Map and geographical definition of the Yorkshire Dales
The area which is broadly known as the Yorkshire Dales includes the countryside lying generally to the north of the towns of Settle, Skipton, Ilkley and Otley, bordered to the south and the west by the A65 trunk road and the M6, and bordered to the east by Harrogate and Knaresborough, the A61, Ripon, and the A6108 / B6268 / A1 (running along the Vale of Mowbray) up to Richmond near the end of Swaledale. While the northern boundary of the national park stops just beyond Swaledale, historical definitions of the "Yorkshire" dales area extend beyond the Stainmore Gap as far north as Teesdale and the A66 / B6277 (thus including countryside which was part of Yorkshire prior to the 1974 local government reorganisation).
A large part of the historical dales region has been designated either as national park, or as areas of outstanding natural beauty (e.g. the upper parts of Nidderdale and Teesdale - which both fall outside the national park's official boundary). [N.B. Despite the protection which these designations have been intended to provide there are still commercial pressures and environmental threats to the dales - including large scale quarrying operations which are still allowed to take place even within the boundaries of the national park.]
[N.B. The above map appears by kind courtesy of Google Maps.]