National Character Area 22

Pennine Dales Fringe - Key Characteristics

  • Side slopes of Pennine Dales uplands, predominantly sloping down to the east, but with locally varied topography formed by several significant river valleys running from west to east, including the Wharfe, Washburn, Nidd, Ure, Swale and the broad vale of the Tees.

  • A transitional landscape between the Pennine uplands to the west and the low-lying fertile landscape of the Vale of York to the east; mainly pastoral in the west, with rough grazing on the moorland edge, merging into mixed farming, with arable on the lighter soils in the east.

  • A well-wooded landscape, with woodland along valleys, many copses and plantations on the side slopes, and hedges with hedgerow trees in the lowerlying arable areas.

  • Several historic parklands, with woodlands and veteran trees.

  • Field boundaries of drystone walls on higher ground and hedges in lower areas.

  • A generally tranquil and rural area, with a distinctly ancient character in some parts, with several small, historic market towns including Kirkby Malzeard, Middleham, Masham, Richmond and Barnard Castle, linked by a network of minor roads.

  • Vernacular buildings predominantly built of Millstone Grit, mingling with Magnesian Limestone in the east, with roofs of stone flags, Welsh slate and some pantiles, creating strong visual unity to rural settlements and farmsteads.

  • Many rivers, including the Tees, Ure, Nidd and Wharfe, forming important landscape features along with their broad, glacially widened valleys. Smaller rivers, such as the Burn, Laver, Kex Beck and the Skell flow through steep-sided valleys following courses cut by glacial meltwaters.

  • The well-wooded valley of the River Washburn has been dammed to create a series of reservoirs, and provides a popular recreation destination for those living in the Leeds conurbation.

  • Historically rich area with many parklands, abbeys and historic buildings, well visited by adjacent urban populations, as well as medieval and Roman earthworks.