When Alf Wight (James Herriot) went on his rounds to the farms and homesteads in his beloved North Yorkshire he was often to be found in one of the many Dales in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It must have given him inspiration for his writing as he literally went up hill and down dale in his Austin Seven car which was in that most famous ‘splash scene’ in the BBC TV series All Creatures Great and Small. Journey through Wensleydale and Swaledale and many of the other Dales to see first-hand some of the stunning Yorkshire Dales countryside, market towns and famous historical landmarks that James Herriot loved.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park is an inspirational place that has such stunning valleys, meadows, moorland, miles of drystone walls, rivers and streams, field barns dotted across the landscape plus limestone formations, caves and waterfalls and it’s a great place to see birds, animals, and flowers.
On the All Creatures Great and Small Trail, you’ll find filming locations in the Yorkshire Dales National Park from both the original 1978 to 1990 BBC TV series and the new Channel 5 TV remake. The settings have expanded Herriot Country deep into the western parts of the Yorkshire Dales where scenes such as the Buttertubs Pass in Richmondshire are given full exposure. Grassington in Wharfedale was the location for filming of the fictional Darrowby, (based on the real town of Thirsk where Alf Wight practiced and where you will find the original home and surgery now the World of James Herriot) so the villages and countryside around the area give visitors even more Herriot Country locations to enjoy.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park has so many things to do for visitors. It’s stunning scenery and natural attractions continue to inspire people and it’s perfect for walking holidays, cycling enthusiasts (The Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire routes are well travelled here) and there is an array of castles, farm parks, abbeys, and other attractions to visit in the countryside and pretty market towns.
The Dales Countryside Museum at Hawes is housed in an imaginative conversion of the Hawes old railway station and is owned and managed by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. It shares the stories of the people, places of the Yorkshire Dales past and present from prehistoric times to the present day. Fully wheelchair accessible it has many themes of archaeology, lead mining, knitting, textiles, farming, school days, home life religion, transport and it holds throughout the year, events, demonstrations, and exhibitions.
Agricultural shows, festivals, galas are held in the Yorkshire Dales over several days or weeks every year and when you see the Darrowby Show on All Creatures Great and Small when James Herriot is a judge, you get a good idea of what these events have been like in the past and continue to be part of the country life of the Yorkshire Dales.
When James Herriot judged where he should live on becoming a vet, he made the right decision to make his life’s work in the Yorkshire Dales, now so well known around the world as part of Herriot Country thanks to his enduring writing skills.