The Yorkshire Dales National Park is not necessarily the easiest to photograph – but can certainly be as rewarding as anywhere and, when you find the right spots, the views are breathtaking. From the mountainous western edges, to the limestone southern regions, right through to the gritstone of the east and historic mining to the north – the Yorkshire Dales has something for everyone and a vast number of opportunities for someone visiting at any time of year. With half of the dales running east-west and half north-south, there is ample opportunity to find the right angle for the light throughout the seasons, with plenty of locations to choose from. Some areas you’re free to roam, others it’s best to stick to paths – but with a bit of common sense and a small amount of will to explore, it’s easy to find spots off the beaten track. This guide is by no means an exhaustive list of locations, but hopefully it will put you in the right places to have a look around and explore from there.
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The western reaches of the region are certainly worth a visit, particularly around the Three Peaks area (consisting of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent). The landscape over there is by far the most dramatic, with hills towering above the rare limestone pavements and plenty of foreground interest with lone hawthorn trees. In this guide you’ll find a number of locations to make the most of these views, from both low down and up on top of the mountains themselves, but there’s always more to discover. If you look carefully enough, you’ll even find a number of hidden caves and potholes which are worth visits in their own right, even if hard to photograph.
Whenever out in the countryside in the UK, you can be secure in the knowledge that it’s a generally safe place to be as long as you take the usual precautions regarding fields with cattle in them. The majority of the Dales consists of moorland and sheep though, so few problems should be encountered regarding farm animals. Even at night, as long as you bring a head torch you should be fine, just be careful of hidden holes in the ground especially in the limestone regions of the west and south. Key items to bring along with you are waterproofs, good walking boots with some ankle support, a head torch and a couple of spare layers. It may look warm and dry when you set off but when you reach the higher areas the temperature can drop by a good 10 degrees and then be subject to strong winds on top of that – so when standing around waiting for the light you’re almost guaranteed to get cold. It’s worth carrying the extra layers.