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English countryside – The Yorkshire dales, Hawes

One of the more talked about places I had heard about in England was the Lake district, with huge open countryside, beautiful waterfalls, wildlife and filled with history. I went there about a year ago in January where we were treated with picturesque snowy coated landscapes, which made for a perfect trip. It took me by surprise when I visited the Yorkshire Dales, because all these things were there too, just less crowded, even on a long Easter weekend with the gleaming hot sun.

We stayed in a cottage in Hawes, Roofstones. It was a beautiful 3 bedroom, 3 bathrooms, kitchen, entertainment area and lounge. There was plenty of parking, where we left the car and an easy walk into town with many places of interest to visit. Another great feature was the fact it was pet friendly, though there were a few simple rules like no dogs upstairs, or on furniture etc, it was great for a pet, our only concern was that the garden/ barbeque area was not fenced off and therefore pets need to be supervised or on a lead at all times. The cottage was rather private, being on a farm with sheep, with a few other cottages next door and further up a caravan area.

There were two main walks we did that can be done in a few hours (approximately 2-3 hours at a leisurely pace) and possible for the whole family to do. One was to the waterfall called Aysgill Force, a scenic route consisting of some roads and some fields of sheep leading up to a waterfall in a more rustic small woodland. This is a good route to go back on yourself if you are not doing a much further walk as the way back consists of mostly tarmac. The second waterfall, Hardraw Force Waterfall is a dramatic drop from cliffs above with the opportunity of walking behind the waterfall, this path behind the waterfall is for the bit more adventurous, as it is small, wet and uneven. At Hardraw Force has is a small entry fee that is worth knowing about.

Pubs, Hawes is far from short of pubs and other places to find some food or drink. We went to the Crown, it had plenty of space all around with a lovely outside area at the back that didn’t seem to be too well known, which was a great treat with a busy sunny Easter weekend. Before this we did the Wensleydale cheese factory, though I am not a lover of cheese, I found it fascinating watching the process to make cheese which left me inspired to try making my own one day. They have a small museum and kids area with a few ways how cheese was made years ago, even including Wallace and Gromit! There is also a section where you can taste the different Wensleydale cheeses.

On a further trip out we decided to visit White scar caves, roughly 30min drive from Hawes. This cave system is famous for being the longest show cave in the UK. The most beautiful part was when the lights went off and the black light lit up the straw stalactites that are luminescent under UV lighting, I wasn’t expecting this and was a magical setting, making the low ceiling, tight squeezes and dull coloured cave very special.

One of my personal highlights of the trip was seeing a Tawny owl being attacked by a black bird, whose 3 fledglings I spotted the day before in a nest on the side of the cottage. After closer inspection this owl didn’t look very healthy. We contacted a few people who knew what to do and it was sent off to the vet, we are not sure about the end result, but one can only ever hope for the best, and can help were we can. It was still an incredible experience seeing a wild owl up close, with a protective black bird doing its fatherly duties.

 

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