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Swaledale and Wensleydale

Swaledale is dotted with villages and criss-crossed by innumerable drystone walls. Verdant meadows and soaring hills are either side of the River Swale.

This beautiful valley, along with its neighbours, Arkengarthdale and Wensleydale, was used in the filming of the popular 1970s television series, All Creatures Great and Small, about the Thirsk vet, James Herriot (Alf Wight).

Wainwright's long-distance route, the Coast-to-Coast walk leads through the dale from Keld down to the pretty market town of Reeth and on to Richmond.

The River Swale carves its way through unspoiled countryside with limestone cliffs coming into view around surprising twists and turns in the landscape.

Explore the myriad tracks and paths past the remains of lead mining history along the spectacular Fremington Edge and the Old Gang Lead Mine above Feetham Moor. Visit the Swaledale Museum in Reeth (opens from April to October) with fascinating insights into the lives and history of this intriguing area.

Stroll, ride or drive to quiet hamlets nestling into the fellside, walk through wild flower meadows with old limestone field barns and ramble along moorland tracks with their abundance of bird life including sky larks, lapwings, curlews, grouse and pheasants.

Waterfalls, limestone walls and black-faced Swaledale sheep all await you in this beautiful and peaceful Dale.

From Swaledale, drive over the Buttertubs into Wensleydale, and experience the difference between these two northern dales. Hawes is the home of Wensleydale Cheese. Castle Bolton was prison to Mary Queen of Scots and there is a dramatic walk from Leyburn along the Shawl, reputedly named after the shawl the Queen dropped on her futile flight from the castle.

The River Ure runs through Wensleydale, one of the few dales that does not take its name from its river. The name comes from the small village of Wensley, and here you will find the church used for James Herriot's marriage to Helen in All Creatures Great and Small.

Aysgarth Falls, scene of Robin Hood's fight with Little John in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, and  Hardraw Force, accessed through the Green Dragon Inn, are Wensleydale waterfalls well worth visiting.

At the end of your day's exploring the Dales, come back to the comfort and convenience of your Yorkshire Country Holidays cosy cottage.