Ribblesdale­ inc Settle, Horton & Ingleton

Jonathan’s View

“Pretty Yorkshire villages set amongst classical limestone scenery.”

I have lived in Ribblesdale for well over 10 years and it is certainly the area I am most familiar with. The Ribble itself is an attractive river but it is the dale it flows through that makes it one of the most scenic places in the Dales. The south and west of the Dales is characterised by limestone outcrops and scars which combine with some of the best dry stone walls and the prettiest villages to offer an enticing area for any visitors. The A65 introduces visitors quickly and makes the area more popular than other dales but not to its detriment; in fact driving in to Settle on a late summer’s evening with the pink glow on the limestone cliffs is a sight rarely bettered throughout the country. 

The best walks are listed further down this page.

About Settle

Settle is a bustling market town situated right on the edge of the National Park. It is easily accessible (just off the A65 and with a regular bus and train service) and has great character. The views are dominated by the 500 foot limestone scar of Castleburg Crag which itself can be climbed by a myriad of footpaths on its steep slopes. The marketplace and the two storey historic building known as the Shambles is full of character but comes to life on market day (Tuesday) but the real joy of Settle is the hidden alleyways and walkways which lead to little surprises such as the Folly which often has exhibitions of local interest on its site.

Whilst in Settle it is well worth taking a walk over the Ribble and in to the neighbouring village of Giggleswick. Dominated by the famous Giggleswick School (founded in 1512) a walk round Giggleswick is a lesson in history with grand old buildings and sites straight out of 19th century Britain. Access to the Ribble and a short walk along its banks towards Stainforth is immensely satisfying.

Settle is on my doorstep, an attractive market town of great character and charm and I would thoroughly recommend a stay here. Car & Kitchen offer a selection of good quality niknaks,and Castleberg Sports is the place to go for outdoor gear and local knowledge.  The Naked Man is rightly one of the most famous tea shops in the Yorkshire Dales but the other ones are equal in terms of friendly service and character. There is a good choice of pubs (The Lion and the Talbot are both very good) whilst No 13 is a wine bar providing a different, more sophisticated drinking experience.

Long Preston is the most attractive of the villages that line the A65 between Skipton and Settle and is also the base for a number of very good walks. Unlike the other villages it lies within the National Park boundary and has benefited through a more enlightened housing policy. The highlight of the year is the Maypole dancing on May Day by the local school children and crowning of the May Queen on the village green. It is also my home and the base for our 1 day Navigation Courses.

About Ingleton

Ingleton sits under the fine mountain of Ingleborough, there are some excellent walks from the door and it sits conveniently at a cross roads with quich access to the central Dales. The centre of Ingleton is an attractive cobbled street with some interesting shops and a good choice of genuine traditional Yorkshire Dales places to eat (do not be put off by the approaches to the centre which are a little sprawling and down beat).  As a base though to explore the area it is unbeatable and for those who want to treat it as this I would heartily recommend it. It is also a good centre for those activists who want a holiday caving or white water rafting with Ingleton providing a lively base for the younger amongst us. As much as any of the larger villages Ingleton offers attractions for all types of visitors.

Further up from Ingleton towards Ribblehead is the small hamlet of Chapel le Dale, a pretty place that offers an excellent place to stay for those wanting to complete the 3 Peaks from an alternative (and quieter) start point.

About Austwick

Austwick is an attractive village, situated only 1/2 a mile off the busy A65 but could be in a different world. Most of the buildings are of traditional Yorkshire stone and centred around a small green and the Game Cock Inn. The best area of the village though for a visitor is up on Town Head which has excellent views and with best access to the fells. Most of the walking from Austwick is north out of Town Head but if you are staying for more than a couple of nights there are some excellent low level walks to the neighbouring villages and hamlets.

All the walks though are set against the backdrop of the limestone hills formed along the Craven fault line. Today the village has a store/post office (and long may it continue), a high quality country furniture outlet at the Smithy, 2 churches, a primary school and the Game Cock Inn. The Game Cock is a traditional Dales inn with good beer, a beer garden, wood beamed interior, solid pub grub and variable service. It is traditional but if you are after a real taste of high quality dining in an elegant country house then visit the Traddock.

About Clapham

The small village of Clapham does best justice to the fine peak of Ingleborough which dominates it in so many ways. The village itself is split  by Clapham Beck which, coupled with the fine Yorkshire stone and commanding views, make the village desirable desirable to vist but also to live! A grand pub (the New Inn) overlooks the river and the village also boasts a more comprehensive village post office than is usually the case, a couple of tea shops, a gallery and a local crafts shop.

Above the village and south of Ingleborough is the fantastically named Clapdale (who would not want to visit somewhere named Clapdale?) where Clapham Beck winds its way through an artificial lake, a world famous caving network to the summit of one of the 3 Peaks. Ingleborough Cave is undoubtedly the draw to Clapham but further up the path is narrow Trow Gill and the geologically challenged Gaping Gill. Here Fell Beck falls 104 metres in to a network of caves before it emerges nearly 1 mile later at Beck Head Cave, a neighbour of Ingleborough Cave.

