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The River Rawthey collects its water from the northern Howgills, including the stream which flows over the stunning Cautley Spout waterfall at the head of a side valley. An easy walk up the valley will take you close to this waterfall, and experienced walkers often continue on to gain the peaks of the Howgills. The 400-year-old Cross Keys Temperance Inn at the start of the main route up to Cautley Spout is owned by the National Trust.
The traditional market town of Sedbergh at the lower end of the valley is the main settlement. It contains many buildings of historical importance including the remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle and Sedbergh School, a private school founded in 1525. The town is a popular tourist attraction, partly because of its status as England's only book town.