Farndale is a scattered agricultural community with traditional Yorkshire dry stone walls, situated in a valley located in the North York Moors National Park in North Yorkshire, England. The community is surrounded by some of the wildest moorland in England, and is sandwiched between Bransdale and Rosedale. To the north-east sits Blakey Ridge at over 400 m above sea level, and to the north-west, Cockayne Ridge reaching up to 454 m above sea level is one of the highest points of the North York Moors. Around the north of Farndale, between Bloworth Crossing and Blakey is the track bed of the old Rosedale Ironstone Railway (Rosedale Branch) mentioned under Rosedale. On a wider scale, the nearest town is Kirkbymoorside located some 5 miles to the south, with Pickering some 13 miles to the south-east and Helmsley 12 miles to the south-west.
The valley is home to two hamlets - Church Houses at the top of the valley on the east side and Low Mill further down on the west. Kirkbymoorside Rural District, which was the local political administration from 1894 until 1974, had three civil parishes in the valley: Farndale East Side, Farndale Low Quarter, and Farndale West Side. Farndale Low Quarter was abolished in 1934 with part of its area going to Farndale West Side and the other part to Bransdale civil parish which covered the adjacent valley. Farndale West Side and Farndale East Side have continued as civil parishes to this day although the governing body is now the Ryedale District of North Yorkshire.
Before the civil parishes were created in 1866, Farndale East Side was a township in the parish of Lastingham, and Farndale West Side was a township in the ecclesiastical parish of Kirkbymoorside. Both were in the Rydale Wapentake.