The valley of Nidderdale stretches from the village of Ripley up to the small scenic hamlet of Middlesmoor which commands a stunning view down the River Nidd.
Taking its name from a Celtic word meaning ‘bright’ or ‘brilliant’, this dale is aptly named.
The Nidd continues beyond Middlesmoor to the wild fells surrounding the reservoirs of Anagram and Scar House where the valley of Nidderdale really begins, catching water from the slopes of Great Whernside.
The rich and varied countryside of the dale is the result of 100,000 years of glacial movement carving deep ‘v’ shaped valleys into the landscape, followed by countless generations working the land in industries including textiles, mining, quarrying, farming and the supply of water – each of these activities has left a distinctive mark on the scenery.
The reservoirs tell a story of early 19th century industry overflowing from nearby Bradford, which they supply with drinking water.
The remaining mill buildings provide reminders of a once vigorous local flax industry (making linen).
The tell-tale signs of the two railways which once stretched the length of the valley, hark back to a time when the sounds of steam locomotives could be heard across the surrounding hills.
Though now long lost, the railway bed can still be followed on foot in many places and station buildings are easily recognisable to this day.
For those merely seeking the peaceful escape of the rural surroundings, the idyllic villages of Nidderdale provide a more gentle sense of exploration with short woodland strolls and riverside ambles, or even the longer challenges of the multiday excursions of the Nidderdale Way or Six Dales Trail and spontaneous exploration offered by access land.