The Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales were designated as a national park in 1954. The area covers 685 square miles, which is an area much larger than the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Interestingly, the Yorkshire Dales have significantly less population than the Moors, an indication of how harsh the rugged landscape in the dales can be.
The Yorkshire Dales is comprised of many smaller dales. These are usually named after the river than runs through it's valley. Swaledale, for example, is named after the River Swale. Wensleydale is an exception to this and is named after the village of Wensley.
Each dale has it's own identity, ecology and character, based largely on the rocks underneath them. For example, the landscape in Malhamdale is dominated by exposed limestone rocks where only a limited amount of species are able to thrive. It is this individuality of each dale that makes the Yorkshire Dales both unique and special.