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Bolton Abbey, River Wharfe, Wharfedale Credit: Wendy McDonnell Photography

The Yorkshire Dales in Autumn

Couple drinking in The Craven Arms pub, Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales National Park
The Craven Arms, Appletreewick, Yorkshire Dales National Park

Here are some ideas of what to do in autumn in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

There is plenty to celebrate about the autumn with its bright crops of berries and its russet bracken-covered hills.

Even a wet and windy day can be enjoyed if you are dressed for the weather, especially if there’s the promise of a wood fire and a pint of local beer at the end of it.

Woodland in Autumn

Children Playing in Freeholders Wood in Aysgarth in autumn
Freeholders Wood in Aysgarth

Look out for hawthorn berries, rosehips, sloes, blackberries, and crab apples. Gathering blackberries is one of autumn’s treats, while the bright red hips and haws are a bounty for the birds feeding up for the winter.

A bottle full of sloes mixed with gin and sugar will be a ruby-red Christmas pleasure.

It goes without saying that kicking up leaves in an autumn wood is fun for everyone. Why not visit Grass Wood near Grassington or Freeholders’ Wood in Aysgarth and collect a few conkers to have a battle with a friend?

Red Squirrels

Red Squirrel at Snaizeholme foraging in autumn
Red Squirrel at Snaizeholme

Autumn is a good time of year to try red squirrel spotting because they are busy gathering supplies for the winter so are easily spotted dashing about among the trees.

One of the best places to see them is along the red squirrel trail at Snaizeholme in Wensleydale.

A Walk in the Hills

The autumn sun is rising and hitting the peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent. Taken from Above Langcliffe.
The sun is rising and hitting the peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent. Taken from Above Langcliffe.

Why not climb a hill and admire the views? On a crisp clear autumn day, you will get stunning views from one of our Yorkshire Three Peaks. Become a Friend of the Three Peaks and help us look after this beautiful place.

But you don’t have to climb mountains as even a smaller hill will reward you with that perfect photo opportunity.

Moorland

Swaledale sheep hiding in the autumn bracken
Swaledale sheep hiding in the bracken

Moorlands are important habitats for grouse and other ground-nesting birds.

In the autumn the bracken turns russet brown on the hills. The autumn sunset light filters through the foliage which creates a warm, fiery, glow on the hills, which is a breathtaking sight to see.

The Bolton Abbey Estate has some beautiful bracken-clothed hillsides above the River Wharfe.

Rivers

The River Ribble cascades down the waterfalls at Stainforth Foss in autumn
The River Ribble cascades down the waterfalls at Stainforth Foss


Leaping salmon are one of the wonders of nature not to be missed, as adult salmon are seen returning to the same streams they were spawned in years before.

At this time of year, people gather at waterfalls and weirs to watch the thrilling sight of these determined fish leaping up through the rushing water. The Yorkshire Dales has many fantastic and accessible waterfalls.

The River Ribble is a good salmon river, watch them at Stainforth Foss or other weirs around Settle where there are public footpaths.

Leaping Salmon at Stainforth Falls