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.
Hawes is a great base to start your discovery of the Yorkshire Dales; with roads leading to all the corners of the Dales. From Hawes, you can access many of the special qualities of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The famous Yorkshire Three Peaks of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent are among the highest in the county, providing an inspiring challenge to walkers from around the world. The Three Peaks can be found in Ribblesdale, only a short drive from Hawes, the closest peak being Whernside next to Ribblehead Viaduct and only a 20 minutes drive away.
Some of the best examples of classic limestone scenery can be found in the Yorkshire Dales. Prime examples close to Hawes are Twistleton Scar and White Scar Caves. Twistleton Scar lies along the flank of Whernside above Chapel-le-Dale and on the opposite side of the dale below White Scar which surrounds Ingleborough, the second of our Yorkshire Three Peaks.
There are dozens of spectacular waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales and many are in Wensleydale and close to Hawes. One of the most well-known waterfalls in the Dales is Hardraw Force with the longest unbroken drop in England along with Cotter Force and Aysgill Force. There are walks that take in these waterfalls. Slightly further away is the well-loved Ingleton waterfalls tail in Ribblesdale.
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. The road from Hawes over the moors to Muker in Swaledale takes in the iconic Buttertubs pass, only a short ride from Hawes. Check out our Cycle the Dales website for more information about cycle routes and Stage 1 cycles in Hawes to hire a bike.
Over a quarter of England’s flower-rich upland hay meadows and pastures are here – outstanding examples can be found in Swaledale and Langstrothdale – and keep an eye out for nationally important populations of birds like curlew, lapwing, and black grouse.
Around 42% of the area of the National Park is moorland, which is internationally important for wildlife, plant species and the carbon they store as peat a fantastic example of this in the Hawes area is Fleet Moss, a peat bog in the centre of the Yorkshire Dales National Park which can be seen by the road from Hawes to Hubberholme in Langstrothdale. Find out more about our restoration work here with our partners: Dales peatland ‘a stirring scene of restoration’
Livestock sales and agricultural shows play an important part in the lives of 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. Find out about Hawes Auction Mart and Yorkshire Dales Agricultural shows.
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 Wensleydale Show in Leyburn. You can even watch sheepdog trails run by a farmer in Hawes.
The Yorkshire Dales has some of the most spectacular peaks in England, and the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent are amongst the highest in the county, providing an inspiring challenge to walkers from around the world. The Three Peaks are within driving distance of Hawes if you felt like taking on more of a challenge! You can walk the individual Peaks or find less strenuous walks in Ribblesdale as well as seeing the iconic Ribblesdale Viaduct and Dent Head Viaduct.
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.