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KIlnsey Crag in Wharfedale. Photograph by Kev Lockwood Photography

Grassington – special qualities

Grassington is situated in Wharfedale in the south of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

In the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the interaction of people with nature has produced a landscape of remarkable beauty and distinctive character that is loved and cherished by the nation. The area’s unique landscape character is created by the particular combination of many elements: the managed moorland, pastures and valley grasslands; small woodlands; dispersed villages and farmsteads; the local building materials; strong field patterns; and drystone walls and field barns. This is what makes it such a special place. This has led to us recognising the ten special qualities of the National Park.

Livestock farming in the Yorkshire Dales is still deeply interwoven into local life in Grassington. Particularly sheep farming and a strong tradition of upland cattle rearing. 

The Dales have been a farming landscape for thousands of years. As you look across the valley you will see the distinctive pattern of earthwork lynchets – terraces for growing crops – as well as a patchwork of drystone walls and nineteenth-century field barns.

Over a quarter of England’s flower-rich upland hay meadows and pastures are here – and keep an eye out for nationally important populations of birds like curlew, lapwing, and black grouse.

Livestock sales and agricultural shows play an important part in the lives of the local people in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It’s a chance for isolated farming families to get together and share their news, knowledge and experiences as well as show off their stock and produce. 

Today, the competition is as fierce as ever. Top show winners mean more sales of stock bred from their lines and bring their own satisfaction after all the hard work on the farm.

No summer visit to the Yorkshire Dales is complete without taking in a traditional agricultural show or village gala such as the Kilnsey show which is held in the field right under the Kilnsey Crag!

Some of the best examples of classic limestone scenery can be found in the Yorkshire Dales. Such as Mossdale Scar and nearby Kilnesy Crag. Marvel at the height of Kilnsey Crag and the climbers trying to scale it.

One of the very special features of the Yorkshire Dales is its limestone scenery – both above and below ground. It’s a little further away from Grassington; Gaping Gill in Ribblesdale includes one of the largest underground chambers and the highest unbroken underground waterfall in the UK.

Mossdale Caverns lie on the southern slopes of Great Whernside about 4 kilometres northeast of Conistone in Wharfedale and contain over 6 miles (10km) of underground tunnels and passages. They were first explored in 1941 and a return trip to the far end takes between eight and ten hours.

If you fancy an underground adventure visit you can find group caving and other outdoor activity guided tours here.

There are dozens of spectacular waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. From Grassington you can visit waterfalls such as Catrigg Force and Linton Falls which is just a five minute walk downhill from the Grassington National Park Visitor Centre and car park. Bucken and Cray also have lots of waterfalls to discover on your treks.

Yorkshire is the home of cycling thanks to the 2014 Tour de France ‘Grand Depart’ and Le Tour de Yorkshire. The Dales offers some of the best cycling in the country – from gentle routes in the valleys to challenging climbs over the moorland that separates them. If you want a challenge, try cycling up the lung-busting Park Rash which takes you from Kettlewell into Coverdale.

Grassington Moor is a wild expanse of moorland lying above Wharfedale and Ribblesdale.

Around 42% of the area of the National Park is moorland, which is internationally important for wildlife, and plant species and the carbon they store as peat.

The stunning dark sky of the Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of its very special qualities, and each year we support a special festival to celebrate it. The Dark Sky Festival is all about discovering, learning and enjoying the galaxies and stars you don’t normally get to see.  See our Dark Sky events page to find out dates and events near you.