Where the steep flanks of the dominant Penhill, separating Wensleydale and Coverdale, gently recede towards the convergence of the rivers Ure and Cover the high fells of Wensleydale are left behind but the southern hillsides of Coverdale continue towards Witton Fell. Here, as the valleys merge, sheltered from the prevailing westerly weather on the lowest reaches of Penhill sits Middleham. The ancient sentinel protecting the once important Pennine crossing to Skipton and Lancashire.
There are two cobbled market places, each with a stone cross, bordered by impressive houses, large and small, many of them built with pilfered stone from the castle. In latter years the village has been extended along the hillsides in contemporary guise but still holds its serenity and history. No longer a sentry guarding but now a major centre for breeding and training racehorses. This equestrian association and dependence is reflected in the names of shops, cafes and restaurants and so evident each day as the strings of horses pass through the market places to go and return from their training gallops on the nearby moors.