About Skipton

Skipton | Yorkshire Dales

Skipton is a market town in Airedale, its position at the south western boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park earning the town's title as "Gateway to the Dales".

Situated on the main A65 route which skirts the Yorkshire Dales and leads on to the Lake District, Skipton makes an ideal base for touring some of the best loved attractions in the Yorkshire Dales and northern England.

Nearby are the famous dales villages of Malham (with its spectacular limestone cliffs and gorges), Grassington, Burnsall and the celebrated riverside beauty spot of Bolton Abbey near the vllage of Addingham and the spa town of Ilkley in Lower Wharfedale.

leeds-liverpool canal

Skipton Castle

Craven Court

Pictures courtesy of skiptonweb

Map of UK

Just outside Skipton there is the village of Embsay, from where it is possible to take a steam train journey on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway to just short of Bolton Abbey.

Yorkshire Dales | top

The Yorkshire Dales is an area of great natural beauty in northern England, a large part of which has been designated as one of England and Wales ten national parks.

Much of the landscape here is limestone country, lush green valleys (known locally as "dales") crested with white limestone cliffs ("scars") cutting through wilder uplands beneath towering peaks ("fells") of dark millstone grit. Throughout the dales, fields and pastures are bounded by distinctive white drystone walls which criss-cross the hillsides in elaborate patterns; set against the limestone cliffs and escarpments these walls (which were originally built by sheep farmers in days gone by) look almost a natural part of the limestone scenery as viewed today.

The geology here gives rise to some spectacular natural features, such as the towering white cliffs and limestone gorges at Malham, and dramatic waterfalls in deep woodland ravines such as those found at Ingleton. But besides the obvious attractions, a hidden world lies beneath the surface of the Yorkshire Dales, with the limestone hills being honeycombed by countless caves and potholes. A subterranean wonderland of stalactites, stalagmites, cathedral-sized chambers, underground rivers and waterfalls waits here to be explored by the intrepid, with new passages and cave systems still being discovered and surveyed.

Gentler tourist attractions include popular riverside beauty spots such as Bolton Abbey in Wharfedale, and Aysgarth Falls in Wensleydale, though it is always possible to get away from the tourists in the hundreds of square miles of unspoiled countryside that lie within the boundaries of this beautiful national park.

Geographically, the Yorkshire Dales spread to the north from the market and spa towns of Settle, Skipton, Ilkley and Harrogate in North Yorkshire, with most of the larger southern dales (Ribblesdale, Malhamdale / Airedale, Wharfedale and Nidderdale) running roughly parallel from north to south, and the more northerly dales (Wensleydale, Swaledale and Teesdale) running generally from west to east. There are also many other smaller dales (e.g. Littondale, Langstrothdale, Coverdale, Bishopdale and Arkengarthdale - to name but a few) whose tributary streams and rivers feed into the larger valleys, and which are always well worth a visit.

To the east the countryside becomes gentler, sloping off to the Vale of York and the towns of Ripon, Thirsk, and the historic city of York itself. Beyond that, to the north east lies Yorkshire's other national park, The North York Moors stretching to the Yorkshire coast, and its popular seaside resorts.

To the south west and the south lie Bronte Country and the industrial conurbation of West Yorkshire—including the cities of Leeds and Bradford. Britain's most famous long distance footpath, the Pennine Way passes through the Yorkshire Dales, as does the Dales Way footpath, the Coast to Coast Walk, and the Settle—Carlisle Railway—one of Britain's most spectacular train journeys.

Having featured in several television series and films (e.g. James Herriot's "All Creatures Great and Small", ITV's soap opera "Emmerdale", the Hollywood movie "Robin Hood—Prince of Thieves" etc), tourism plays an increasing part in the life of the Yorkshire Dales today, though even the most popular sites are usually much less busy than some of England's other areas of great scenic attraction (e.g. the Lake District). For sheer solitude and unspoiled natural beauty, the Yorkshire Dales remains one of England's "crown jewels" and no visit to the north should be complete without exploring some of the country's finest limestone scenery!

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