Wensleydale is a dale (from the Norse word for a valley), in North Yorkshire, containing the River Ure. The river flows down from Garsdale Head in Cumbria, where it is formed by the confluence of various becks, eastward into Yorkshire. (Although the upper bit appears, by inspection of an Ordnance Survey map, to be called Mossdale.) It passes through the town of Hawes, past the village of Bainbridge and the town of Aysgarth, and the village of Wensley, which gives the dale its name. It then turns south-east, past Middleham, with its famous castle, to Masham, home of Theakston's and the Black Sheep Brewery. Beyond here, the 'dale' apellation is lost, but the Ure eventually flows through Ripon and joins the Swale, shortly after which the combined river becomes known as the River Ouse.

Wensleydale is a beautiful area to visit, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It's one of the longest Yorkshire Dales, and one of the few not to be named after its river. Look out for Nordic place names in this area; Yorkshire was the heart of Scandinavian England.

Wensleydale Cheese is a white, crumbly cheese, more moist than Cheshire or Lancashire. It is available in normal, smoked, cranberry, ginger and other varieties, but most of these are purely novelties. The original green-waxed Wensleydale is the true Yorkshire cheese.