While most of the Dales are named after theis principal rivers, Wensleydale takes its name from the village of Wensley and it’s a place which has a deep sense of heritage and where the ancestry of many families can be traced back centuries.
It should probably come as no surprise then that Wensleydale was the home of one of Yorkshire’s most famous clans, the Metcalfes. Records show they were living in the area as early as the 14th century and for 500 years remained one of the county’s most prominent families with Sir James Metcalfe a captain in the army which fought with King Henry V in the battle of Agincourt in 1415.
Stretching some 25 miles, Wensleydale also boasts a number of claims to fame. It is home to the shortest river in England – the River Bain, which links Semerwater to the River Ure just 900ft away – and the highest unbroken waterfall.
Hardraw Force, which can be accessed through the Green Dragon pub, attracts a steady stream of visitors and was featured in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. There are equally impressive waterfalls at West Burton and Askrigg.
Recently, Wensleydale welcomed its newest residents when a group of rare hazel dormice were released back into the wild. It had taken months of planning and the combined expertise of a small army of conservationists and zoologists, but last month 38 of the tiny creatures were brought back to a corner of the Yorkshire Dales where they were last thrived a century ago.
Numbers have been in steep decline to the point in recent years owing to the eradication of the woodlands and hedgerows where they lived. The exact location of the dormices’ new home is being kept secret, but it is hoped that come the autumn the population will have at least doubled and possibly tripled.
Technical details: Nikon D4, 80-200mm Nikkor, 800th sec @ f8, 400asa