Naturally, the magnificent landscape of fells (hills) and dales (valleys) is itself a major attraction for walkers, cyclists, photographers, artists - in fact anyone who appreciates beautiful scenery. Each of the dales has its own unique character - Wensleydale, Coverdale, Swaledale, Bishopdale, Wharfedale, Malhamdale, Dentdale, Littondale, Ryedale - to name a few. Some are broad, sweeping and imposing. Others are small, intimate and so well hidden that you may feel you are the first person to discover them.
For walkers and cyclists, Wensleydale offers an abundance of routes ranging from easy to challenging. However you choose to travel, you'll find small villages with cottages of local stone, village greens, market towns, the warm hospitality of local pubs, restaurants and tea rooms. There's local produce to sample, arts and crafts workshops to visit. It's all here in abundance and makes for a wonderful Yorkshire holiday! Read on for just a few details of things you might like to see and do...
Aysgarth Falls, Village and Church
Aysgarth Falls are a spectacular sight. Set in a beautiful wooded gorge, there are three falls, the largest being the Upper Fall. The Middle and Lower Falls are not as large, but after rain the River Ure cascades with great force over them all for about half a mile. The Falls are beautiful at any time of year, but perhaps at their most dramatic during the winter months and following heavy rain.
There are many delightful and well signposted walks through the woodlands around the Falls. During spring and summer the wild flowers form a multicoloured carpet, and squirrels and deer can be spotted amongst the trees. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Visitor Centre, with gift shop and cafe, provides plenty of information about the area. There are also a museum, gift shop and cafe in the old Mill buildings, right by the bridge near the Upper Fall.
Aysgarth Village is just ten minutes' walk from Wensleydale Farmhouse. It's a pretty Dales village, complete with village green. Opposite the village green is a tearoom which sells fantastic homemade food and cakes, as well as gifts. At the end of the green, at the west end of the village, is the recently restored Edwardian Rockery Garden. This fascinating and unusual rockery garden includes a collection of alpine plants and a waterfall - a lovely place to spend a tranquil few minutes.
Aysgarth boasts two public houses. The George and Dragon Inn is in the village itself and the Aysgarth Falls Hotel & Restaurant is just about 50 yards from us. Both serve a good selection of food.
St Andrew's Church stands behind Wensleydale Farmhouse, between us and the Falls. It's a very handsome church with lots of history. Known as "the mother church of Wensleydale", it was substantially rebuilt in 1866 and is open to all. Many of our guests have commented that it's well worth the visit.
The Heart of Herriot Country
The village of Askrigg and surrounding area were used as locations for the television series and films All Creatures Great and Small about fictitious vet James Herriot. Alf Wight, author of the books and on whose life they were based, spent his honeymoon in the pub at Carperby (5 minutes by car or a pleasant walk or cycle ride).
The Herriot Way
Aysgarth is on the route of the Herriot Way circular walk and many walkers start the Herriot Way walk from here.
for more information about the walk
Almost on our doorstep, Bolton Castle - in the village of Castle Bolton - is a must-see for anyone staying in the area. Built in the late 1300s, this medieval fortress was prison to Mary Queen of Scots for six months in 1568. In addition to the impressive castle interior, there is also a lovely garden with a miniature maze, a gift shop and tea room. There is a very pleasant walk to Bolton Castle from here, or you can cycle or go by car. Bicycle hire is also available at the Castle.
for more information.
Castles Further Afield
Other nearby castles to visit during your holiday in the Yorkshire Dales are Richmond and Middleham. The market town of Richmond has a huge town square with an outdoor market on Saturdays. Middleham is also famous for racehorse stables and these are open to the public at certain times of year.
Our two local market towns are Hawes, to the west, (market on Tuesdays) and Leyburn, to the east, (market on Fridays). Each is about 15 minutes drive from us. Leyburn also holds a Farmers' Market on the fourth Saturday of every month, and this is well worth a visit for all the magnificent natural produce available.
Train services have at last returned to Wensleydale. A new service for Dales residents and visitors now runs seven days a week from Redmire to Leeming Bar and back.
for more information about the train service, including special events and days out!
Days Out from Wensleydale
Drive through Bishopdale, across Kidstones Pass into Wharfedale, then on through Buckden, Starbotton and Kettlewell (where Calendar Girls was filmed) to Grassington. Then across the moors to Glasshouses, near Pateley Bridge, in Nidderdale, where Yorkshire Country Wines produce natural fruit wines. Their riverside winery, antiques gallery and tea rooms make a pleasant break on a tour of Wharfedale and Nidderdale.
What's On in Wensleydale
For a comprehensive calendar of local events, visit www.wensleydale.org
Yorkshire Dales Information Links:
Daelnet's Guide to the Yorkshire Dales - the jewel in the crown of Northern England.