• Dales Magic
    • by Roger Cope
    • Taken from the Askrigg road dropping down into Swaledale ‘over the tops’ from Wensleydale. Objective A3 in the Management Plan aims to provide clear guidance on which traditional farm buildings should be a focus for public investment and which can be best adapted for re-use or allowed to decline.

    • Holiday adventure – the fishing expedition
    • by Jonathan Woolley
    • Taken at Marsett. Objective C4 in the Management Plan aims to achieve ‘good’ ecological status for at least 60% of the rivers in the Yorkshire Dales by 2022.

    • Liquid sunshine
    • by Tom Collier
    • Taken at West Burton Falls. Objective A5 in the Management Plan aims to maintain the National Park as a place where a true sense of remoteness and solitude can be found.

  • About this photo

Special qualities of the Yorkshire Dales National Park

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a home and a workplace for over 20,000 people, with around 95% of the land in private ownership. It is also a place that millions of people visit every year.

The interaction of people with nature has produced a landscape of remarkable beauty and distinctive character that is cherished and enjoyed by the nation.

The area's unique landscape is created by the combination of many elements - the managed moorland, pastures and valley grasslands; small woodlands; dispersed villages and farmsteads; the local building materials; strong field patterns; drystone walls and field barns. This is what makes it such a special place.

Natural beauty

In terms of natural beauty the underlying geology, natural processes and human activity have created a hugely varied landscape with beautiful views and dramatic features. These include:

  • Fells that rise to over 700 metres in the 'Three Peaks'
  • Deep dales that have been cut by glaciers and rivers
  • One of the best examples in Britain of classic limestone scenery
  • Extraordinary cave systems including the longest cave system in Britain
  • Spectacular waterfalls
  • Traditional pastures created by livestock farmers over several centuries.


Rich and diverse wildlife and habitats are an important characteristic of the National Park. These include:

  • Flower rich hay meadows and pastures, which are very scarce nationally
  • Rare limestone habitats
  • Extensive areas of moorland that are internationally important for wildlife and carbon storage
  • Small areas of broad leaf woodland
  • Nationally important populations of a number of bird species, rare lime loving plants scarce invertebrates and important mammals.

Cultural heritage

There is an exceptional amount of evidence of the occupations of previous generations in the National Park, which has been home to communities and industry for several millennia. The National Park's cultural heritage is based on:

  • An exceptional range of archaeology
  • Distinctive traditional architecture
  • Livestock farming with distinctive sheep breeds and upland cattle rearing
  • The remains of former rural industries
  • Numerous small, attractive villages and hamlets as wells as scattered farmsteads

Enjoying the experience of being here

The National Park has its own unique 'spirit of place':

  • Extensive areas where a true sense of tranquility, remoteness and solitude can be found
  • The natural sounds of water, wind and birdsong
  • Expansive views that show to advantage the areas beauty and variety
  • Welcoming and friendly people and places
  • A historic and extensive network of footpaths and bridleways, public access, rivers crags and caves.
A sedimentary dusk, photographed by Steve Glover
A sedimentary dusk
Photographed by Steve Glover
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Geology, natural processes and human influences have created the particular conditions that support rich and diverse wildlife and habitats

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