Take to the skies in the South Downs
England's newest National Park has lots of activities on land and along the coast, but did you know that the South Downs National Park also offers a whole host of activities you take part in, up in the skies?
The Yorkshire Dales is full of interesting towns and villages which are waiting to be explored. Take a look at our top five with our guide to towns and villages in the Yorkshire Dales.
Masham is a cyclist’s haven - proved by the Tour De France 2015 stage one passing directly through the town centre! It is a quintessential Yorkshire market town and the brewing capital of the county with lots to offer including history, art and lots of outdoor adventure!
Masham has two caravan/camping parks which offer a selection of yurts, log cabins, and BBQ cabins as well as pitches for caravans and tents. Masham riding centre, located in the beautiful estate of Swinton, provides lessons and treks for all ages and abilities and is well known for accommodating disabled riders.
For both holidays or day visits, Yorkshire cycle hire and Cycopath Cyles both offer a fleet of rental bikes which are suitable for off-road and bridleway cycling. They offer a free collect and delivery service which will get you going on all the fantastic surrounding cycle routes.
For wet days the Yorkshire Black Sheep Brewery is well worth a visit. Set in the heart of the town the brewery produces popular cask, keg and bottled beers which can be tried and tested by taking the brewery experience tour.
Hawes village has a lot going for it. The home of Wensleydalle cheese, the highest waterfall in England (Hardraw Force) and Aysgarth falls - the most iconic beauty spot in Yorkshire.
The Penine Way passes straight through the village of Hawes so, if you are planning on trekking its lengths, then Hawes the perfect stop off point to break up the day. Activities in Hawes include rope making, local crafts and hands on exhibits as well as the spectacular Bolton castle which offers a whole heap of exciting events such as archery and owl and hawk displays. Make sure you enjoy a taste of the Wenslydale cheese with a trip to the creamery visitor centre which has a new interactive cheese experience!
Alternatively Hawes is a great starting point for a walk. Check out the Hawes Fells – a 10 mile high straight traverse across the hills surrounding the village or hike the Addleborough summit for spectacular views over Wenslydale. You can easily couple a trip to Hawes with a visit to the highest waterfall in England. There is a small £2 charge to visit the waterfall as it is only accessible through the Green Dragon pub – so why not stop for a quick drink too!
Malham is a tiny Yorkshire village which has great access to Malham Cove, the Penine Way and the National Park Centre. Harry Potter fans will be buzzing to visit the filming locations scattered all around Malham.
From the village, it is just a short 22 minute walk or cycle along the Penine way until you reach to Malham cove - an incredible waterfall cutting through a limestone amphitheatre. Hiking Malham cove is the perfect activity for any sensational view seeker or film fanatic who wants to experience the backdrop featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Malham also has a good circular route walk which shows off the village itself in just under an hour. Be sure to stop off at the National Park Centre for information and history on Malham - equally useful for a car park to visit Malham cove.
If you are attracted to a good old British festival then the town of Grassington is the place for you. Combining history, heritage and adventure there is plenty to keep you busy at all times of the year.
With the “Dickinson Festival” in December, the “Grassington Festival” and the “1940’s Weekend” in September, there is something to suit a whole variety of tastes. The town offers a fantastic selection of pubs serving traditional food and drinks – perfect for either the start or end of your walk or bike ride.
Independent retail shops are certainly an attraction, offering a selection of outdoor clothing shops and boutiques. For something more adventurous, take the ascent over Grassington moor to visit the Leadmining remains or make the most of the free Grassington folk museum to investigate the history village and surrounding areas.
Burnsall is a completely unspoilt village of natural beauty. It is the perfect base camp for outdoor lovers such as cyclists, walkers, nature lovers and fishing enthusiasts and also is the perfect place to soak up the typical Yorkshire village atmosphere.
For a day visit, then a picnic by the river looking out over the charming 5 arched bridge is a must. Feeling brave? Then join in with the amateur chaotic canoe races in summer or even tryout a quick paddle if the weather is fine.
Burnsall is a fishermans paradise. With bountiful trout and grayling fishing at your fingertips as well as ducks, kingfishers and moorhens swimming around, the place really is brimming with wildlife. From the village you can easily access Upper Warfedale, known as an iconic beauty spot within the Yorkshire Dales or Grimwith reservoir, another great place for leisure activities and water sports.