Wensleydale, Swaledale and Nidderdale,dwell
Up in the North under mountain and fell
While Wharfedale and Airedale settle, more southern
Than the bleak bare uplands of remoter cousins.
Here, cottongrass, deergrass, heath-rush and sedge
Bow fuzzy heads by the chill water's edge
As tadpole, natterjack, newt, toad and frog
Swim, squirm and slither in the soft sphagnum bog.
Tall bullrush and reedmace, willow and flag
Wave in the wind by the ponds, near the crag
Of grey limestone and gritstone resisting the weather,
Topped russet and purple by bracken and heather.
There, buzzard, sparrowhawk, kestrel and kite
Soar in the sky, full feathered in flight
So mouse, vole and shrew shrink and cower from capture
By talon and claw of ravenous raptor.
Elderberry, whortleberry, bilberry and sloe
Are the berries for the birds in the white winter snow:
Yellowhammer, linnet, whinchat and shrike
High up on the fellside of Buckden Pike.
Tewit and curlew, sandpiper and snipe
Make music with their calls as they whirl, cry and pipe
While celandine, primrose and bluebell burst buds
On the banks of the beck and the wilds of the woods.
Sheep, Roughfell, Swaledale, Dalesbred and Lonk
Down by the river, where the grey geese honk,
Browse timothy, fescue, bent and Yorkshire fog,
Shepherded homewards by rough-coat collie dog.
Longhorns, Shorthorns, heifers and bull
Munch on the meadow grass till they are full
Where hemlock, dock, thistle, nettle and sorrel
Sway as the sun sets, gold, crimson and coral.
Grassington, Reeth, Skipton, Settle and Hawes
Nestle in the valleys beneath misty moors
Whose chapels and castles and abbeys tell tales
Of mystery and history in depths of the Dales.