Settle-Carlisle Railway Walks

Anyone who has walked the Yorkshire Three Peaks route, or who has walked extensively in the Yorkshire Dales will be aware of the Settle-Carlisle railway. Three Peakers will have walked beside the 24 arches of the splendid Ribblehead Viaduct on their ascent of Whernside and if they were lucky they will have seen the iconic image of the steam locomotive puffing across the huge span. Other walkers will have encountered the stations and viaducts elsewhere along the route, perhaps not realising the significance of what they see.

The Settle-Carlisle line runs through the heart of the Dales and stops conveniently at many rural stations along the way. This gives fantastic access to the surrounding fells and allows for the creation of many linear walks between stations. Taking advantage of this I have often left my car at one station, caught the train to a station further along the line and then walked back to my car. In recent years I’ve extended the southern limit of these walks, beyond Settle to include the stations down to Skipton and onward, to Shipley. This ‘project’ is a collection of all those walks.

As well as providing access to a number of fantastic linear walks, the railway adds a sense of adventure to the walk – there’s nothing quite like starting a walk with a train journey. Of course most of the services that run along the line are pulled by the more mundane diesel engines, rather than the romantic steam locos, but that doesn’t diminish the child-like excitement I feel when I’m waiting on a station, early in the morning for a train to arrive.

As well as the relatively small number of walks I’ve included below, there are plenty of other resources, including books and websites that provide a more extensive list. The following are just a couple of them: 

Dales Rail Trails – from the creators of the Dales High Way – a varied selection of walks, some linear, some circular, that use the Settle-Carlisle line as a focus. The website has a small selection of walks and there’s also a book with many more in it.

Hill Walks from the Settle to Carlisle Railway Stations – by Hugh Stewart, details 24 walks from the stations on the line, between Appleby in the north and Settle in the south – there’s also a companion volume that describes a multi-day walk through the Dales and Lakes, using the stations at Settle and Carlisle.

The list of walks below, roughly follows the railway line south, from Carlisle and although there are walks to or from nearly every station, not all are included. Walks will vary between north-bound and south-bound, depending on my whims.

The list below only includes one walk per station, but there will almost certainly be additional walks to and from many stations along the line, so if you don’t like the one you see, have a look in the Walks Database for another.

Carlisle to Armathwaite
Armathwaite to Langwathby
Langwathby to Appleby
Appleby to Kirkby Stephen
Kirkby Stephen to Garsdale
Garsdale to Ribblehead
Ribblehead to Settle
Horton to Ribblehead
Settle to Ribblehead
Gargrave to Horton
Settle to Skipton
Shipley to Skipton
Alternative Dales Way
(Skipton to Kirkby Stephen)

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