Falling outside the borders of the Yorkshire National Park, the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a very pretty dale based along the upper River Nidd in North Yorkshire.
Covering 600 square kilometres of rolling countryside, the dale is 'traditional Yorkshire' i.e. moorland in the higher parts, and traditional farming in the valleys and low-lying regions.
The landscape is also dotted with the traditional small Nidderdale villages and towns, and a sprinkling of reservoirs, such as Gouthwaite, Scar House and Angram, and several others along the Washburn Valley.
The best place to start your visit is in the village of Pateley Bridge, heart of the region.
Hiking, mountain biking and cycling are all very popular among visitors to Nidderdale, along with fishing and, for the more adventurous, climbing or pot-holing.
Be sure to find time out from hiking and exploring to visit a local Yorkshire pub for a traditional pint of beer - Masham is at the heart of Yorkshire brewing and their 'Black Sheep' and 'Theakstons' are not to be missed.
Nidderdale Agricultural Show
One of the highlights in the annual calendar of Nidderdale is the agricultural show held at Pately Bridge. It is held in September and is a great opportunity to see 'up-close' the animals - cattle, sheep, horses, dogs etc - that play such an important role in the local community. There are also events such as dry-wall building and children's activities at the show - a great day out if you are in the region at the time.
Towns and villages in Nidderdale
There are many small villages and hamlets in the region, some with shopping and cafe facilities or a village pub and others little more than a cluster of traditional Yorkshire stone houses. Each have something unique to see and explore and are a great way to experience the real Yorkshire dales.
Some of these include Bewerley, Birstwith, Darley, Felliscliffe, Galphay, Glasshouses, Grantley, Grewelthorpe, Hampsthwaite, Ilkley, Kettlesing, Kirkby Malzeard, Laverton, Lofthouse, Middlesmoor, Otley, Pateley Bridge (the principal town in the region), Ramsgill, Sawley, Summerbridge, Wath and Winksley.
Monuments and places to visit
- The world heritage site at Fountains Abbey falls to the east of the region
- Brimham Rocks - curiously balanced rocks
- How Stean Gorge - impressive gorge carved by a fast moving stream
- Stump Cross caves
- Nidderdale Museum, to learn of the history and traditions of the region