Just over the border to North Yorkshire from Cumbria you’ll find the Ribblehead viaduct. Arguably the most impressive sight along the Settle to Carlisle Railway, this feat of British engineering includes 24 huge stone arches that reach a whopping 104 feet above the ground. One of the largest viaducts in the UK, the area it sits in offers plenty to see and do and if perfect for a day out – particularly if you’re in the mood for exploring the gorgeous countryside!
Chugging along the railway
On certain dates throughout the year, you’ll be able to witness the popular Fellsman, a fantastic steam train that you can jump aboard and witness the beauty of the area. Travel through the limestone peaks and craggy valleys on the Victorian railway in the locomotive that uses a selection of different engines and carts each time. Along the route that passes over the viaduct you’ll also travel through the Blea Moor tunnel, and experience fantastic views of Dent Dale, the Eden Valley and Wensleydale as well as crossing the River Ribble itself.
Discovering the Ribblehead viaduct
Easy to access and with roadside parking nearby, the viaduct is stunning and definitely something to be captured on film. With plenty of trains passing by regularly, it’s worth researching times and dates to find out when the train of your choice will pass. Inside the arches themselves you’ll find signage that provides information about the materials used, construction methods and some of the science behind the structure that’s still in use today.
Stopping at the station
Close by you’ll find Ribblehead Station which is now home to the Visitor Centre. Sitting in the former booking office and booking hall, the centre helps to educate visitors about the building of the viaduct and tunnels, and the fascinating uses that they’ve seen through its history. Filled with artefacts and knickknacks, it’s wonderful to potter around before heading to the small shop in what used to be the porters’ room.
Tours around the viaduct are available too, and you can even hear a guided talk from the chief engineer responsible for saving the viaduct in the early 1990s when it required some restoration efforts and was under threat from being closed.
Nestled in a fantastic area
The viaduct is stunning, and you should use the trip as a chance to explore the remote surrounding sights too. There are plenty of walks for different abilities and you can even take the circular walk around the landmark and take in the impressive scenery of the Yorkshire Dales. If you’re up for a challenge the climb to one of the three peaks, Whernside, takes you 736m up and provides sensational views towards the Lake District and on a clear day, the coast.
Owning a caravan at Hawthorns allows you to take the time to stray from the beaten track from time to time. Although there are plenty of popular destinations to visit, with the freedom to take in some of the more hidden gems you’ll fall in love with the area and everything it has to offer.
More Ribblehead Vidaduct photos