Limestone peaks on the edge of Ribblesdale above Settle
Limestone peaks on the edge of Ribblesdale above Settle

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Route No. 317 - Wednesday 7 October 2009
Langcliffe, Craven Lime Works, Stainforth,
Catrigg Force, Victoria Cave,
Attermire Scar circuit - 10km
Ribblesdale. . .

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base.
View the route in Google Earth

Map: OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western areas at 1:25000


Turning off the walled track justnorth of Langcliffe
Turning off the walled track just north of Langcliffe

The parish church of St John the Evangelist in Langcliffe
The parish church of St John the Evangelist in Langcliffe

From the car park we walked along Pike Lane and a walled track to the edge of the village. About 300m from the car park, at map ref. SD823653, we climbed over a stile in the wall on the left hand side of the track and followed the path across the fields to the side of the railway heading north along Ribblesdale.

On this clear bright autumn morning my neighbour, Jim, and I drove to the village of Langcliffe in Ribblesdale about 1.5km north of Settle. There's a car park there opposite the church at the junction of Main Street and Pike Lane at map ref. SD823650.

Track beside the Settle to Carlise railway north of Langcliffe
Track beside the Settle to Carlise railway north of Langcliffe

Path from Langcliffe to the side of the Settle to Carlisle railway
Path from Langcliffe to the side of the Settle to Carlisle railway

Path beside the Settle to Carlisle railway
Path beside the Settle to Carlisle railway

Inside the tunnel of the Hoffmann Kiln
Inside the tunnel of the Hoffmann Kiln

The Hoffmann Kiln was a large tunnel, built in an oval shape with access holes and flues along the top and sides. Inside a mixture of limestone and coal was being burnt on a moving front with continuous filling of fresh limestone and coal going on ahead of the burning front and removal of the burn lime as it cooled for behind the burning front. The fire took several weeks to make a complete circuit of the kiln tunnel and the process never stopped. We explored the kiln for some time before continuing along the path beside the railway.

We followed the railway for about 1km to the old Craven Lime Works and the Hoffmann Kiln at map ref. SD823663. This kiln was built in the 1870's when the demand for lime was growing as a result of the industrial revolution. Lime is used in all manner of industries from food production to petro chemicals. The Hoffmann Kiln was the first continuous process for producing lime on an industrial scale. Before this lime kilns all had to be filled, then fired, then emptied and then filled again to restart the process.

Arriving at the Hoffmann Kiln
Arriving at the Hoffmann Kiln

The Hoffmann Kiln at the Craven Lime Works
The Hoffmann Kiln at the Craven Lime Works

Heading for Stainforth from the Craven Lime Works
Heading for Stainforth from the Craven Lime Works

Looking back over Stainforth as we left the village
Looking back over Stainforth as we left the village

Start of the track climbing out of Stainforth
Start of the track climbing out of Stainforth


We followed the road into Stainforth and turned right to follow a walled track that began to climb steeply up the hillside out of the village. We continued to climb away from the village for about 1km with a great view developing behind us out over Ribblesdale.

After about 600m the path led us to the main road (B6479) along Ribblesdale at map ref. SD821669. At the road we turned right to walk along the road for about 200m to a minor road on the right leading into Stainforth village. In a field on the right were some unusual sheep which turned out to be Welsh Balwen Sheep.

Sloes on the blackthorn by the track
Sloes on the blackthorn by the track

Welsh Balwen Sheep at Stainforth
Welsh Balwen Sheep at Stainforth

Highland cattle at the turning to Catrigg Force
Highland cattle at the turning to Catrigg Force

The top of Catrigg Force
The top of Catrigg Force

The top of Catrigg Force
The top of Catrigg Force

At the top of the climb where the track began to make a long bend to the right there is a finger post marking a path to the left to Catrigg Force. We followed this path down to Stainforth Beck at the top of the falls at map ref. SD832670, and sat by the beck with the sound of the falls to eat our lunch. It was a very pretty spot by the tree lined beck and the white water tumbling over the falls. After our break we followed the path through the woods to the foot of the falls.

Catrigg Force on Stainforth Beck
Catrigg Force on Stainforth Beck

Path through the woods down to the foot of Catrigg Force
Path through the woods down to the foot of Catrigg Force

Stainforth Beck at the foot of Catrigg Force
Stainforth Beck at the foot of Catrigg Force

We retraced our steps back up to the walled track that we had climbed from Stainforth and continued along it for another 600m to Upper Winskill farm.

Viewed from below the falls are quite impressive pouring out of a gap in the rocks to plunge into the pool below and spill down a rocky cascade.

