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".)

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:


The Jericho Shanty Town Experience Tours involve less walking in the Ribblehad area, but they include a ride on the service train between Ribblehead and Garsdale (fare payable). The return train journey crosses Ribblehead Viaduct in both directions.

Last updated by Mark Harvey on 28/02/2018

Forthcoming Ribblehead Heritage Tours

To view the full details for a tour, click / tap on the tour title.

The Ribblehead Viaduct is the highlight of the route with its magnificent 24 arches spanning Batty Moss over 100 feet below. Join the Ribblehead Heritage Tours to look at the archaeological sites and the history of the Viaduct. Hear how the navvies lived and built this tremendous structure with assistance from steam cranes and muscle power. Places of interest that will be visited are the site of the Batty Green Shanty Town including the site of the hospital, the narrow-gauge tramway, the maintenance shed for the steam locomotives, the brickworks, lime kilns, the stone sorting area and the Viaduct itself.

To join a tour, meet at the Heritage Centre on Ribblehead station for a tour of the Viaduct site which lasts about 2 hours. The tours cross rough moorland and all participants should wear stout footwear and bring warm and waterproof clothing.

All tours are free of charge but donations will help the development of tours in future years.

Groups of ten or more can be accommodated by arrangement at times other than those advertised.  Please telephone 01524 811492 (answerphone) if you wish to arrange a tour.


Please note: Due to expected train timetable changes starting in May 2018 the start times for these tours are not yet known.  Details will be published here as soon as possible.

Forthcoming Jericho Shanty Town Experience Tours

To view the full details for a tour, click / tap on the tour title.

Jericho shanty town experience at Ribblehead.

Meet at the Ribblehead Visitor Centre for a talk about the shanty towns. Following this a stroll will be taken to the Ribblehead Viaduct to hear how the railway was built and how the navvies lived and worked in the shanty towns.  Return to the station for a short train journey to Garsdale (fare payable) passing the sites of the shanty towns.  Return by train from Garsdale to Ribblehead/Leeds.

Please bring a packed lunch and waterproof clothing.
The event is not suitable for people with limited mobility.
No booking necessary.

For further information www.sandctrust.org.uk/Jericho or email ruth.evans@settle-carlisle.com or phone 01524 811 492

Please note: Due to expected changes to the train timetables in May 2018 it is not possible to give a start time at Ribblehead or say which trains will be used for the trip to and from Garsdale.  Once these details are known this page will be updated with further details.

Alight Ribblehead (12.02). Connects with the 10.49 train from Leeds. Return on the 15.13 train from Garsdale to Ribblehead/Leeds.
Grade: E (3 miles)