The tall limestone rock of Castleberg has been recognised as a beauty spot for centuries, ever since travellers started touring Britain’s natural wonders. The first visitors in the mid-18th century wrote that the rock had been laid out as a giant sundial and a Samuel Buck sketch of 1720 survives showing huge slabs of stone with the hours marked out on them running down the side of the hill. By 1800, the sundial was long gone and instead the townspeople had laid out a path to the top so that visitors could enjoy the fine view. The area was gradually developed over the next hundred years, with more paths cut, trees and shrubs planted and eventually, various amusements added such as swings, a roundabout and roller skating.
Today, Castleberg is owned by Settle Town Council and there is free public access either from Castleberg Lane or Constitution Hill. Many of the plants from the pleasure grounds survive including lilac, buddleia and peony and they share the site with interesting native species such as spurge laurel, dogwood and two different sorts of whitebeam. The Council manages the site both as a haven for wildlife and a beautiful place to visit.
Grid Reference: SD 821 636