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Hay fields in Muker, Photograph by Andy Kay

The Yorkshire Dales in Summer

Here are some ideas of things to do and an overview of what is happening in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in the summertime.

Short Eared Owl in flight, hunting on the moor in the dark time, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Short Eared Owl hunting on the moor in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

Summer is the time when birds and animals are hard at work feeding their young. Even night-hunting creatures like owls sometimes have to keep going into the daylight hours to catch enough food. The flowers in the road verges and hay meadows reach their peak and butterflies make the most of the ample supply of nectar.

Wildlife in Summertime

Pastures in full bloom at summertime, separated by drystone walls, in Wharfedale, Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Drystone wall landscape, Wharfedale, Yorkshire Dales National Park

Drystone walls are great habitats for wildlife in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Families of wrens can often be seen hunting in and out along the tops of drystone walls. For such a tiny bird, the wren must surely have one of the loudest songs.

Look out for a stoat hunting along the line of a wall. These fast little creatures are deadly hunters and know that rabbits like to hide in holes in drystone walls.

Peregrine Falcons at Malham in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Keep your ears open for the mewing call of a Buzzard, floating lazily on a rising current of warm air but keeping a sharp lookout for a meal. These huge birds of prey are making a comeback in the Dales. Keen birdwatchers might also spot the rarer Hen Harrier and Red Kite.

Watch the fastest bird on earth – the peregrine – at Malham Cove. Effortless and magnificent, it can dive after prey at over 200mph.

Find out more about the Peregrine Falcons at Malham here.

Wildlife at Night

Why not take advantage of the warm evening and take a torch and go Bat spotting. The Yorkshire Dales has several different species of these fascinating creatures. By a river, you might see large Daubenton’s
bats skimming along grabbing insects with their large feet from the surface of the water or near house lights watch out for tiny Pipistrelles snatching an easy meal from the gathering insects. Don’t forget the midge repellent though!


There is no finer sight (or smell!) than a hay meadow in full flower on a hot summer’s day. Many have footpaths running though, but try not to trample the grass – it may look beautiful to you but to a farmer, it also means winter food for his stock. Swaledale has some of our finest hay meadows but Dentdale also has some lovely ones too, especially alongside the Dales Way, and The National Trust’s Upper Wharfedale estate is also rich in these traditional meadows.

Watch the video below of ‘Farming through the Seasons- Summer’ to find out more about haytime in the Yorkshire Dales.

Video of ‘Farming Through the Seasons- Summer’ taken from our Yorkshire Dales National Park, YouTube.