The Yorkshire Dales
The Ribston Pippin is a late-season dessert apple, medium sized and varying in shape from round to oblong-conical. When it’s ripe, the apple has reddish stripes over gold skin and deep cream flesh. It has a rich, aromatic flavour, which can be quite acid. The apple takes its name from Ribston Hall, Knaresborough, Yorkshire. It is believed to have been raised in the early 1700s, from a pip brought from France by Sir Henry Goodricke. It was soon being grown in gardens and orchards all over the country, and is thought to be a parent of the Cox’s Orange Pippin, now the most important British dessert apple.
Where to stay
After a long walk up and down dale, somewhere with a hot bath and cosy bar is a necessity, and there are plenty to choose from.
Described as a ‘glorious spot for walkers’, the Brandymires Guest House (01969 667482) near Hawes boasts such fine views over the Wensleydale hills that the lack of a television is a positive blessing.
For town and country
To add a touch of urban polish, opt for Millgate House (01748 823571; www.millgatehouse.com), an elegant Georgian town house in Richmond, on the edge of the Dales.
For boutique-hotel lovers
If country-house hotels are your thing, try Yorebridge House (01969 652060; www.yorebridgehouse.co.uk), formerly a Victorian schoolmaster’s house, near Bainbridge, or The Burgoyne Hotel (01748 884292; www.theburgoyne.co.uk), a late-Georgian property in Reeth with a huge vista over Swaledale.
For historical splendour
For those in search of something quirky with a sense of history, look no further than the 18th-century Culloden Tower (01628 825925; www.landmarktrust.org.uk), situated on the edge of a steep slope above the River Swale in Richmond. There might be 66 stairs to climb to reach the bedroom at the top of this romantic octagonal tower, but surely there’s no finer spot from which to survey the Dales?
What to look for
Traditionally managed hay meadows-bursting with wildflowers such as wood cranesbill, buttercup, pignut and clover-provide a blaze of colour along the valley bottoms in summer. The rough grassland, blanket bog and great swathes of heather that cover much of the high ground offer the chance to catch a glimpse of curlews, snipe and redshanks among the cotton grass. Heather moorland, which transforms large areas in the east and north into a purple haze in August, is managed for grouse, but is also important for bilberry, cowberry, cloudberry, merlins, golden plovers and adders.