The largest Dale within the Settle Area


Ribblesdale is the upper valley of the River Ribble which rises in the hills above Ribblehead and flows 75 miles to join the Irish Sea near Lytham. The river flows southwards through the Settle Area, passing through or near-to the settlements of Horton in Ribblesdale, Stainforth, Langcliffe, Giggleswick, Settle, Rathmell, Long Preston and Hellifield. Below Hellifield the river turns to the south-west and flows to the sea through the Ribble Valley.

The dale has long been a vital routeway through the Dales with several well-used droving and packhorse routes established during the 18th Century. Today, the Settle-Carlisle railway travels up the length of the dale before continuing its journey to Carlisle.

The dale is dominated by the highest peaks in the National Park and has the greatest concentration of caves.

The farming of sheep and cattle has been an important way of life in the dale for thousands of years as can be seen from the numerous farmsteads, field barns and many miles of drystone walls.

The limestone geology of the dale has been exploited since the 18th Century for the production of lime (used to ‘sweeten’ the acidic pastures and make them more productive) and the quarrying of stone for building, road surfacing and other uses. The number of abandoned quarries and remains of lime kilns seen throughout the dale is a reminder of this industrial past. Quarrying is still a significant activity with large, active quarries at Helwith Bridge and Horton in Ribblesdale.

Access to fast-flowing rivers and streams plus good road and later rail transport routes made some of Ribblesdale’s southern settlements ideal for the location of large textile mills. Evidence of such mills can be seen in Settle and Langcliffe.


More information

yorkshiredales.org.uk/places/ribblesdale >>

wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribblesdale >>

wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Ribble >>

dalesrocks.org.uk >>

oldfieldslimestone.blogspot.com >>

ribbletrust.org.uk >>

In and Around Ribblesdale

Horton in Ribblesdale
Horton in Ribblesdale is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and lies 6 miles to the north of Settle. The village has a station on the Settle-Carlisle line. Population is approx. 430.
Stainforth, a pretty village in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, is situated to the east of the River Ribble with Little Stainforth (or Knight Stainforth) to the west. The village nestles under Stainforth Scar, 2½ miles north of Settle. Population is approx. 230.
Langcliffe is a pretty village on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and bounded by the River Ribble to the west. Located to the immediate north of Settle, the village has a population of approximately 333.
Giggleswick is a picturesque village on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is located to the immediate north-west of Settle and has a population of approximately 1270.
Settle is an ancient market town with a market charter granted by Henry III in 1249. The town is located at the gateway to Upper Ribblesdale at the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Current population is approx. 2600.
Dry Rigg Quarry - Visitor Trail
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Long Preston Flood Plain
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