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Tour de Yorkshire

25 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 03 July 2014

With the whole of Yorkshire gearing up to welcome the pelotons of the Tour de France, Helen Mark heads for the scene of Le Grand Depart in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Travelling at a somewhat slower pace than the Yellow Jerseys, she soaks up some of the history of this beauty spot in 'God's Own County'.

The first stop is to Aysgarth Falls, a cascading flight of tumbling waterfalls carved out by the River Ure. National Parks Ranger Cathy Bergs tells us about the geology of the 'triple falls' and some of the many creatures which call it home, and lets us in on the frantic preparations being made for the coming onslaught of people for the Tour de France.

From there, it's 'on yer bike!' with Gia Margolis and the Wheel Easy cycling club - "a club for those who don't wear lycra", for a trip to the infamous Buttertubs Pass. One of the toughest climbs on the UK legs of the Tour route, Gia explains what makes it such a haven for cyclists and tries to convince Helen that the impossible climb is worth it!

At the top, Helen peers into the 20 metre deep limestone potholes which dot the countryside - the 'Buttertubs' themselves. Historic Environment Officer Robert White helps us separate fact from fiction, and tells us about the history of lead mining in the area.

But while the mining industry might be consigned to history, the mines themselves are not! Our final stop is at Hard Level Gill Mine, where we meet local heroes Pete Roe and Tony Harrison. They are part of a caving group who delve beneath the Dales to explore the ancient mine-shafts, mapping them and repairing them. We venture inside the mouth of one shaft, and imagine life lived kilometres below the surface of the beautiful Dales.

Produced in Bristol by Emily Knight.


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