About Stainforth and Langcliffe

Hidden away up Ribblesdale but only a few miles north of Settle lies Stainforth. The name is derived from ‘stony ford’ which originally linked two separate settlements on each side of the river. On the East bank Stainforth was developed by the Cistercian monks of Sawley Abbey with the estate being efficiently run and prospering during the 14th and 15th century. However Little Stainforth, under private ownership, on the western side of the river gradually declined until 1670 when Samuel Watson replaced the ford with an attractive packhorse bridge, which is still the focal point of the village.

Stainforth Hall was built in the 17th century and, although converted to a farm now, is still an excellent 3 story building. The Craven Heiffer is a traditional Yorkshire pub, situated right bang on the packhorse bridge and very worthy. The Heifer is an excellent example of a traditional Yorkshire pub, nothing flamboyant, just good pub grub, light snacks and a fine pint of bitter. Langcliffe is nearby and has a lovely village green and is close enough to walk in to Settle along an attractive back lane with superb views of the Settle scar.

About Horton in Ribblesdale

Horton in Ribblesdale (meaning settlement on muddy ground) can be found on the B6479 midway between Settle and Ribblehead. Horton is functional but has suffered a little through little fault of its own. tUnlike the prettier and quieter villages of  Langcliffe, Austwick, Clapham and Stainforth it was never bypassed but more importantly the village has never had to try and attract visitors.

Horton is most famous as the start and finish points of the well publicised 3 Peaks challenge (24 miles and 5,000+feet of climbing) and as a consequence does not have the need to work for its visitors. The visitors come and the visitors stay; they all visit the famous 3 peaks cafe, they drink in the 2 pubs and stay in the very good bunk house. The visitors are there for the challenge (and in their thousands). However this all leaves Horton really looking a little drab, grey and rather lacking character. It is a shame because the village could be delightful and a great base for exploring the area. .

The history of Ribblesdale lacks much of the glamour of its neighbours with only limited industrial activity despoiling the landscape and affecting the lives of its people. Agriculture has always dominated the lives of the people with the villages and towns acting as staging posts and fortifications depending on which stage of history we are looking at. Initially a classic English feudal system operated with local lords collecting rent from those around them, less usual for the area was that pastoral farming was mixed with the tending of fields of corn and barley. Farming is still very popular along the valleys although tourism has now taken over as its primary business.


Heart of 3 Peaks Country. A 14 1/2 mile walk over the watersheds of 3 of the major Yorkshire Dales; Ribblesdale, Wharfedale and Wensleydale.

Whernside from Ribblehead. The iconic viaduct at Ribblehead dominates the views on this walk up Yorkshire’s highest mountain.

Pen y Ghent from Horton. The most popular route up the smallest of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks.

Ingleborough and Gaping Gill. The finest route up Ingleborough from Clapham and via Gaping Gill & Ingleborough Cave..

Ingleborough from Ribblehead. An excellent climb over Simon Fell to the best of the 3 Peaks

The Waterfalls of Ingleton. A deservedly popular walk which discovers a series of waterfalls flowing down two rivers.

Great Coum via Gragareth. A 15 mile high level walk which also includes a lovely section down the picturesque Leck Beck.

Historic Villages near Settle. Taking in the best section of the Ribble and returning via the limestone scars above Settle.

A Snowy Walk above Settle. A nice but steep short walk from Settle but enjoy the snowy photography

Settle Loop. A 10 mile walk through the limestone scenery between Settle and Malham Tarn on an excellent track.

Limestone hills above Feizor. A perfect stretch of limestone walking and scenery lies between Feizor and Stainforth

Long Preston Deeps. This walk takes in the ecologically sensitive area on flat lands by the Ribble.

Catrigg Force from Stainforth. An easy walk from a lovely village to a perfect minature waterfall.

The Norber Erratics from Austwick. A geological masterpiece through the limestone scars and erratics of the area above Austwick.

The Lanes of Long Preston. The old road to Settle and Langber Lane combine for this pleasant 1/2 day in the moors above Long Preston.

There are a number of shorter walks in Ribblesdale with two of popular ones being from Long Preston & Clapham.

Other Things to do in Ribblesdale

Settle Carlisle railway. This 72 mile journey through stunning scenery is an engineering marvel. Stop off at any of the dramatic stations.

The Courtyard. Near Settle on the A65 lies a some excellent shops and a brasserie for those after a bit of pampering

Watershed Mill. A unique visitor centre including the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, a local shop selling bottled beer and a golfing shop.

Falconry Centre. Providing an insight in to the art of falconry and information on a variety of Birds of Prey.

Ingleton Pottery. Tours and demonstrations are available in this excellent family run work shop.

Daleswear. There is no greater choice of walking gear in the Yorkshire Dales than this warehouse on the A65 at Ingleton.

Ingleborough Cave. There is a network of over 1/2 km displaying a great cave of stalagtites and mites..

Folly at Settle. A museum opens in the summer showing images of the history of the district in a superb building

Updated Weather Forecast

This Weather Widget is provided by the Met Office

Click here to go to the Met Office website for a 5 day weather forecast for the Ribblesdale area.

Places to Stay

Marton Arms, Ingleton

Halsteads Barn, Ingleton

Eldon Country Hotel

LP Tea Rooms

Maypole Inn, Long Preston

Boars Head, Long Preston

The Plough, Wigglesworth

Woodlands Country House

Ingle Byre Cottage, Stainforth

Newton Bank Cottages, nr Skipton

Cottages in the Dales

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