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Ribblehead Viaduct Copyright: John Lockwood


Storytelling, singing and dancing leave little archaeological trace. However hunting became a leisure pursuit of the major medieval landowners. This led to large areas of the National Park being managed as hunting forests.

The working classes would have enjoyed wood carving, cockfighting, bear baiting and archery. Fairs and markets were for socialising as well as trading. Pubs, reading rooms, village halls and maypoles are more reminders of past recreation.

As transport improved in the eighteenth century, tourism grew. By the end of the nineteenth century, rail services and bicycles meant the Dales became popular for day trips.

For information and ideas for recreation today see our ‘Get outdoors‘ section on the website.