Skip to main content
Wharfedale Kilnsey Crag


The River Wharfe gathers the waters of Langstrothdale and the becks above Cray and runs south through the National Park to Bolton Abbey down a classic u-shaped glacial valley. The dale is criss-crossed with miles of drystone walls running up sometimes impossible-looking slopes to the limestone scars above with picturesque villages strung out along the valley bottom below.

Scarecrows and shows

Buckden, once the centre of a medieval hunting forest, is in the upper part of the valley. It is a great starting point for walks along the valley bottom or up into the beautiful hills. Kettlewell is a pretty riverside village, home to the popular annual Scarecrow Festival and with a choice of traditional pubs and tearooms. Further down the dale the spectacular overhanging rock face at Kilnsey watches over the annual show held in the fields below at the end of August, and Kilnsey Park where you can have fun exploring with the kids or have a go at fly fishing.

Festivals and falls

Grassington is the main settlement in Wharfedale and still retains its old world village charm whilst providing the facilities of a small town. The Dickensian festivities in December are a highlight of the year and it also hosts the well-respected Grassington Festival in June. Linton Falls near Grassington is the largest waterfall on the River Wharfe, with the newly restored hydro-electric plant visible upstream.

Romantic riversides and rocks

The southern part of the dale offers riverside scenery and walking experiences like no other. Burnsall is a popular starting place, as is Bolton Abbey, its romantic priory ruins on the riverside making it the perfect location for a picnic or a stroll. The rocky outcrop of Simon’s Seat looks over the picturesque village of Appletreewick. The grandstand view over much of the southern area of the Yorkshire Dales is worth the climb.