Barns near Appletreewick with wildlife watching

Camp on the wood-fringed riverside in this south Yorkshire Dales village on the Dales Way.

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Barns near Appletreewick with wildlife watching guide


Huddled within a swathe of dry-stone-walled pasture in the south of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Appletreewick could have been tailor-made for camping. It’s easy to reach from Skipton, though the nearest railway station feels utterly rural with its idyllic pub and clutch of fetching campsites along the wood-dotted wends of the River Wharfe. The hiking is attractive too, with the Dales Way passing through as it runs 80 miles across the finest Yorkshire Dales countryside between Ilkley and Bowness-on-Windermere in the Lake District. The gorgeous landscaped gardens at nearby Parcevall Hall are also worth a visit.

Where to go


Wharfedale, the dale within which Appletreewick sits, is partly—but not completely—within the national park. It’s a beguiling, verdant incursion into the Dales from the towns to the southeast, rising from Wetherby to Bolton Abbey, after which it enters the park and winds through villages like Appletreewick and Grassington. On your next camping trip, discover historic communities, cracking rural pubs, and grassy fields soaring to the high hills. Try the pretty pitches at Grassington and Kettlewell for starters.

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Britain’s third-biggest national park forms a large part of an impressive spread of protected countryside spanning from Yorkshire north to the Scottish border. This is a place of lofty, exposed moorland distinguished by the lush valleys dividing it. Appletreewick nestles in the south of the Yorkshire Dales near Skipton, one of the park’s key gateways, so you can continue exploring the Yorkshire Dales beyond Appletreewick around Malham. With its visitor centre and spectacular rock formations, it’s an excellent camping base.

Nidderdale AONB

Appletreewick not only hogs an enviable location within the Yorkshire Dales but also cosies up to another vast protected area immediately east, Nidderdale AONB. This 233-square-mile zone yields more of the Dales’ valley-divided moorland. It also boasts iconic beauty spots like Brimham Rocks’ wondrous rock formations, historic market towns, and stunning ruined abbeys. Campers should start in Nidderdale valley itself—great campsites can be found near the How Stean Gorge, 16 miles northeast of Appletreewick.

Forest of Bowland AONB

When is a forest not a forest?! In medieval times, a “forest” was any wild ground for hunting big game, not necessarily a tree-covered area. The Forest of Bowland is more the former, mostly lonely moors laced with fine hikes rising up 20 miles west of Appletreewick, beyond Gisburn Forest. For exploring the nearest part of the AONB, Gisburn Forest has good camping, either at Gisburn Forest Hub’s pop-up camping from June through August, or at sites just south.

When to go

April and May are entrancing for seeing birdlife and plantlife return to the Yorkshire Dales woods, but June  has to be top choice for a visit, when the region’s historic hay meadows are in full bloom and the Grassington Music and Arts Festival comes to Wharfedale. The heather on the high moors is at its most glorious in September, when often-dry weather and smaller crowds make for excellent hiking.

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