Even the most experienced visitor can be caught out, so take a moment to check out our tips for staying safe while you’re in the Dales.
Check the weather first to decide what you should wear and how you should plan for your trip. Even a trip to a tea shop can be spoiled if you forget your brolly or sunscreen!
There are plenty of places to get the latest weather and dozens of smartphone apps that will update the latest weather, hour by hour (be aware that apps will require a phone signal to work properly). Some suggested sites include:
Making sure you check the weather before heading out and dressing appropriately is really important for your health and wellbeing in countryside.
Outdoor safety guide
Great Outdoors Superstore have produced an excellent safety guide to walking which applies to many of our outdoor activities. It gives handy hints about the essential preparation you should do before heading out into the hills as well as what to do if you find yourself in trouble.
The Countryside Code is also an essential guide. If you follow the Countryside Code wherever you go, you’ll get the best enjoyment possible and help to protect the countryside now and for future generations.
Clothing and equipment for walking
- Comfortable clothing/layers
- Waterproof/windproof outer jacket
- Boots with good sole pattern – trainers aren’t suitable except on the simplest of walks as they can slip and don’t support the ankle.
- Hat and gloves
- Spare warm clothing
Remember, when you’re resting, you may need more layers than when you’re on the move. Several thin layers give good insulation and allow you to adjust for the different activities dictated by terrain and weather conditions. Bear in mind that as you go higher it gets colder and windier.
- Comfortable day sack
- Food and water/warm drink
- Some extra energy-giving food/emergency rations
- Large polybag/survival bag
- Whistle and torch
- First aid kit
- Map and compass
- Sunscreen for warmer days
Before the walk, make sure you:
- Know how to use your map and compass.
- Check out the weather forecast.
- Choose a walk that is suitable for all members of the group and can be changed if the weather worsens. Don’t be over ambitious – allow one hour for every 2.5 miles (4km) and add one hour for every 1,500 ft (500m) of ascent, with extra time for stops for rest and food.
- Leave clear details of your intended route and estimated time of return.
- Know basic first aid and how to call for help in an emergency.
If the worst happens
- If you are delayed but it isn’t an emergency, for example you have descended into the wrong valley, inform your base or the police as quickly as possible so Fell Rescue is not called out unnecessarily.
- Give any casualty first aid, make sure their breathing is unobstructed; dress wounds to prevent bleeding; keep them warm, sheltered and safe from further injury; also remember to protect yourself.
- Send for help. Dial 999, ask for the Police. Tell the Police operator you need Fell Rescue and give your details including an accurate location (grid reference if possible). Remain on the phone unless asked to do otherwise. The police will call out the nearest Fell Rescue Team. Remember that you can not rely on there being mobile phone coverage.
Specific to the Dales
- Many routes cover areas of exposed limestone which becomes very slippery when wet and will need extra care.
- The area has hundreds of cave and mine entrances. These should only be explored by properly equipped and experienced people.
- Don’t think that the sun can’t be intense in the Dales. It’s important that, for warmer days, you have access to sunscreen and a water bottle.
Water Safety and Swimming
As the weather heats up, many people are attracted to rivers and lakes. These can be extremely cold, deep and difficult to get out of. There may also be hidden hazards below the surface. Always check before you enter. If you find someone in difficulty in water in the Dales, call 999 and ask for Fire & Rescue.
DO NOT consider swimming if you are not experienced in open water swimming in very cold water and do not know the area.
Rivers and waterfalls can get very full when in full spate after rain. They are a spectacular sight but extra care must be taken; swollen rivers can be unpredictable, fast flowing and carry debris. Keep at a safe distance.
Ticks and tick-borne diseases
The Yorkshire Dales is not one of the parts of the UK that are ‘hotspots’ for ticks, but it is always possible that you might pick one up whilst walking. If you do find a tick on your skin the recommended method of removal is with a tick removal tool or pair of tweezers.
We recommend that you;
- Stick to paths and avoid long grass, bracken, and heather if possible.
- If you do walk through long grass, bracken, and heather cover exposed skin.
- Use a recommended insect repellent.
- And most importantly check yourself and your dogs for ticks at regular intervals.
Dogs in the countryside
Bringing your dog? Check out our special dog walking pages with tips on staying safe, especially around farm animals.
Wild & Fly Camping
Wild camping is not permitted anywhere in the Yorkshire Dales without prior permission from the landowner.
As the National Park Authority we do not have the power to allow camping on private land and we do not permit camping on the small amount of land that we own.
Fly camping and overnight occupation of vehicles in our car parks is also not allowed at any time. Instead choose from one of the many campsites in the Yorkshire Dales from quiet sites to glamping, there is something for everyone. Again, use our where to stay search.
Plan Your Visit
We have lots of resources and information to help you plan your visit. Check out our ‘plan your visit’ page which also has tips and hint for first time visitors to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.