Guide to the Western Dales

The Western part of the Yorkshire Dales is dominated by the Three Peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Penyghent. The Three Peaks area covers about 160 square kilometres of upland, with internationally famous limestone scenery.

A special landscape

Much of the area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, owing to the nature and fragility of its upland ecosystem. The Yorkshire Dales National Park has introduced several schemes to repair well-trodden paths and safeguard the special environment.

The Three Peaks, all around 700 metres high, are probably the most popular outdoor areas in the Yorkshire Dales due to the wild landscape, the limestone features, and the hill walking potential.

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead and its famous viaduct is central in the Three Peaks area, located on the road from Ingleton to Hawes in Wensleydale. Ingleton has narrow winding village streets, with a tiny market place, and is famous for its Waterfall Walk through the local 'glens'. It is also the start of a pleasant walking route up Ingleborough.

Caves and waterfalls

Experienced cavers can investigate the many limestone cave systems in the area. The longest show cave in Britain, White Scar Cave, is close to Ingleton.

The Farrer family discovered and opened up Ingleborough Cave as a visitor attraction, and an outlet to the famous Gaping Gill cave system. The family were responsible for transforming the village of Clapham, planting thousands of trees, and making Clapham an excellent base for exploring Ingleborough and the limestone landscape north of the village. The Reginald Farrer nature trail commemorates his worldwide exploits in search of plants and new species.

Amazing scenery

Close to Clapham, the amazing Norber Erratics at Austwick are huge boulders supported on small pedestals of limestone. The boulders were dumped on a limestone plateau after being carried miles by a glacier during the late Ice Age. The limestone under them has been eroded away by rain and wind over the years.

Further down the valley is the market town of Settle, starting point of the Settle-Carlisle railway through the Dales and over the Ribblehead viaduct.

Ingleton Waterfalls Walk Ribblehead Viaduct
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