The Yorkshire Dales Vs The North York Moors Top Trumps

Following on from last weeks blog on the North York Moors we thought, what about the Yorkshire Dales, we can't forget about the Dales.

If you are thinking of visiting one of the famous national parks here in Yorkshire but are struggling to decide which is for you, then perhaps an old fashioned game of Top Trumps will help.

(Scores are out of 100)


The Yorkshire Dales – Showcasing almost endless mountains and deep glacial valleys, crowned with beautifully sculpted limestone scars, heather moorland and barren limestone pavements. Spectacular waterfalls cut through the rock as water races its way down the hillside to the rivers below. An extraordinary 7000 miles of dry stone wall, dividing the landscape into small manageable meadows like a patchwork quilt. Charming little cottages and farmhouses scatter the landscape and every few miles or so you can discover a beautiful stone built village or town. Landscapes stretch for miles with views all the way out to the moors and coast of Yorkshire.

Score 92

IMGP5645.jpgMoors - Vast swathes of iconic heather moorland interspersed with glacial valleys. Isolated farms surrounded by well-tended meadows, divided by both dry stone walls and hedgerows. Views that stretch across the Vale of York and toward the Yorkshire Dales are some of the local Yorkshire folks favourite, and it is possible to see to the power stations that power Yorkshire up to 50 miles away. The moors boundary includes around 30 miles of coastline featuring the country’s highest cliffs, fantastic beaches and quaint old fishing towns on the edge of Yorkshire. The mining, over the centuries, has shaped much of the landscape. Iron stone, alum, potash and coal have all been extracted from the area.

Score 90


Dales Wins 92 - 90

Myth and Legend

Dales –The Barghest was a ghostly black dog with blood red eyes whose appearance foretold death of a loved one or oneself.

Score 88

Moors – One of the greatest mythological characters has long been associated with Nottingham, however legend has it that Robin Hood beginnings actually started in Yorkshire. There is even a quaint fishing town named after him. Dracula is told to have been shipwrecked on the harbour walls of Whitby, and recuperated at its Abbey. Hobs can be useful or mischievous. The Legendary Saltersgate Inn and it’s story linked to the devil. Pirates and their infamous smuggling. Finally, the most terrifying, is the story of the Goathland Gytrash, a fire breathing goat-human hybrid that haunted the village of Goathland.

Score 91

Moors Wins 91 - 88


Dales – Home to some of Yorkshires most historic Abbeys and Castles, 100’s of historical sites line the landscape, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey, as well as Jervaulx Abbey and Bolton Priory. Isolated farms known for raising sheep and dairy cattle, lead mining and ancient villages and towns

Score 97

Moors – The North York Moors have an astonishing 13000 archaeological sites, more than any other area in the country. Made up of 3000 Bronze Age burial mounds, over 100 stone crosses, the earliest of which dates back to the early 7th century and ancient standing stones. Although it is not quite in the boundary of the park, the earliest known permanent human camp is around the area od the North York Moors, the inhabitants certainly exploited the moorland plateau. There are several castles and many religious sights, including Rievaulx Abbey and Whitby Abbey, as well the oldest Saxon Crypt in Yorkshire. Farming, iron ore mining, fishing and port industries have been going on for centuries.

Score 100

Moors Win 100 - 97

TV or Film, Art and literature

Dales – There are not many book series or TV shows that have travelled the world as All Creatures Great and Small, the charming tales of James Herriot, a local vet living and working in the Yorkshire Dales. Robin Hood Prince of Thieves was a smash hit film in the 90’s and used several locations in the Dales. The witty and heart warming story of the Calendar Girls was filmed in Wharfedale. There is little doubt that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings landscapes are at least in some part inspired by the Yorkshire Dales. Famous artists that painted the Dales include Turner and Wainwright amongst many more.

Score 90

Moors – The television series, Heartbeat, was watched by 20 million people in its prime, a third of the nation as well as reaching popularity in Australia and Scandinavia amongst other countries. It also spawned the popular spin off The Royal. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone brought filming to Goathland, using the iconic North York Moors Railway train station as Hogsmeade. Bram Stoker was inspired during a stay in Whitby, bordering the North York Moors National Park, to create Draculas arrival into England via Whitby Harbour and the great Gothic Abbey. Many artists have painted the landscape of the Moors, including Turner.

Score 84

Dales wins 90 - 84


Dales –There are 7000 miles of dry stone walls within 841 square miles. The highest point reaches 736 meters. The Yorkshire Dales National Park was established in 1952, therefore younger than the moors, but does attract more than 12 million visitors per year.

Score 89

Moors – There are 3000 miles of dry stone walls within a smaller area of land of 554 square miles. It is much lower than the Dales topping out at 454m. It has been a national park since 1952 and attracts around 9 million visitors per year. It does have 13000 archaeological sites, more than the Dales and the iconic heather moorland covers a 3rd of the area of the park.

Score 82

Dales Wins 89 - 82


Dales - A beautiful 1 hour drive from York through the plains and Vale of York, the Dales are located in the middle of the county along the back bone of England.

Score 81

Moors – Within 35 minutes drive from York, you can find yourself within the boundary of the North York Moors National Park. The Park has a 30 mile stretch of coastline on its eastern flank.

Score 89

Moors Wins 89 - 81


Yorkshire Dales

North York Moors




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