River Whafe near Buckden View Over Wensleydale  near Askrigg |  <i>John Millen</i>
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The Dales Way

Take a self guided walking holiday along England's Dales Way

The Dales Way was established in 1969 and runs for 78 miles (125 km) from Ilkley in West Yorkshire to Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria, following mostly riverside paths, running right across the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the gentle foothills of southern Lakeland to the shore of England's grandest lake - Lake Windermere.

The beautiful Yorkshire Dales are thought by many to be the purest form of English highland landscape, with traditions and views, which have remained virtually untouched for centuries. Soft rolling hills, limestone edges, green valleys, waterfalls, a Roman road, several interesting old churches, an abbey and some lovely Real Ale pubs all feature here as well as the villages proud of their heritage.

When walking in the Yorkshire Dales, gradients and terrain are generally straight forward, but the going may be muddy underfoot in wet weather; there are some high moorland areas to cross. Much of the trail follows pretty river valleys, especially The Wharfe, Dee, Rawthey, Lune and The Kent. All have beauty spots for shady picnics, small ravines and rapids and are patrolled by birds such as Berwick swans, kingfishers, dippers and wagtails. Brown trout lurk in their waters depths. 

When to walk the Dales Way

Weather stone in Appletreewick

While it is possible to walk the Dales Way throughout the year we've found that walkers get the most out of the route when they tackle it between April and October. 

The weather in the Yorkshire Dales is notoriously changeable all year round. So uncertain in fact, that the ingenious denizens of Appletreewick have discovered an interesting way of predicting it by the use of this magical 'Weather Stone' (see right), which hangs outside the Craven Arms pub in the village. Created over geological eons, the weather stone is a timeless miracle, and also reflects other natural phenomena acting upon it.

How does it work?

  • If the hanging stone is wet, then it is raining.
  • If it is dry it is not raining.
  • If there is a shadow cast by the stone on the wall then it is sunny.
  • If the stone is white on top then it is snowing.
  • If you cannot see the stone, then it is foggy.
  • If the stone is swinging then it is windy.
  • If the stone is bouncing up and down there is an earthquake.
  • If it has gone there has been a tornado.
  • If it is underwater there is a flood.