Yorkshire is one of the most beautiful areas in Great Britain. Here, vast areas of the unspoiled countryside are protected by two National Parks and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust presently manages ninety-five sites across the county, and the RSPB administers several bird sanctuaries. Public footpaths and bridleways provide access to some of the best recreational walking and pony trekking in England. Other pastimes such as angling, caving, climbing, cycling and are also enjoyed regularly throughout the county.
Wherever you roam, the scenery delights, the variety of landscape includes limestone scars, steep-sided valleys, heather-clad moorland, swift flowing rivers and plunging waterfalls. The North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast is 36 miles long and stretches from Saltburn down to Scalby Mills near Scarborough.
Yorkshire has 2,300 scheduled ancient monuments and around 32,000 listed buildings. It has over 200 museums including the National Railway Museum in York, the National Coal Mining Museum for England in Wakefield and The National Media Museum in Bradford.
If Yorkshire were an independent country, it would have finished twelfth on the league table in the 2012 Olympics, gaining 7 Golds, 2 Silvers and 3 Bronze. Athletes include the Brownlee Brothers, Alistair and Jonathan took gold and silver respectively, Jessica Ennis, who competed in the Heptathlon and Nicola Adams, the first woman to win an Olympic boxing title.
The first stage of the 2014 Tour de France started from Leeds Town Hall and passed through 120 miles (190 km) of gorgeous North Yorkshire countryside, including the splendid Pennine section of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, before reaching Harrogate, where the first Yellow Jersey of the Tour de France 2014 was awarded. On the second day, riders left the historic city of York for Sheffield on a very tricky 125 miles (200 km) stage whose final section, especially with the formidable Holme Moss to climb, resembles a short Liège Bastogne Liège.
The emblem of Yorkshire is the white rose, whose origins can be traced back to the fourteenth century. In 1385 Edmund of Langley, the first Duke of York, founded of the House of York as a cadet branch of the ruling House of Plantagenet. He chose the white rose, because in Christian liturgical symbolism, white is the symbol of light, typifying innocence and purity, joy and glory. During the Wars of the Roses 1455 to 1487 between the House's of Lancaster and York the white rose symbol was used by Yorkist supporters and a red rose was adopted by the Lancastrian's in the later years of the conflict