1. Outdoor Activities. Walking, cycling, nature study (birding, wild flowers, and geology), leisurely motoring, horseback riding, caving, angling, golf and viewing gardens are all outdoor interests that can be fully indulged in the Dales. One of the marvelous things about the Dales is the sheer number of walks sponsored by the National Park and many other organizations. If you are not familiar with reading Ordinance Survey maps but want to experience the beautiful riverside and moor walking that abounds in the Dales, you can always find a group to join. You can find lists of sponsored walks at the National Park Centers (the local one is in Reeth) and in the Darlington & Stockton Times (published every Friday and available from the two newsagents in Reeth) in its What's On listings. For a sampling of local walks with beautiful photographs, please go to the where2walk website (where2walk). The Dales Bike Centre in Fremington, between Reeth and Grinton, has bikes for rent (Dales Bike Centre). If you want to see a Yorkshire farm first hand, a visit to Hazel Brow Farm in Low Row is highly recommended, especially for families with younger children (Hazel Brow Farm). For information about the flora and fauna found in Swaledale, the Yorkshire Dales National Park has a very informative website (www.natureinthedales.org).
2. Visiting Sites of Historical Interest . Within Swaledale itself, an iron age hill fort and earthworks (Maiden Castle), medieval lynchets (cultivation terraces), nineteenth century lead mines and well preserved vernacular architecture stretching back over the past four centuries are all reachable by easy walking. For those with an interest in the history of Swaledale, the Swaledale & Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group has a very informative website (SWAAG). Also, the outofoblivion website has a great deal of information about the archaeology and history of Swaledale and the rest of the Yorkshire Dales National Park (Outofoblivion). For an overview of hill forts in the Yorkshire Dales and the rest of the British Isles, visit the searchable Hillfort Atlas (Hillfort Atlas). Within an hour and a half drive are
the ruins of at least four significant abbies (Easby, Fountains, Jervaulx and Rievaulx)
the ruins of at least four significant castles (Bolton, Middelham, Richmond, and Skipton)
3. Arts and Crafts. The Yorkshire Dales and the neighboring Lake District and North York Moors National Parks (www.brigantia.co.uk) are home to many fine potters, furniture makers, landscape painters and many other artists and craftspeople. In the past several years, Reeth has developed into quite a center for craftspeople and artists and a pleasant afternoon can be spent browsing in the workshops in the Reeth Dales Centre (for a partial list of the workshops, visit Reeth Arts and Crafts). Cumbria is the home of one of the finest pottery festivals in England, Potfest, which is held for three days at the beginning of August (www.potfest.co.uk). The world famous Swaledale Woollens, where most of the goods for sale are hand knit in Swaledale, is located in Muker (www.swaledalewoollens.co.uk). The best nearby craft shops are the Shop located in The Station, right outside Richmond, which also has regular interesting art exhibitions upstairs (The Station), and the Fleece in Reeth, which is a craft cooperative (Fleece). Finally, mention must be made of the Josephine & John Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, with over thirty galleries of paintings, ceramics and other works of art (www.bowesmuseum.org.uk).
4. Antiques. England's largest regional auctioneer, Tennants Auctioneers(www.tennants.co.uk), is located in Leyburn, which is about nine miles from Reeth. Tennants runs three catalogue sales and two book sales each year as well as regular uncatalogued sales with upwards of nine hundred lots. If you want to browse in antique shops, the nearby market towns of Barnard Castle and Hawes both have several good antique shops. If you are a bit more ambitious, then Harrogate and York are both worth visits.
5. Restaurants and Gastropubs. The area has many fine restaurants and gastropubs. Notable among the gastropubs are the CB Inn in Arkengarthdale (www.cbinn.co.uk), the Punch Bowl in Low Row (www.punchbowl-swaledale.co.uk), which you could walk to from High Smarber if you are feeling ambitious, and the Blue Lion in East Witton (www.thebluelion.co.uk).
