Ribblehead Viaduct


Ribblehead Viaduct carries the Settle-Carlisle railway across the upper Ribble Valley. It is 400 metres long, and 32 metres high at its highest point. It consists of 24 arches, each 14 metres wide.IMG_5476

The viaduct was built between 1870 and 1874. British Rail attempted to close the line in the 1980s, but a public outcry led to it being repaired in 1991.


The above photo was taken in 2014 . . . although a much younger-looking Midge visited  the same spot in 2010:


Hundreds of navvies lost their lives in the original building of the Settle-Carlisle railway. In St Leonard’s Church, in nearby Chapel-le-Dale, there are two memorials to them, one contemporary and one more modern:




Why visit?

The viaduct is a magnificent structure, probably the most impressive example of engineering on the entire Settle-Carlisle line.

Its setting, in the western Yorkshire Dales, is also magnificent. Situated at the foot of Whernside, the Ribblehead Viaduct is one of the iconic views of the Yorkshire Dales and, in particular,  the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge walk.


The third of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, Ingleborough, is also visible from the arches of the viaduct:


Even the first of the Peaks, Pen-y-ghent, can be seen in the distance:


The Station Inn is situated close to the viaduct, with its beer garden providing splendid views of Ribblehead and Whernside:


Ribblehead Station is also worth a visit, as it has been restored to its original Victorian state, and houses an exhibition about the history of the line.

Circular walks

There are numerous walks in the area. Two favourites involve a circular including an ascent of Ingleborough, either returning via Chapel-le-Dale (11 miles) or Ingleton (14 miles) Or, for a greater challenge, there is the Yorkshire Three Peaks!


Getting there

Ribblehead viaduct lies six miles north-east of Ingleton, along the B6255. It is about 20 miles east of the M6 at Junction 36.

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