Yorkshire Dales England Holidays

Inspirational cottage holidays in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales

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Visit a field of wild flowers in Muker, Yorkshire Dales


holiday cottage to rent near muker yorkshire dalesMuker Village is an exceedingly small hamlet of about 310 residents and is located in Swaledale (UK). Like so many of the miniscule settlements in the Dales, it does not provide much in the way of amusements for the tourist visiting the area. However, having stated that, it still attracts many visitors because, it is the gateway to many other areas of the Yorkshire Dales that tourists would love to explore. If you are seeking an exciting, active walking, rambling, cycling or pony trekking holiday, then most clearly this is the perfect place to be at.

Muker village is a traditional Dales village, with almost all of buildings constructed in the dark gunmetal stone. It has a beck (small spring) in the foreground known as the Straw Beck. Strawbeck is a tributary of the River Swale that it flows into at a short distance just slightly further away. Therefore, even before you have visited you can imagine it has inbuilt graphic image, that is so unique to the Dales, and one that is captured so often on postcards. 

There is a good choice of self-catering accommodation to rent by the week or for a few days, long enough for a walking holiday.  The choice of self-catering rentals includes holiday cottages, apartments, log cabins and houses for large walking groups.

Muker is an unusual name derived from a Norse settlement, and the Norse word "Mjor-aker" meaning "the narrow acre". The village parish includes the hamlets of Keld, Angram, Birkendale, West Stonesdale and Thwaite. It also is the site of Tan Hill Inn, described as the highest pub in England. Now that is a challenge and something to tick off on your 'to-do list'; have a drink at the highest pub in England.

Apart form the mesmerizing beauty of the landscape, Muker village is the earliest site showing evidence of Nordic occupation in and around the locality. Biological artefacts in the form of  bones of a human skeleton were discovered, with flints, on Muker Common earlier on in the 20th century. 

Further detailed perusal is indicative of a burial of dating back to the Bronze Age. With the land and earth being so prolific, especially with River Swale and the Straw Beck merging into each other, it is hardly surprising that there was a Viking post here. There is abundant meadow farmland, around here giving the Norse, the rare opportunity to make a living out of farming, instead of fueding all of the time. 

Hill farming has continued to be the basis of the economy in Muker, followed by tourism to the area as the second form of income. In the late 18th century and early 19th century, there was some lead mining in the area, but that has now disappeared. At this time, Muker was also a prominent nucleus for hand knitting. You can see the evidence of these industries reflected in the many cottages, workshops and other buildings built at the time when the mining industry was booming. 

Although the mining industry declined rapidly towards the latter part of the 19th century, its tourist sector experienced a massive surge in visitors to the area. Muker began to see an increasing number of visitors and holidaymakers from local areas around the UK. At present, despite the size of the village, it is one of the best places as a starting point for walks in the area. This is hardly surprising considering the fact that it has a vast number of charming country walking public footpaths in Upper Swaledale. 

From this vantage point, the intrepid rover will be delighted to see many of the traditional late 18th and early 19th century cottages, barns, outbuildings and drystone walls of Swaledale, indicative of the prosperity of the area. They are so unique and reflect the most distinctive feature of the landscape. 

Muker has another hypnotic and compelling feature – its flower-rich hay meadows around Muker that are of international importance, and are carefully protected. Farmers receive subsidies, which allows them to farm the land by traditional methods, without using synthetic fertilizers, that can ruin the crop. 

wild flowers in yorkshire dalesThe Hay Meadows is located in the vicinity of Muker are probably the most striking example of flower rich fields in the UK and are regarded as a national treasure. Wild flowers in this region are a rarity in this country and indicate years of careful management from the local Dales farmers. The wildflowers are harvested every year at the end of June to provide fodder for their livestock during the winter. There are many conservation groups, that help develop and care for these fields, and each year they attract many visitors who feast on their vivid beauty before the harvest. 

At present, there are twelve fields at Muker growing a wide range of wild flower varieties. These include species such as Cat’s Ear, Wood Crane’s Bill, Lady’s Mantle, Pignut and the prickly Thistle.

 There are two paths with wheel chair access, and the four are viewable, but they are not accessible by foot. To look at the fields the best way is to cross the Upper Swale at the obvious footbridge and view the carpet of wild flowers. Then traversing up the beautiful valley, before walking back over the bridging link for half a mile, and then going back to Muker.