6. Pubs and Breweries. If you just want a pint or a good bar meal, Swaledale has many fine country pubs. Notable among them are the Buck Hotel in Reeth (www.buckhotel.co.uk), the Farmer's Arms in Muker, which is an unspoiled country pub (www.farmersarmsmuker.co.uk), and the Kings Head in Gunnerside, which has a happy hour from 5 to 6 pm on Fridays, when the chips and fish van comes through (Kings Head) . Many of the local pubs have Black Sheep, a fine locally brewed ale. For a change of pace, try the Bridge Inn in Grinton (www.bridgeinn-grinton.co.uk), which carries Jennings beer (a Cumbria brewery) and a constantly changing guest beer, all well kept, and has excellent pub meals and, on Thursdays at around 9 pm, a group of local guitarists and singers meet to play together in the bar.
If you enjoy visiting breweries, there are three different breweries that are open to the public in North Yorkshire: Black Sheep (www.blacksheepbrewery.com) and Theakstons (www.theakstons.co.uk), both in Masham; the North Yorkshire Brewing Co.; and York Brewery (www.york-brewery.co.uk).
7. Tea Shops. There are many fine tea shops in the dales. Among the ones that we have enjoyed the most are the Overton House Cafe in Reeth (www.overtonhousecafe.co.uk), Serendipity at the north end of the Leyburn market place (www.serendipityinteriors.co.uk), the Cafe at the Dales Bike Center in Fremington, between Reeth and Grinton, which has a cake special on Fridays and where you can rent bikes (Dales Bike Centre) and the Muker Teashop.
8. Yearly Events. Swaledale is home to four yearly events that are of great interest: the Tan Hill Show in May (the premier show for Swaledale sheep farmers) (Tan Hill Show); the Swaledale Festival in late May and early June (music and art exhibits) (www.swaledale-festival.org.uk); the Reeth Show at the end of August (a traditional agricultural show) (www.reethshow.co.uk); and the Muker Show in early September (another, albeit smaller, traditional agricultural show) (www.mukershow.co.uk).
9. Food. In Wensleydale, the Wensleydale Creamery produces a range of traditional cheeses (www.wensleydale.co.uk). Leyburn has a market day every Friday that is particularly good for buying food, especially fish and meat. Reeth also has a Friday market with a very good butcher and cheese monger usually in attendance. There are also a number of farmers' markets active in the area at Richmond and Hawes (Farmers Markets).
The best local supermarket is Campbell's in Leyburn, which has an excellent butcher and delicatessen, as well as a superb wine shop upstairs (Campbell's of Leyburn).
There has been an explosion of farm shops featuring locally raised meat and other products and usually with a very good tea shop or cafe attached. Three farm shops are within an easy drive: Berry's Farm Shop & Cafe in Wensleydale (www.berrysfarmshop.com), Cross Lanes Organic Farm near Barnard Castle (www.crosslanesorganics.co.uk, and Mainsgill Farm Shop & Tea Room near Scotch Corner and Richmond (www.mainsgillfarm.co.uk).
Mention should be made of The Station, right outside of Richmond, which has a micro-brewery (the Richmond Brewing Company), a bakery (The Angel's Share) and an ice cream shop (Archer's Jersey Ice Cream), all of which produce excellent and delicious products (The Station).
If you want a full week's groceries delivered to your door, the only online supermarket that can navigate the road up to High Smarber is Sainsburys (www.sainsburys.co.uk). Do not try any other online service as the delivery trucks will not make it up the hill.
11. Local Villages.The nearest large village is Reeth, in which you can spend a pleasant day browsing through the shops and visiting the Swaledale Museum (Swaledale Museum), with time for an excellent pub lunch or dinner. For further information on Reeth, please consult the Reeth website at www.reeth.org. Leyburn is a local market town that has many locally owned stores, including the best local supermarket, Campbell's. For further information on Leyburn, please consult the Leyburn website at Leyburn.
12. Further Information.
For further information about the Yorkshire Dales in general, please consult the Yorkshire Tourist Board site at www.yorkshirevisitor.com and the North Yorkshire Dales National Park web site at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk.