Both Settle and Appleby have quirky independent shops and a variety of places to eat. It’s the same all the way up the railway line, with many people using the train service to explore the newly-extended Yorkshire Dales, the Eden Valley and beyond.
Tuesday is market day in Settle – continuing a tradition that began over 700 years ago. Fresh fish, cheese, eggs and vegetables can be found alongside a wonderful range of plants, clothing and picture frames … and much more besides. Soak up the atmosphere as locals meet up to chat in the square and visitors peruse the stalls in this typical Dales setting.
For many visitors to the area, Ribblehead viaduct is a major draw. It has to be the most recognisable, and photographed, structure on the line. From the train, if you sit on the right-hand side travelling north, there is a tantalising glimpse of the viaduct curving gracefully ahead when you arrive at Ribblehead station. But the best way to really appreciate the awe-inspiring dimensions is to leave the train and go on foot to explore in more detail. You can use the well-surfaced stone tracks around the viaduct to experience the scale and get a real sense of the place. Walking right up to, and even under, the arches is the only way to appreciate the vision and skill of the Victorian architects and navvies who built it. Refreshments can be enjoyed at the pub or in the station’s Visitor Centre where there are some fascinating artefacts on display.
Further up the line, it is possible to access the very heart of the newly enlarged Yorkshire Dales National Park. There are some excellent local bus links at Garsdale which give easy access to Wensleydale, and some hidden gems such as the amazing waterfall at Hardraw. The ever-popular market town of Hawes makes a great base for walks and a spot of cheese-tasting! When you’re at Garsdale station, don’t forget to visit the beautiful bronze statue of Ruswarp the collie dog.
For something a bit different, and to venture further afield, Cumbria Classic Coaches connect with the train service at Kirkby Stephen. A great day out can be had in beautifully-restored vintage coaches. Why not relive those days on the back seat of the school bus, while enjoying some amazing views of the Dales and Pennines?
Appleby-in-Westmorland is a charming Cumbrian market town, with lovely riverside walks and opportunities to picnic by the Eden. The town has a wonderfully preserved castle and some stunning Georgian architecture – it really is a gem. See if you can spot the red squirrels too!
During the next few weeks, autumn colours will emerge, especially in the Eden Valley adding another dimension to your views whilst travelling on the train.
If you’re after a shopping fix, you can make the trip all the way through to Carlisle for some retail therapy. Not to mention a castle, a cathedral and a world-class museum as well. (Replacement bus service operating between Carlisle-Armathwaite/Appleby – check here for details).
There is a great-value offer available making it even easier to explore the line from end to end. The Day Ranger ticket costs £15 and allows unlimited travel for one day on the line between Carlisle in the north and Leeds/Bradford in the south. Children travel for just £7.50 and further discounts are available for national railcard holders. You can hop on and off the train as you wish, creating your own special day to remember in Settle-Carlisle country.