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Exploring the Yorkshire Dales

Nidderdale is the long dale of the River Nidd running from Great Whernside towards the Vale of York, a wild gritstone landscape with moorland to the west and a pastoral landscape to the east.

Reservoirs such as Gouthwaite and Scar House are a distinctive feature of the dale and their stories are told at the Nidderdale Museum. Sandstone crags and tors punctuate the landscape – visitors love to marvel at the curious shapes of Brimham Rocks.

Spectacular views across the dale reward those who take the short walk up to the Coldstones Cut, Yorkshire’s largest public artwork.

Nidderdale is home to internationally important species of bird such as golden plover and merlin. It includes the World Heritage Site at Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, a vast estate comprising the largest abbey ruins in the country, a deer park and a Georgian water garden designed by John Aislabie. The Aislabie connection continues at nearby Hackfall where his son William designed a woodland garden complete with follies, waterfalls and a fountain.

Traditional hamlets and villages, such as Middlesmoor and Lofthouse, are scattered throughout Nidderdale, some on old drovers’ roads snaking over the moor. At Nidderdale’s heart is the small town of Pateley Bridge which winds its way up the hill and is renowned for shops selling local produce and The Oldest Sweet Shop in England! This is a great place to stop and buy local food before a trip ‘up dale’.

Towards the top of the dale you’ll find some remarkable attractions: How Stean Gorge; and the Studfold Adventure Trail, established on land farmed by 16 generations of the same family.