Villages with umph (and character)

June 22, 2011

Away from the hills and walks of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake district there is so much that I enjoy in the pretty villages that dot the landscape of both these areas. This is particularly so in the Dales where the lovely Yorkshire stone buildings blend in to the softer valley sides and drystone walls almost seamlessly whereas in the Lakes the harsher slate or white washed cottages have a rougher appearance which in many cases is not quite as welcoming. That is not to say there are not some pearls in the Lake District, particularly away from the central spine where it is difficult to avoid the crowds, even in mid winter.

From a walkers perspective a village should be well situated for a good choice of walks, without having to get in a car, have a good traditional inn (or tea shop/possibly both), not too large, be attractive and full of interest and of course with great scenery on the doorstep. If the locals are friendly this is a nice bonus! Being a person who likes lists I then started thinking about my favourites – aiming for 10 originally I ended up with 20 and it would have been churlish to narrow them down. They are not in order of preference – I would happily stay in and visit them all.

Here they are:

Muker – hay meadows, Farmers Arms, tea shop, river, head of valley.

Clapham – Ingleborough caves and hill, New Inn, river walks, Norber boulders.

Appletreewick – River Wharfe, 2 traditional inns, pretty cottages and hall, walks on the moor.

Askrigg – village green and church, Herriott filmed here, waterfalls and views of Wensleydale.

West Burton – side valley of Wensleydale, large village green, immortalised by J Turner.

Arncliffe – on the river in Littondale, limestone scars, fishing for brown trout.

Buckden – favourite Dales climb, superb limestone, Buck Inn, historical interest.

Dent – cobbled streets, quiet dale, artists centre, riverside walks.

Middleham – castle, cobbled streets, horse training centre, views of the valley.

Kirkby Malzeard – larger but quiet, spacious, 2 pubs, home of Wensleydale cheese.

Langthwaite – side valley of Swaledale, old lead mining centre, Red Lion.

Barbon – quiet, speed hill climb, Barbon Inn, Pennine hill scene.

Chipping – well kept secret, Forest of Bowland, choice of pubs, river and hill walks.

Boot – Eskdale, river, tarn and mountain, mini railway, pretty, Boot Inn.

Elterwater/Chapel Stile – entrance to Langdale, mini lake, core lakes scenery, 2 pubs.

Seathwaite (Duddon Valley) – favourite valley, Newfield Inn, rugged scenery.

Caldbeck – Unspoilt larger village, Chris Bonnington, long history, interesting church.

Little Town – Newlands, smaller settlement, pretty church, surrounded by fells.

Pooley Bridge – end Ullswater, riverside location, choice of pubs, outstanding views.

Dacre – ancient castle, Horse & Farrier, church, quiet, Dalemain House nearby.

For my personal thoughts on the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District and detailed guides with good maps of the area please click on the links under the names.

I intend to be out and about in the next few weeks, my volunteering work at the Lake District National Park is coming on a pace, a visit to Scotland Corbett bashing and the completion of the Yorkshire Dales 100 best walks should be completed by the time I scribble again. Hopefully the weather is looking up as well!

Previous Posts:

Delighting in photos. Why it is so easy to enjoy photography these days

More than just a walking heaven. Different reasons why people take to the fells and dales

Watch out for the little blighters. Sheep ticks continue to be a growing menace

Map Reading Skills on the decline. Impact of new technology on traditional navigation.

Hidden Yorkshire Dales. The joys of walking in my favourite lesser known dales.

Walking with Children. Some tips and my favourite child friendly walks

Multi Day Walks. A few tips to get the most out of them

Footpath erosion. The potential impact of government cuts

Mountain Rescue Teams. The best ways to help them

1 Comment
  • Freya Geall says:

    Dear Jonathon,

    Having decided to visit the Dales for the first time as a spur-of-the-moment thing, I was so pleased to find your list of lovely villages! I have no idea where we will end up, but I plan to pack your list in case we are in need of some inspiration. Thank you!


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