Coverdale (dale)

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View of Coverdale looking towards Melmerby
Coverdale is located in North Yorkshire
Location within North Yorkshire
OS grid referenceSD055825
Civil parish
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtDL8
PoliceNorth Yorkshire
FireNorth Yorkshire
List of places
54°15′04″N 1°54′07″W / 54.251°N 1.902°W / 54.251; -1.902Coordinates: 54°15′04″N 1°54′07″W / 54.251°N 1.902°W / 54.251; -1.902

Coverdale is a dale in the far east of the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, England. It takes its name from the River Cover, a tributary of the River Ure. The dale runs south-west from the eastern end of Wensleydale to the dale head at a pass, known as Park Rash Pass,[1] between Great Whernside to the south and Buckden Pike to the north. It is accessible by a single track road, which runs the length of the dale and over the pass to Kettlewell in Wharfedale.[2][3] Speight suggests that the name derives from the Anglo-Saxon Cofa-Dal which means Cave-Dale (in part due to the many caverns in the dale) or it may derive from Kofur which means Arrow; an allusion to the swiftness of the water in the dale.[4]


An abbey was founded at Coverham in the 14th century by Ralph, son of Robert Lord of Middleham. The order that it belonged to was Premonstratensian (or White Canons) and was formally dissolved in 1536. Whilst some of the ruins are still extant, it is not open to the general public.[5][6]

In the 18th century, the road through Coverdale from Kettlewell to Middleham was used as the route of coaches between London and Richmond. The route came north through Halifax, Keighley, Skipton and Cracoe as part of its 251-mile (404 km) journey.[7]

The valley gives its name to a variant of Yorkshire Dales cheese, produced at the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes. Coverdale cheese is of the same general texture and flavour as Wensleydale, but thought by some to be slightly sourer and therefore possessing greater 'edge'.[8]

The River Cover meets its confluence with the River Ure at the hamlet of Coverbridge which consists of Clarkson's farm and the Coverbridge Pub, an ancient travellers inn on the road from Jervaux Abbey to Middleham.[9] The Coverbridge Pub has at least two claims to fame including having been the hiding place of monks who kept alive the recipe of Wensleydale cheese during the sacking of Jervaux Abbey by troops loyal to King Henry VIII, and, the scene of the first formally recorded game of cricket in 1706. In 2006 the Coverbridge Cricket Festival celebrated the 300th anniversary in a massive spectacle of cricket supported by the Red Arrows and a spitfire and Hurricane of the RAF with musical support provided by the band of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. A Coverbridge team of dalesmen played the visiting Awali Camels team on tour from the Kingdom of Bahrain.[10]


  • Braithwaite Hall, a 17th century farmhouse that was built in 1667. It has been let out to tenant farmers who also mined coal and quarried limestone in the surrounding area.[11][12]
  • Forbidden Corner, a series of tunnels, caves, grottoes and walled gardens that join together to form a 3 dimensional maze.[13]



  1. ^ Yorkshire Dales National Park website: Kettlewell Archived 7 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Coverdale". Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  3. ^ "98" (Map). Wensleydale & Upper Wharfedale. 1:50,000. Landranger. Ordnance Survey. 2016. ISBN 9780319261965.
  4. ^ Speight 1897, p. 311.
  5. ^ "The ancient parish of Coverham". Genuki. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  6. ^ Historic England. "Coverham Abbey Premonstratensian monastery and precinct including Holy Trinity Church and medieval bridge (1015725)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  7. ^ Speight 1897, p. 308.
  8. ^ "Coverdale". Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  9. ^ "The Cover Bridge Inn". Archived from the original on 24 October 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  10. ^ Hickling, Michael (27 July 2006). "Bahrain restarts play at village ground". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  11. ^ "Braithwaite Hall Overview". National Trust. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Braithwaite Hall". Out of Oblivion. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  13. ^ Bagshaw, Mike (2014). "14.Coverdale". Yorkshire Dales Slow Travel. Chalfont St Peter: Bradt. pp. 130–131. ISBN 978-1-84162-549-2.


  • Speight, Harry (1897). Romantic Richmondshire; being a complete account of the history, antiquities and scenery of the picturesque valleys of the Swale and Yore. E Stock. OCLC 7241488.

External links[edit]

Media related to Coverdale at Wikimedia Commons