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The Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

    The Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) forms the south eastern part of the Yorkshire Dales

Sitting between Wharfedale and Harrogate, the AONB is contains some of the most beautiful countryside Yorkshire has to offer.

The landscape and valleys have been moulded down the centuries by the practices of agriculture, mining, quarrying, textiles and water provision as well as the formidable power of the pre-dissolution monasteries. 

The result is a complex historic environment with a great variety of man-made landscape features to complement the natural landmarks which already give the area such character.

What makes up the Nidderdale AONB

Whilst the central feature is the long, majestic dale of the River Nidd, the AONB stretches far beyond the valley of Nidderdale and its central town of Pateley Bridge.

The western side is occupied by a remote and wild gritstone landscape with heather moorland that is important for wildlife and home to some of the most famous grouse shoots in the country.  

In contrast the eastern part of the AONB features a softer, more pastoral landscape with rolling farmland, traditional hay meadows rich in wildlife and sheltered river valleys.

This part of the AONB is scattered with historic parks and gardens such as Hackfall Woods and Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal World Heritage Site.

To the south is the Washburn Valley with four beautiful yet distinctive reservoirs and picturesque stone built villages.


To the north you will find a rambling landscape with strong farming traditions, often referred to as Mashamshire, after the iconic dales town it surrounds, Masham.

Map of Nidderdale AONB

Whichever part of the Nidderdale AONB you are in you will find a warm welcome with pubs serving local ales and tea rooms offering delicious homemade cakes and scones.

There are welcoming Yorkshire Dales hotels and cottages from which to base your visit and in which to relax after a day of exploration.

The AONB Team

The AONB is managed by a dedicated team working on behalf of those who live and work within its boundaries, visitors to the area and the wider community.

Their primary purpose is to conserve and enhance the special qualities of the area whilst taking into consideration the social and economic needs of local people, and meeting the demand for responsible enjoyment of the countryside.

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