Ribblehead can be best described as a railway hamlet by a t-junction. It lies on the main road to Hawes from Ingleton, near its junction with the road to Horton and Settle. More importantly for the visitor, it is close to what is probably England's most famous railway viaduct, the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct, with its 24 giant stone and brick arches.
All around lie the archaeological remains of the railway construction camps that housed the thousands of navvies that built the famous railway line. We've produced a fascinating audio trail around the so-called 'shanty towns' at Ribblehead, download it from our Out of Oblivion website.
A wild location
Apart from the popular and welcoming Station Inn with its well-known 'loo with a view' and the little wind-swept station with its informative Visitor Centre and volunteer-run tea room, there are no other visitor facilities here. Indeed other than a couple of cottages and farms and an outdoor pursuits centre at Gearstones a mile away there is no other human habitation. Be prepared for a wild location. Accommodation is only available at the pub, up at the station in the newly-refurbished Station Master's House and for groups, at Gearstones Lodge.
This is one of the grandest and at certain times of the day or year, most desolate places in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It's a virtually treeless landscape of bare, brown sculptured hills, dominated by the Three Peaks. It is however, also a popular stop-off point for people touring by car or out for the day on their motorbike, so take care if crossing the roads. Come by train if you can, it's by far the best way! Visit the Settle-Carlisle Partnership website for timetables.
Food and drink
Food and drink is available from the Ribblehead Station tea room or the Station Inn. The ever reliable Fourth Peak mobile van in the summer is usually parked up next to the junction of the Ingleton and Horton roads whatever the weather.
This is fell walking country at its best, with Whernside as the prime magnet straight ahead and Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough to the south. Many walkers also follow the Craven Way, an old packhorse route into Dentdale, or continue along the line of the Blea Moor tunnel over Blea Moor itself into Dentdale, with Dent Station as the destination for return transport on the train.
Both the Dales Way and Pennine Way, are accessible from the station and though the actual source of the Ribble is hard to locate, you can follow paths from below Gearstones to the beautiful little Thorns Gill where a seventeenth century packhorse bridge crosses a deep, primrose-hung ravine.
It is also possible to explore the huge Ingleborough National Nature Reserve from Ribblehead along with Ribblehead Quarry nature reserve, a short walk away from the Station Inn and the remains of a Viking farmstead on Gauber Pasture.