Coordinates: 54°12′14″N 2°08′02″W / 54.204°N 2.134°W / 54.204; -2.134
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Yockenthwaite – A Yorkshire Dales hamlet in Langstrothdale

54°12′14″N 2°08′02″W / 54.204°N 2.134°W / 54.204; -2.134 Langstrothdale is a scenic valley in the Yorkshire Dales in North Yorkshire, England. The uppermost course of the River Wharfe runs through it, but Wharfedale does not begin until the Wharfe meets Cray Gill, downstream of Hubberholme.[1] The name Langstrothdale derives from Old English and translates as 'long marsh' or 'marshy ground'.[2]

The dale was first colonised by Anglians in the seventh century, with Norse invaders arriving later.[3] In Norman times, many of the isolated settlements were allowed to remain, but were prevented from expanding by an arcane ruling known as the 'Forest Law'.[4] At that time, Langstrothdale was well forested, and the upper northern part of the dale (which is now moorland) was a royal hunting forest known as Langstrothdale Chase[5] or as the 'Forest of Langstroth'.[6]

The dale became part of the lands owned by the Clifford family and in 1604, due to the then Earl of Cumberland's 'extravagances', the lands were sold to pay off his debts. This allowed many Dalesfolk to purchase their own farmsteads.[6]

In the age before mass transportation, the road through the dale was part of a packhorse route from Lancaster to Newcastle upon Tyne.[7] Previous to this, it had been a monastic route that came over from Ribblesdale into Langstrothdale. The current road westwards through the dale is not a through route to vehicles, ceasing to be a metalled road at High Greenfield (SD830792).[8] The other branch of the road through the dale turns northwards at Beckermonds, to go through Oughtershaw and over Fleet Moss into Sleddale.[9] The long-distance paths, a Pennine Journey, and the Dales Way both traverse the dale.[10][11]

The largest conifer forest in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Greenfield Plantation, was created in upper Langstrothdale between 1968 and 1979. The forest (including a second adjoining plantation known as Cam), covers an area of 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares), and was made publicly accessible with 7.5 miles (12 km) of bridleways in 2022.[12][13][14] Greenfield Plantation was designated as a red squirrel reserve in 2007, and a culling programme for grey squirrels has seen them all but eradicated from the upper dale.[15]



  1. ^ "OL30" (Map). Yorkshire Dales Northern & Central Area. 1:25,000. Explorer. Ordnance Survey. 2016. ISBN 9780319263358.
  2. ^ Ekwall, Eilert (1960). The concise Oxford dictionary of English place-names (4 ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 287. ISBN 0-19-869103-3.
  3. ^ Scholes, Ron (2011). Yorkshire Dales. Ashbourne: Horizon Press. p. 104. ISBN 9781843065081.
  4. ^ Porter, Lindsey; Hanks, Martyn (1997). Yorkshire Dales & Moors : youth hosteller's walking guide (1 ed.). Ashbourne: Landmark. p. 104. ISBN 1-901522-41-5.
  5. ^ Speight 1900, p. 499.
  6. ^ a b Speight 1900, p. 491.
  7. ^ "Restoration saves ruined farm". Craven Herald. 29 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  8. ^ Wright, Geoffrey Norman (1985). Roads and trackways of the Yorkshire Dales. Ashbourne: Moorland Publishing. p. 48. ISBN 0861901231.
  9. ^ "OL30" (Map). Yorkshire Dales - Northern & Central Area. 1:25,000. Explorer. Ordnance Survey. 2016. ISBN 978-0-319-26335-8.
  10. ^ "AW's 1938 route Day 1 – A Pennine Journey". Retrieved 6 March 2024.
  11. ^ Speakman, Colin (1983). The Dales Way: from Ilkley to Windermere by riverside path. Lancaster: Dalesman Books. p. 43. ISBN 0852067100.
  12. ^ Court, I. R. (July 2020). "Greenfield Red Squirrel Refuge Report 2020" (PDF). p. 5. Retrieved 6 March 2024.
  13. ^ Lee, John Anthony (2015). Yorkshire Dales. London: William Collins. p. 95. ISBN 9780007503698.
  14. ^ "Public access created in Greenfield Forest : Yorkshire Dales National Park". Retrieved 6 March 2024.
  15. ^ Court, I. R. (July 2020). "Greenfield Red Squirrel Refuge Report 2020" (PDF). p. 4. Retrieved 6 March 2024.