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Visit the Dales


Limestone features

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is famous for its classic limestone or 'karst' scenery. The hard grey rock was laid down at the bottom of tropical oceans millions of years ago and is actually made up of the calcium-rich skeletons and shells of billions of tropical sea-creatures. Their fossils can easily be discovered if you know where to look. Our iconic limestone pavements are flat areas of rock scraped bare by ancient glaciers and dissolved away by rain water over the thousands of years since. Cracks called grykes are home to special plants in their damp dark depths. The slabs above are known as grykes. Here we've listed the National Park's most famous limestone features, but drop into your nearest National Park Centre to find out about others.

Attermire Scar

Close to Settle is the dramatic limestone crags of Attermire Scar. The white rock contrasts strongly with the surrounding vivid green grassland.

Colt Park Wood

Colt Park is an unusual area of woodland. It covers an expanse of limestone pavement with its deep fissures.

Elbolton Hill

One of a series of mysterious conical hills lying along the side of the valley running from Grassington toward Skipton.

Gordale Scar

Gordale Scar is one of the most dramatic sights in the Yorkshire Dales, with soaring walls of limestone and the beck crashing through a cleft of rock.

Kilnsey Crag

The overhanging crag of Kilnsey is one Wharfedale's most dramatic sights. It is a popular place for climbers to test their skills.

Malham Cove

The 70 metre (230ft) high, gently curving cliff of Malham Cove has been amazing visitors for centuries.

Oxenber and Wharfe Woods

Oxenber and Wharfe Woods are most famous for the riot of wild flowers that can be seen in spring. Popular walks pass through from Austwick and Feizor.

Scar Close

Scar Close is a large bare areas of limestone pavement that lies beneath the summit of Ingleborough.

Southerscales Nature Reserve

Southerscales is a National Nature Reserve on the slopes of Ingleborough. It is best known for its extensive areas of limestone pavement.


An amazing limestone landscape of bare rock on the lower slopes of Ingleborough.

Troller's Gill

A hidden limestone gorge close to Parcevall Hall - and the setting for the legend of the Barguest.

Twisleton Scars

Twisleton Scars a long series of limestone crags on the side of Whernside. It is a popular climbing area.

Winskill Stones Nature Reserve

The Winskill Nature Reserve lies above the village of Stainforth. It is home to an amazing section of limestone pavement.