They were written in the 1970s and followed by the TV series All Creatures Great and Small which ran from 1978 to 1983. Many parts of Wensleydale and Swaledale are already familiar to visitors thanks to those evocative programmes.
The real James Herriot (Alf Wright) enjoyed several holidays in West Scrafton and Coverdale, where several episodes were filmed.
It's said that he first fell in love with the Yorkshire Dales after standing at the top of the hill above Grinton and looking at the surrounding view.
The opening credits of the programme featured the water splash between Langthwaite and Low Row. One of the places most associated with the TV programme is Askrigg which doubled as Darrowby using the Kings Arms as the Drovers Arms. You can still see the building known as Skeldale House by the market cross. James Herriot got married at another local inn: the Wheatsheaf in Carperby. He (or rather Alf Wright) proposed to his wife at Bolton Castle. In the TV series Holy Trinity Church in Wensley was used as the location for his wedding.
Simonstone Hall has become better known thanks to a different TV programme and Jeremy Clarkson, but was originally used as the venue for Darrowby Show. Nearby Hawes' auction mart was used as Darrowby Cattle Mart. The market town of Leyburn also featured, as 'Scarsburn', the home of Granville Bennett and where the Ministry of Agriculture was sited. Thornborough Hall behind the main market square was used as the Min. of Ag.
You can see a recreation of James Herriot's surgery in Richmondshire Museum or leave the Dales for a little while to visit Thirsk and the World of James Herriot small visitor attraction, in the building where the world's most famous vet lived, worked and wrote his books. Download the Herriot Trail and map for full details of the TV locations.