SCRCA structure / site 'variants' with associated definitions

Some structure and site 'types' have been further classified into 'variants'. To view brief definitions for all relevant variants, use the filter below to select a 'type', then click / tap the 'Apply' button.

To view default images (where available) for a given 'variant', click / tap  on the relevant variant.

Archaeological Site Variants

Variant Definition
Navvy Settlement

For the purposes of the SCRCA Project, the term 'navvy settlement' refers to the archaeological remains of a distinct cluster of temporary buildings constructed specifically to provide accommodation for workers and their families during the construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway between 1869 to 1876. The buildings themselves have all been demolished, but archaeological traces may remain in the form of visible earthworks (e.g. building platforms) and / or sub-surface archaeological deposits. In some cases (usually in the more remote locations such as the Ribblehead area), there were multiple 'navvy settlements' associated with a single 'Railway Construction Camp'. (The latter term is used on the Scheduled Ancient Monument listing, so it is being used here for consistency.) In addition to clusters of dwellings, these construction camps included the additional buildings and services needed to create a functioning community (e.g. a shop, school, church / chapel, workshops, etc.).

Map by Nigel J. Mussett showing the approximate location of navvy settlements associated with the construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway in the Ribblehead - Blea Moor area in the 1870s.Note on classification: To provide a workable classification hierarchy for the Ribblehead area, the 'camp' has been created as an SCRCA 'site' and the buildings (including discrete clusters of buildings of the same type and function) have been created as a 'structures'. It is arguable that clusters of dwellings ought to be classified as 'sites', with the individual dwellings being classified as structures.  However, doing this would necessitate the introduction of a third level of classification, which would significantly complicate the database. In the case of the Ribblehead Railway Construction Camp, it would also require the accurate plotting of the location of each individual hut (or other form of temporary residential structure) and this level of detail is not currently available in the official records. As three levels of classification are not needed elsewhere, classifying the archaeological remains of a discrete cluster of temporary dwellings as a single 'structure' seems to be a reasonable compromise. The term 'navvy settlement' has been used as the name for the structure variant as it was - and still is - commonly applied to distinct clusters of dwellings associated with large Victorian-era construction projects.

Note on scope: In the 2016 edition of his publication "Settle-Carlisle Railway Directory of Resources", Nigel J. Mussett lists a total of 67 navvy settlements associated with the construction of the line. In the long term, it is hoped that all of these sites can be added to the SCRCA Project database. However, the precise location of many of the settlements is uncertain and the team's limited resources means that some form of prioritisation has been necessary. As a starting point, we have decided to focus on the five navvy settlements known (or believed) to have been located within and immediately adjacent to the Ribblehead Railway Construction Camp Scheduled Ancient Monument. It is intended that additional sites will be added as and when resources allow, probably focussing initially on the section of line between Salt Lake and Dent Head as per the accompanying map. (Tip: To view a larger version, click / tap on the map).


An archaeological site or structure associated with the Settle-Carlisle Railway that does not fall into any of the other relevant 'variant' categories.

Quarry or Pit

Within (or very close to) the SCRCA, there are dozens (perhaps hundreds) of quarries and pits that were either created or enlarged to provide the raw materials needed to build the Settle-Carlisle Railway. After the successful conclusion of the seven year construction project, most of these quarries and pits were abandoned. A small number of these quarries and pits are being included in the SCRCA Project database because they help tell a key part of construction story.

Spoil Tip

For the purposes of the SCRCA Project, the term 'spoil tip' refers to a clearly defined area of raised ground formed by the systematic tipping of rock waste or 'spoil' extracted during the process of excavating cuttings and boring tunnels (and associated access shafts) as part of the construction of the Settle-Carlisle Railway between 1869 to 1876. In many cases, these spoil tips form distinctive radiating (often hand-shaped) patterns that reveal the process that formed them:

  • Waste material was winched-up access shafts or wheeled-up barrow-runs to a small number of fixed locations, each one forming a tipping hub.
  • Each barrow was pushed to the edge of the current tipping face, where the waste material would be tipped-out in a 270 degree spread, eventually forming a slight bulge in the tipping hub.
  • Subsequent loads would gradually extend this bulge into a finger-shaped ridge or tipping line. As the length of this ridge grew, it took more time (and required more effort) to reach the tipping face.
  • Eventually, it became too inefficient to extend the tipping line any further, so a new bulge would be created at an angle to the previous one. As this process was repeated, it created the hub-and-spoke pattern that is typical of many of the spoil tips within the SCRCA.

As these structures help tell a key part of the railway's construction story, they are considered to be archaeologically important. So, in this case, archaeology really is rubbish!


For the purposes of the SCRCA Project, the term 'tramway' refers to the archaeological remains of the narrow-gauge light railways that were constructed specifically to transport materials, equipment and, to a lesser extent, people during the period when the Settle Junction to Petteril Junction section of the Settle-Carlisle Railway was being constructed (i.e. 1869 to 1876). The rails, sleepers, etc. were lifted and removed shortly after construction work ceased and all that remains of these tramways are traces of the track bed and related earthworks. In some places, the track bed and earthworks are still clearly visible on the ground and / or from the air.

The SCRCA Project section of the FoSCL website was designed and
developed by Mark R. Harvey. Database rights have been asserted.