellent places to eat, drink and walk with views to die for in all directions.
My home village and I have to include it..on merit. The A65 may straddle the village but the two pubs are good,there is some lovely barn conversions dotted around the village and possibly the most attractive church in the entire Yorkshire Dales. Walking from here is a delight.
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