Ribblehead Heritage Tours


For those able to walk a mile or two over rough ground, the Ribblehead Heritage Tours organised and run by Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line volunteers are a great way to learn about:

  • A class 158 'Norther' DMU crossing Ribblehead Viaduct with Pen-y-ghent beyond

    The history of the famous Ribblehead Viaduct (pictured, right) with its magnificent 24 arches supporting the track bed more than one hundred feet above Batty Moss. ('Moss' is an Old English word meaning bog - i.e. waterlogged ground).

  • The people who constructed the line and the techniques that they used to do so. Find out how the navvies lived in this wild and remote location. How they built the cuttings, embankments, bridges (a viaduct is just a long bridge), tunnels, stations, etc. - all with little more to assist them than wheelbarrows, pick-axes, shovels, muscle power and, where necessary, dynamite. (The Tour Guides have a few stories to tell about the use - and misuse of the latter: for example, what happens when you try to dry wet dynamite beside an open fire? . . . !!!)

TThe site of the former tramway, navvy settlement, brickworks, etc at Ribbleheadhe tours also visit some of the archaeological sites in the area, including the evocatively named shanty towns of Inkerman, Batty Green, Sebastopol and Belgravia; the isolation hospital, narrow-gauge tramway and maintenance shed for the narrow-gauge steam locomotives; plus the clay-pits, brickworks and stone sorting area. The photograph to the right shows the heart of the area covered by these tours. The routes of some of the tramways are clearly visible as brighter green lines curving across the site. (For an annotated version of this image, see the SCRCA Project 'Site Summary' page entitled "Ribblehead railway construction camp & prehistoric field system".)

A longer version of the tour takes-in Force Gill aqueduct and the south portal of Blea Moor Tunnel which, at 2,629 yards, is the longest tunnel on the Settle-Carlisle Railway.

For many participants on these tours, the close-up and distant views of the viaduct from the adjacent common land are the highlight of the tour, but please note that it is NOT possible to walk along the top of the viaduct as it carries an operational railway. You can, of course, cross it by train. To find-out how, see:


Last updated by Mark Harvey on 21/08/2017

The Ribblehead Tours operate on specific dates during the summer months (i.e. the main tourist season).

There are no more tours planned for this season.

The dates for next season will appear here as soon as the information is available.