Guide to the Three Peaks and Ribblesdale
The Yorkshire Three Peaks area is at the head of the Ribbledale and Chapel-le-Dale valleys on the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is area rich in geology and history with much designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the natural ecosystem and geology. The Three Peaks of Penyghent (694m), Whernside (736m) and Ingleborough (723m) form the classic adventure walk of between 23 and 25 miles with the challenge to conquer all three peaks in one walk! This unique limestone countryside offers a variety of outdoor activities from walking and caving to cycling, rock climbing and fishing. Winding country roads offer stunning views for tourers and the Settle-Carlisle Railway is the most scenic railway journey in England.
The Three Peaks walk traditionally starts at Horton in Ribblesdale at the Pen-y-ghent Café, where walkers can clock-in and out to time their walk. Those who complete the walk within 12 hours are invited to join the ‘Three Peaks of Yorkshire Club’. This walk is for the very fit, but there are plenty of shorter walks in the area for walkers of all abilities. The Ingleton Waterfall Trail is a delightful walk and photographer’s dream with some of the best waterfalls in the UK, including Thornton Force. The Reginald Farrer woodland nature trail from Ingleborough Hall takes you to Ingleborough Cave past a wonderful collection of rhododendrons and wild flower meadows and under Thwaite Scars.
A trip on the Settle-Carlisle railway shows off the wild and beautiful scenery of the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbrian Fells as you pass through tunnels and over viaducts, including the famous Ribblehead Viaduct. There are some great places along the route to stop off for walks, and enjoy character villages and towns such as Dent, Kirkby Stephen, Appleby and the historic city of Carlisle.
The Three Peaks area was formed over years of weathering and erosion which developed the dramatic limestone landscape above ground and an extensive networks of caves and pot holes underground. White Scar Caves and Ingleborough Caves offer floodlit tours of stunning calcite formations. Gaping Gill waterfall falls 360 ft from above ground into a spectacular cavern, and twice a year the Gaping Gill winch enables cavers and the public alike to descend into the cavern and appreciate the floodlit views. There is a choice of pot holes and caves for cavers to explore..
Find the famous The Norber Erratics at Austwick near Clapham. The Erratics, literally ‘boulders in the wrong place’, are older rocks that have been displaced by glacier movement ending on top of weathered limestone pillars of younger rocks . These weird rocks are a wonderland for geologists and photographers and there is a delightful circular walk from Austwick taking in the Norber Erratics and Crummock Dale.
Cyclists and horse riders will enjoy the 10 mile Settle Loop which offers some stunning scenery including views over Malham Tarn, the Three Peaks and Attermire Scar. Rock climbers will find a choice of twenty four climbing routes at Castleberg Crag, overlooking Settle and great family days out include the Yorkshire Dales Falconry Centre and Hawk Experience near Giggleswick.
There is plenty of accommodation to choose from to suit your holiday from large group accommodation in bunk barns to luxury guest house accommodation for romantic breaks for two. Find quaint cafés for afternoon tea and cosy Yorkshire pubs with good food to relax in after a day out in Ribblesdale..