Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Things to do and not to do in the Yorkshire Dales with kids.

Spent 26th July to 9th August in the Yorkshire Dales on a family holiday, we stayed in a small cottage between Hubberholme and Buckden at the top of the valley of the river Wharfe. Always nice to get a dose of the Uplands even if the birding in the Dales can be a little slow at times.
Grange Cottage near Hubberholme [left of picture]
This is an area that I know pretty well from childhood holidays and somewhere that we have visited several times with our own two young boys [aged 2 and 5]. So from the perspective of a family that likes the outdoors and wildlife here are some thoughts on things to do and maybe not do.

River Wharfe at Hubberholme

Six things to do
Go to Bolton Abbey its brilliant, great coffee and cake in the cafe, lovely buggy accessible riverside walks, pebbly beaches from which to skim stones and generally mess around in the river Wharfe and especially in the spring some great birds including Dipper, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Wood Warbler, Mandarin Duck, Grey Wagtail etc.
Stone circle, Langstrothdale
Visit the inspirational Chris and Fiona Clark at Nethergill Farm just south of Hawes and learn about how they are linking Farming the Environment and People, enjoy one of their home made flapjacks, see the rare white shorthorn cattle, take a walk around the farm, or perhaps stay in one of their holiday flats.
White Shorthorn, Nethergill Farm
Walk south alongside the river Wharfe from Kettlewell along one side of the river as far as the stepping stones and then come back along the opposite bank, a great stretch of river for Dippers and Kingfishers and a nice length for small kids, no good for buggy's though.
Upper reaches of River Wharfe
Drive over to Bolton Castle and find your way through the maze or wander the battlements.

Bolton Castle and maze
Catch fish and Crayfish in the River Wharfe, you can do this pretty much anywhere.

Signal Crayfish, River Wharfe

Go to Malham, enjoy the well made path that takes you out to Malham Cove where in spring and summer you can look through the RSPB telescopes at the nesting Peregrines and wander why there are three times as many nesting in London as manage to breed in the Dales. If you have the time and energy walk up the steps on the side of the cove and across to Goredale Scar and back down into Malham where you could try out the Lister Arms for lunch.

One to maybe avoid

We went to Eureka the national children's museum in Halifax and were disappointed by the long and badly managed queues to get in and to eat, the crowded exhibition space and word heavy exhibits, an expensive mistake.

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