One of the reasons the Settle – Carlisle Railway is now well used is that it makes the most of its route. Known as one of the most scenic railways in the UK (possibly the most scenic in England, its main rival is in Scotland) on leaving Settle it passes through the Yorkshire Dales.
Settle itself is not in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, it borders it to the north, east, and south and even a bit on the west. The town is surrounded by a National Park without actually being in it. That does mean it is the perfect place from which to explore the National Park. Being a staffed station also meant that we could leave our bags in the station master’s office while we went out walking.
Circular walks have been designed from all the stations along the Settle – Carlisle Railway. They are signposted at the stations, postcards can be bought of the descriptions and on my return home I found pdf versions of them on the internet too. We walked down to the river Ribble, crossed it at a weir, and then strolled through wonderful countryside.
We got slightly lost at pont 6 of the route description which says “Keep to the wall side and bear right and downhill to rejoin the road at Stackhouse.” Possibly we were following the wrong wall – there are many dry stone walls in the area all equipped with stiles or small gates.
We did find Stackhouse and the sign for the Ribbleway we were following, which took us through this road-wide gate with its strong warning. I’m unsure of the current value of 40 Shillings, in any case, we closed the gate.
Walking out and back along the Ribble provided many watery sights, from the perfect mirroring of the landscape in a mill pond to weirs and rivulets of fast-moving water.
The route brought us back into the middle of Settle, which seems well prepared for hungry walkers, whether like us they were just there between trains or whether using it as a base for multiple excursions.