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One of the largest dales with the River Ure beginning its seaward journey some six miles west of the small market town of Hawes in the heart of the great Pennine divide, a mere stones throw from the source of the river Eden which chooses to flow west to the distant Solway Firth.

The valley is at first narrow with the moorland steeps and slopes of Abbotside Common, Shunner Fell and Widdale Fell converging on the rushing river to leave a slender corridor of cultivated meadowland undulating between. So soon the valley changes and the river slows to a lazy meander as it reaches Hawes.

The fells retreat behind their many escarpments and with each mile the pastures climb higher up the valley sides, meadows grow richer, woodland appears and the dale is softer, verdant and pleasing to the eye. With passing miles the fells break to form stately, isolated peaks such as Addlebrough and Penhill allowing tributaries to fill the river and other dales to approach.

Now on past the larger market town of Leyburn in the lower dale and out to join the Cover where the fells all but disappear and the valley is rich and fertile as it spreads in minor undulations to join the Vale of York.

Such a diverse dale with natural wonders over all its length. The highest waterfall in England at Hardraw, the shortest river tributary in the Bain flowing from the legendary Lake Semerwater to the Roman town of Bainbridge, the magnificent falls at Aysgarth and other minor falls too numerous to mention. Majestic history in the castles of Bolton and Middleham, stately homes and many country halls. Villages and smaller settlements aplenty, some snuggled into the hillsides on high escarpments, other sitting close to the river but all unique and some acclaimed for beauty on a national scale.

Cottages in Wensleydale

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