In this bleak, wild, wide open natural landscape, the Ribblehead Viaduct is the dominant, manmade feature. A stark testament to the courage, hardiness and ingenuity of the hundreds of men who toiled – and died – in appalling conditions to build a structure that would change the landscape forever…
The Ribblehead Viaduct
This massive edifice towers over the landscape. Each of the 24 arches, as was the rest of the railway, was handmade. No mechanical diggers or cranes were around in those days! The entire structure is made of stone and the arches are 104 feet tall. Numerous memorials are embedded into its length to remember the hundreds of lives lost during its construction. To stand in the shadow of its massive arches is a most moving and poignant experience. The viaduct is considered to be one of the most famous railway bridges in the world.
Ribblehead Station gives access to the Settle-Carlisle railway that was completed in 1876. It is also the site of a weather station that was erected in 2004. Take a long train ride to explore and enjoy the rich country side of the area. You can choose to get off at various locations along the way or just take a round trip. The railway crosses many viaducts – the most famous, of course, being the 24 arch Ribblehead Viaduct.
Wide Open Spaces
Many people come here to spend time outdoors. The land is wide open, and you can see the history of the area in the limestone. Ribblehead is well known for the remains of the Viking farms. You can explore the land, the living quarters, blacksmith shops, and cooking quarters. This is a great way to explore and learn about the history and culture.
To satisfy the explorer in you, the surrounding area offers hundreds of caves for you to explore. New caves are being discovered here all the time. Some are suitable for beginners and others are a challenge for expert cave explorers. You can get a complete map of the different caves and the ranking they have of difficulty from the internet or from shops and pubs in the village.
Walking and Biking
If you enjoy walking and great scenery, there are great paths and trails for you to explore, many of them are at least 10 miles long. Many of these paths are also great for bike riding. Enthusiastic hikers walk to the top of Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent – the three famous peaks of the Yorkshire Dales. Whernside is the highest peak in Yorkshire, while her two sisters are equally challenging. Each year sees hundreds of competitors take their positions on the starting line for the “Three Peaks Race”. Most complete the course – a testament to their fitness and enthusiasm. Some say they are fanatical – others shake their head in dismay and declare them totally mad!
Good Food and Accommodation
The Station Inn is the best place in Ribblehead to enjoy a great meal and have a few drinks. This well known pub also offers lodging accommodations including a bunk house and a bed & breakfast. The area is full of wonderful bunk houses, hotels, and farm homes that you can stay in during your visit. Many of them are within walking distance of the various trails in the area.