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Visit the Dales



The Yorkshire Dales National Park provides a wonderful backdrop for watersports and there are opportunities to canoe and sail in the area.


The upland rivers of the Dales respond quickly to rainfall and there are many challenging white water opportunities and spectacular waterfalls after heavy rain.  While there is no recognised right of access to a number of these sites, informal agreements are in place on some, and others have a history of tolerated use.

Further information on access to rivers can be found through the River Information Service provided by the Canoe England.

If you would like to take up canoeing the best way is to join a local club and again details are available through the British Canoe Union.

Sailing and windsurfing

The post-glacial lake of Semer Water, and reservoirs at Embsay and Grimwith offer opportunities for sailing. Located high in the magnificent scenery of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Grimwith Reservoir is the largest inland sailing venue in Yorkshire.  We believe it's the best place to enjoy sailing or windsurfing in the area, and some say the North. For more information visit the Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club website.

The smaller reservoir above Embsay is the home of Craven Sailing Club.

The post-glacial lake of Semer Water high above Bainbridge in Wensleydale is also available for watersports. Canoeing, sailing and windsurfing all take place here.

Open water swimming

The best site for open water swimming in the National Park is Semerwater - a small lake - near Hawes. There are also places to river swim with the Swale and Wharfe being the most popular.

Call in the experts

Find a list of instructors and guides who can take you climbing, caving, canoeing and more >

Rivers and waterfalls

Discover more about the many stunning waterfalls and the rivers of the Dales

Essential visitor info

How to get here, where to stay and more.

Get outdoors

Find out about walking, cycling, mountain biking and horse riding


Get inspiration whether you want family-friendly ambles or long-distance challenge >