Swaledale offers fantastic walking for all abilities and the scenery is both beautiful and dramatic. Swaledale is renowned for its famous wildflower meadows, drystone walls and barns and wonderful walking along the River Swale.
The Kisdon Hill, Muker, Keld circular is a stunningly beautiful walk and features in The Ramblers’ Top 50 Walks in the UK.
The lovely Keld Waterfalls walk visits six waterfalls in a short radius around the village of Keld. Visit the Keld Resource Centre there to pick up the walking guide. The Centre also organises an excellent annual programme of guided walks – find out more at keld.org.uk
For great walking guides, the Dales Pack series 1 and 2 are brilliant A5 laminated guides with a plastic protector suitable for all weathers. To get your copy, go to www.walking-books.com
There are some excellent local walks around Muker that you can download from the Farmers Arms’ website at www.farmersarmsmuker.co.uk
Swaledale is on the long distance Coast to Coast and Pennine Way national trails – why not do a few sections during your holiday?
Cycling is hugely popular in Swaledale, especially following the 2014 Tour de France which passed right in front of our holiday cottage in Muker – an amazing sight! Why not challenge yourselves and retrace the wheels of the competitors along the Tour de France route?
The Dales Bike Centre at Fremington near Reeth are the local mountain bike experts. They can advise on the best routes and sell cycle route maps. They also offer guided tours, skills courses, bike hire and servicing. Their cafe sells the most amazing cakes – definitely worth burning some calories up cycling then treating yourselves! More information at www.dalesbikecentre.co.uk
Swaledale is a photographer’s paradise! The iconic view of Swaledale with its barns and wildflower meadows has graced many a publication – both local and national – and photographers are drawn here by the beauty of the area and the incredible wildlife.
Red Squirrel Photography
We are very lucky in the Yorkshire Dales to be home to the elusive red squirrels. They are not easy to see mind you, so why not book a day’s workshop with specialist photographer Paul Fowlie and learn how to take both static and action shots of these gorgeous animals. Paul also offers landscape and wildlife workshops. Full details at www.paulfowliephotography.co.uk
If you fancy getting out into the countryside and trying a new challenge, then local adventure company Alfresco Adventures offers a wide range of activities including climbing, abseiling, mountaineering, canoeing and kayaking. For more information, visit www.alfrescoadventures.co.uk
Swaledale provides a diverse range of habitats for birds and is therefore a great choice for keen bird watchers. Curlews and snipe – with their distinctive cries – are a magnificent sight to behold and lapwings are a common sight. Swallows nest in barns and sheds and the rivers attract wagtails, dippers, oyster catchers and kingfishers. If you are lucky, you may see woodpeckers or rarer treats such as Ring ouzels, tree pipits and crossbills.
For a real treat, take a trip to Malham Cove, where peregrine falcons – one of Britain’s most impressive birds of prey – have nested since 1993. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority run a viewpoint so you can see these wonderful birds along with many other species. The free viewpoint is open from April to August and staff and volunteers are on hand with telescopes to show you these magnificent birds and the wildlife of Malham Cove. More information at Malham National Park Centre.
At Swaledale House, we have had swallows, mistle thrushes, field sparrows and wrens nesting for the past few years – wonderful to observe!
Swaledale is a fabulous place for stargazing due to the lack of light pollution. The stars are truly dazzling and breathtaking. At Swaledale House, there are no street lights at all, so you just need to step outside and drink in the night skies!
Nearby Tan Hill Inn – the highest pub in Britain at 528 metres above sea level – is one of the first five Dark Sky Discovery Sites to be designated in the North Pennines Area of National Beauty. A great place for amateur and professional astronomers to stargaze, the area around Tan Hill offers panoramic sky views meaning that almost all the features in the northern hemisphere can be seen. On a clear night, all of the major constellations – including Orion – can be seen, and the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye. Tan Hill Inn also offers a welcoming base to discuss the latest astronomical news and sightings following an evening’s stargazing. Find out more at www.tanhillinn.co.uk
So pack your binoculars and telescopes and prepare to be dazzled!
Take a Trike Tour
The upper reaches of the River Swale offer over ten miles of great fishing. The area between Muker and Reeth is a particularly delightful stretch of river and the river is stocked annually by the Reeth and District Angling Club which issues permits to fish along several miles of river. The Club has access to five separate fishing beats on the river.
Fishing is for brown trout only – fly fishing is the most common method although other catching methods are allowed as directed by the club rules.
Day tickets are available from the Club – visit www.radac.org for more details.
There are lots of great places in Swaledale to go wild swimming, all within easy reach of our cottages.
Daniel Start’s Guidebook ‘Wild Swimming’ is a good place to start to find local spots or visit