Settle, Upper Ribblesdale
The successful national campaign to save the Settle-Carlisle railway line in the 1980's brought this attractive Dales market town into the public eye and considerably increased its visitor numbers.
Settle is also a working town with a popular market (Tuesdays) and a good range of shops, cafés, restaurants and inns.
Situated as it is under the imposing limestone escarpment of Attermire Scar with the crag of Castlebergh (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 18th and 19th 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 (website opens in new window) - a splendid 17th century yeoman's house just behind the market place. The Museum of North Craven Life (website opens in new window), 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 recently 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.
In addition to the railway, there is a useful bus service (route 581 on Mondays to Saturdays and route 832/833 on Peak Summer Sundays and Bank Holidays) along the edge of the National Park to the popular villages of Giggleswick, Austwick, Clapham and Ingleton, as well as route B1 to Stainforth and Horton. All of these are starting points for magnificent walks on the shoulders of Ingleborough. There are fine walks to be enjoyed between Malham and Settle, or you could take the train or bus (580) to Hellifield or Long Preston and walk back along Langber Lane to Settle.
On Summer Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays the Malham Tarn Shuttle bus service 890 links Settle with Malham Tarn and Malham.
Settle is also strategically placed both on the popular Ribble Way footpath and on the new Pennine Bridleway. Bikes can be hired both in Settle from Off the Rails (website opens in new window) and at the Dalesbridge Centre (website opens in new window) near Austwick. The latter also offers a bike collection service for public transport users. Quiet networks of lanes in the nearby Wenning and Ribble valleys between Settle and Ingleton offer exceptional opportunities for cycling away from heavy traffic.
Bus and train times can be checked on the Dalesbus website (link opens in new window).
Local services: accommodation, cafes, pubs, shops, TIC, toilets