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The end of the Hoffman Kiln at the old Craven Lime Works near Settle
The end of the Hoffman Kiln at the old Craven Lime Works near Settle

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Route No 59 - 15 December 2002
Settle to Craven Lime works
to Victoria Cave circuit - 8km
Ribblesdale . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service

Map: OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales Western Area. 1:25000


Settle under a sullen drizzly sky This morning I drove to Settle in Ribblesdale to meet the two friends I walked with for the first time for 40 years on 28 September 2002.(on Kinder Scout in Derbyshire) We were friends in our teens, too long ago to contemplate. The three of us had assembled in Settle from Buxton, Bolton and York so we had quite a late start at about 11.15am. from the car park we walked about 100m back along the main road toward the town centre and turned off into the little square to follow a track climbing the hillside and then leading up the valley about 1.5km to Langcliffe. Donkey grazing by the path out of SettleWhere the path met the road at Langcliffe we turned down the hill into the village and took the path heading north out of the village to run alongside the railway for about 1km to a disused quarry. This is the site of the Craven Lime Works, an interesting old industrial site with three different types of kiln for the large scale production of lime. Ray is a keen amateur historian who goes to great length to research the background to places like this. Some years ago he had traced two men who worked here shortly before the site was abandoned and recorded interviews with them about the way the Hoffman kiln on the site was opperated. It's an amazing relic of our industrial past.The end of the Hoffman kiln at Craven Lime Works It consists of a 6m diameter brick tunnel running in an oval shape about 100m long. This was full of limestone quarried from the hillside above and crushed coal was poured into the limestone through holes in the roof. The mass of limestone and coal was kept burning around the oval tunnel by a clever system of flues that were opened and closed at just the right time to keep the draught going in the right direction. On the opposite side of the oval to the burning front, the cooling fired lime was dug out and fresh limestone stacked inplace to be burnt as the fire front made its way around the oval. It 6m diameter tunnel inside the Hoffman kiln at Craven Lime Workstook a couple of weeks for the fire to make a complete circuit of the oval. As you can probably tell we spent quite a bit of time exploring the site and having our lunch there. After lunch we made our way back to Langcliffe and climbed the road up the hill for almost 1km to a sharp left hand bend where we took the path off to the right continuing up the hill to the path that runs south along the foot of the cliff that includes the Victoria Cave. We stopped in front of the cave for Path below Victoria Caveanother break and to admire the view that was still spectacular in spite of the sullen low cloud and drizzle. From Victoria Cave we headed south for about half a kilometre before turning west below Warrendale Knotts. We followed the path down to join the track that we had used on our outward route and retraced our steps for the last few hundred metres into Settle.By this time 3.30pm it was already getting dark and the Christmas lights were quite pretty, if a bit sparse in the town centre. The whole route was about 8km and took us about 4 hours including about an hour exploring the lime kilns and a couple of refreshment stops. A very interesting day out.

Narrow gauge rail tunnel used to supply coal to the Hoffman kiln
Narrow gauge rail tunnel used to supply coal to the Hoffman kiln

The River Ribble near Langcliffe
The River Ribble near Langcliffe

Warrendale Knotts
Warrendale Knotts

The Hoffman kiln
The Hoffman kiln

Looking up Ribblesdale from Victoria Cave
Looking up Ribblesdale from Victoria Cave

Victoria Cave
Victoria Cave