Heritage Tours




The iconic Ribblehead Viaduct and shanty site is a 'must see' for visitors to the Yorkshire Dales.


Ribblehead Station

We are pleased to be offering our Ribblehead heritage tours again albeit for a shorter season this year, 2022. There is something for everyone from the railway enthusiast, the photographer, the theatricals, geologists, walkers, the family’s and those who prefer a virtual tour from the comfort of the visitor centre. Ribblehead station like many stations on the line is a listed building with many original features and painted in the traditional colours of the then Midland Railway. Why not start the day with coffee and cake? The café opens from 10am until 3.30. Or take a seat overlooking the landscape with its features formed during the ice age.


We welcome you to experience this wild environment which, between 1869 and 1875, was home to as many as 2,000 people at any one time.


 RHD viaduct construction


They worked, played, fought and, often, died during the construction of the railway. Trace their footsteps, witness the remains of their existence; their homes, offices, shops and work places. Walk the track beds of an extensive narrow gauge railway system which was constructed to transport goods and building materials around the site.

Marvel at the imposing viaduct and walk the distance to the Blae Moor signal box on the approach to the tunnel entrance as it cuts into the land.

Please join us for a conducted tour of approximately 2.5 miles around the site close to the foot of Whernside.


RHD viaduct long distance shot


There is an easily accessible marked pathway taking in the features safely for those unable to access the site. This leads to the viaduct where there’ll be a talk on its construction and its restoration given at the end of the site tour by the chief engineer at the time.

As the nature of the landscape is unsuitable for some, we have a ‘Living History Chat Room’ at the visitor centre where you will receive a warm welcome. Hear tales of the railways past in to the present. Take a look at the memorabilia and browse our books.

To bring it all to life, there’s an exciting production, ‘Mischief in the Navvy Hut’. This is presented in collaboration with Ken and Sarah Lister from the popular Settle graveyard Project. Who would have though graveyards were so interesting and colourful?


All are welcome to join them at Batty Green which is easily accessible, then onward to the visitor centre. This promises to be an engaging, atmospheric and light hearted celebration of the ups and downs of life for families living there through the role play of a tunneller, George Gibbs and his wife Jane. It’s well researched, full of fun and humour and suitable for all our visitors. Feel free to dress for the occasion!



RHD Visitors


Also new this season is a 2-mile guided walk to Gauber High Pasture on the opposite side of the line from where you architects will appreciate the situation and layout of the station buildings. The walk leads towards a nature reserve overlooked by Ingleborough and through a small quarry. It ascends slightly as we approach bare limestone pavement. Here we find the remains of a Viking long house from approximately 850 AD as dated on coins, minted at York, discovered at the site. 

Appreciate stunning views of the surrounding hills and peaks.

Realise the bleak environment and hardships the navvy families endured when living here in their shanty towns. See the result of their labours with a different view of the viaduct and the entrance to the blae moor tunnel. Wonder at the natural beauty of the limestone landscape. Witness its harshness and isolation.



Limestone pavement


                                                                                                                                                       The weather at Ribblehead can quickly turn cold and wet. Even on a good day, warm clothing is essential to take part in our site tours. You will also need strong shoes or walking boots. We reserve the right to refuse anyone that is inappropriately dressed for safety reasons. We may need to cancel or amend the route in severe weather. Be prepared, it’s a harsh environment as well as a beautiful one. We cannot be responsible for participants and their property. We regret that on the shanty site tour and Viking longhouse walk, we cannot take anyone under 10 years of age. Other children under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Dogs cannot join our tours (sorry to our 4 legged friends).


As we are a FoSCL volunteer group, there's no charge. We do appreciate donations to take the incredible history and heritage of the Ribblehead site into the future for others to enjoy. Please sign our visitor book before you head home.


Events will be timed throughout the day on Wednesdays from 11am until approximately 3.30 during August (3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st)

Groups wishing to book a tour are welcome to contact the team. Please email [email protected]

Always check train times before travelling.


From Carlisle

8.24 arriving Ribblehead at 9.47

9.49 arriving Ribblehead at 12.07

Departing Ribblehead 16.37


From Leeds

9.20 arriving Ribblehead at 10.38

10.49 arriving Ribblehead at 12.07

Departing Ribblehead 16.14






We are looking to recruit new volunteers with a strong interest in the heritage site. If you'd like to be part of our passionate FoSCL team and assist our tours, please get in touch.  Initially you'll shadow one of our knowledgeable guides on site. If you enjoy the group experience and the history of the land, we can support you to confidently take your own part in future seasons. Please email [email protected]­-carlisle.com