Ribblesdale-Ribblehead Viaduct

A Short Walk in Ribblesdale

An easy 5 mile walk through fields and moorland in the shadow of the Settle to Carlisle railway as it passes over the Ribblehead viaduct.

As its name suggests the viaduct carries the Settle to Carlisle railway line over the River Ribble. It’s a famous Yorkshire landmark and a feat of engineering – Ribblehead viaduct is made up of twenty-four arches rising to 104 feet above the valley floor at its highest point. The north end of the viaduct is 13 feet higher in elevation than the south end due to the incline as it crosses a distance of half a kilometre . It is constructed from over 1.5 million bricks and limestone blocks which weighed up to 8 tons. Construction took place between 1870 and 1874 and around 1000 mainly Irish navvies worked on the project, living in makeshift camps which eventually took on the appearance of small towns with shops and schools. (The remains of one of these camps can still be seen via undulations in the countryside surrounding the viaduct). The building of the viaduct came at a cost and the churchyard at nearby Chapel-Le-Dale had to be extended to accommodate the bodies of those killed in accidents or by disease. The Viaduct continues to carry rail traffic to this day, though there isn’t really a village at the location, though the nearby Station Inn provides B+B accommodation and camping.

From the B6255 head towards the Ribblehead Viaduct along the obvious track. The track turns under the viaduct but keep going straight ahead. Carry on with the railway line running parallel and above you on the left. Go past a 3 Peaks sign, following the sign to Whernside. Go over a gated stile and carry on until you reach a railway signal. Go left under the railway arch following the bridleway sign.

At the end of the arch, go through a gate and follow the track downhill towards a stream, and bear left towards farm buildings at Winterscales Farm. Go through a gate between the buildings and on to a stone bridge by a cottage.

Follow the land over two cattle grids, through first a wooden gate, then a metal one to pass between farm buildings.  Go through two more gates, one metal, one wooden.  Carry along on the track through the fields going over a bridge made of railway sleepers. . By a sign for Scar End, bear right to a small gate. Carry on across 4 fields, passing through a number of gates to arrive at farm buildings. Turn left by the farm down the farm track. Where the track bends right, go over the cattle grid and take a sharp left round the fence and on to a track, following a bridleway sign to a ladder stile. The track continues to eventually meet a stream bed. Cross this, and continue along the track to meet a road. Turn left down the road and over Ivescar Bridge.

Where the road divides, go right, through a gate towards the viaduct. At the next gate go right again and over a footbridge by farm buildings. Carry on through two more gates and follow the path under the viaduct, continuing back to the road.

For some unique photographic perspectives of the Ribblesdale area, have a look at our sister website- Yorkshire-Photography.com.

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