A very brief history of the Yorkshire Dales
The history of the Yorkshire Dales essentially begins with the ice age, since so many natural features are the result of erosion by glacier ice. The limestone, shale, sandstone and millstone grit laid down about 300 million years ago has been gradually weathered to create today's scenery.
Many archaeological treasures have been found showing where Romans built their straight roads across the hills and how the Danes and Norseman came and built settlements, whose names are still evoked in many place names.
The Normans built castles such as at Richmond and monks came and farmed great estates at Jervaulx and Fountains Abbey, building riches through sheep farming. They were the first to make cheese in Wensleydale.
Lead mining booked in the late eighteenth century and much of the landscape is still marked with vestiges of this less pastoral activity.
As this declined, residents had to turn again to farming, with most of the landscape providing grazing for sheep. The patchwork of dry stone walls and barns gradually developed as some land owners enclosed the fields for their livestock.
Agriculture is still an important part of the Yorkshire Dales, which are a living landscape but many supplement their income with today's growth industry: tourism, sharing this beautiful area with visitors.