Settle - Gateway to Upper Ribblesdale
Situated as it is under the imposing limestone escarpment of Attermire Scar with the crag of Castleberg (a notable local viewpoint) hovering above the town, Settle enjoys a splendid setting at the edge of some of England’s most dramatic limestone country.
The town itself is full of fascinating buildings and a labyrinth of narrow alleys and courtyards gives the town a rather special atmosphere. Most buildings date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including the French-style town hall and the row of shops known as the Shambles. Pride of place, however, must go to The Folly - a splendid seventeenth century yeoman's house just behind the market place. The Museum of North Craven Life, which contains some major archaeological finds from nearby Victoria Cave is also not to be missed.
The great archways of the Settle-Carlisle Railway, Midland Railway’s main line to Scotland, dominate the lower part of the town behind the restored Victoria Hall. Most visitors will want to spend at least one day of their stay enjoying a trip along the line and travel across the famous Ribblehead Viaduct, described by one railway historian as the ‘high water mark’ of Victorian railway engineering. The entire line is now a linear conservation area. But this is also a working railway and the heavy coal trains which keep Britain’s power stations in business are as likely to be seen on the line as the diesel railcars which provide both a lifeline to isolated Dales communities and a superb visitor experience.
There are magnificent walks to be enjoyed from all the stations on the line, many of the finest being in the Three Peaks country - to the summits of Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside.
The popular Ribble Way footpath runs through Settle, as does the Pennine Bridleway. Quiet networks of lanes in the nearby Wenning and Ribble valleys between Settle and Ingleton also offer exceptional opportunities forcycling away from heavy traffic.