Catrigg Force on Stainforth Beck
Catrigg Force on Stainforth Beck

Catrigg Force on Stainforth Beck
Catrigg Force on Stainforth Beck

An erratic boulder on the limestone hillside
An erratic boulder on the limestone hillside

Swaledale ewe keeping a wary eye on us
Swaledale ewe keeping a wary eye on us

The mouth of Victoria Cave
The mouth of Victoria Cave

The track is one route of the Pennine Bridleway and we followed it for about 100m before turning off to the left on a public footpath along the foot of the limestone scar again. After about 300m we came to Victoria Cave above us on our left. We followed the path up the hillside to the mouth of the cave. Loose rocks from the limestone scar above do fall down from time to time so you take a risk entering the cave but it's something that some people choose to do. We sat on the grassy bank in front of the cave for a drink before continuing along the foot of the scar.

Here we turned left to follow the farm access track out to a minor road about 700m away at map ref. SD834659. The areas of limestone pavement here are part of the Winskill Stones Nature Reserve owned and managed by a charity called 'Plantlife'. The land here is open access land and we turned right to walk along the road for about 100m before turning left off the road to follow a footpath along the foot of the limestone scar until we came to a track at map ref. SD837654 near the Jubilee Cave.

Looking over Ribblesdale from the Winskill Stones area
Looking over Ribblesdale from the Winskill Stones area

Pen-y-Ghent, one of the Yorkshire three peaks
Pen-y-Ghent, one of the Yorkshire three peaks

Looking out from the mouth of Victoria Cave
Looking out from the mouth of Victoria Cave

The Warrendale Knots seen from the mouth of Victoria Cave
The Warrendale Knots seen from the mouth of Victoria Cave

Limestone peaks on the south side of Attermire Scar
Limestone peaks on the south side of Attermire Scar

Artillery target on a wartime practice range
Artillery target on a wartime practice range

Cave on the south side of Warrendale Knots
Cave on the south side of Warrendale Knots

There was another cave over to our right which Jim went to investigate and by the path in this area were the remains of heavy cast iron artillery targets used for practice in this remote spot. One fragment records that they are 'Woods targets' from T Richards & Co. We continued along this path down a steep descent to a dry stone wall with a view out over Settle at map ref. SD823641.

After about 1km we came to Attermire Scar. Here the path goes between the high limestone cliff of Attermire Scar on our left and the equally imposing limestone hills of Warrendale Knots on our right. This brought us out into a more open area where we turned right to walk west along the foot of Warrendale Knots.

Artillery targets on a wartime practice range
Artillery targets on a wartime practice range

The path heading east towards Settle
The path heading east towards Settle

The path along the side of a dry stone wall above Settle
The path along the side of a dry stone wall above Settle

The path heading back to Langcliffe
The path heading back to Langcliffe

The whole route had been 10km and it had taken us about five hours to walk including stops to view the Hoffmann Kiln, Catrigg Force and Victoria Cave.

Here we turned right to follow the path along the side of the wall. We continued along this path heading northwards for about 1km where the path turned sharp left and dropped down to the road in Langcliffe next to the church and opposite the car park at the end of our walk.

Langcliffe village at the end of our walk Langcliffe village at the end of our walk

Approaching Langcliffe village near the end of our walk
Approaching Langcliffe village near the end of our walk

Background Notes:
This is a circular walk of about 10km, 6 miles From Langcliffe in Ribblesdale about a mile north of Settle. There's a little car park opposite the village church and the village green and from there we make our way to the Craven Lime Works next to the railway about a mile from Langcliffe. This is the site of a Hoffman kiln, built in 1873, an amazing structure and process. Using this type of kiln towards the end of the 19th century, lime was made on an industrial scale for the first time. Until then it had been burnt in small local kilns mainly for use on the land, but demand for lime in industrial processes from steel & papermaking to sugar refining and chocolate manufacture needed large scale production. The Hoffman kiln consists of a 3m diameter tunnel, oval in plan and about 80m long by about 30m wide. With care you can walk round the tunnel if you wish. This was a continuous process and at a point in the tunnel a mixture of limestone and coal was being burnt whilst ahead of the burning section the tunnel was being filled with more limestone and coal through hoppers in the roof. Behind the burning section men were at work in the hot tunnel amidst the dust and fumes digging out the lime and loading it into railway trucks beside the kiln. The speed and direction of the burning was carefully controlled by a series of flues around the kiln. It would have taken around 6 weeks for the fire to burn right round the kiln and once it was lit the process continued round and round the oval tunnel without a break. There are two other types of kiln on the site and some good information boards to explain everything. From the Craven Lime Works we head for Stainforth and follow a track up to the top of a spectacular waterfall called Catrigg Force. The waterfall is about 100m off the track in a steep sided wooded valley. The falls are about 15m high with a good volume of water spilling over. It's quite a sight, and there's a path from the top of the falls to a viewing area at the bottom of the falls. It's well worth the short detour to see it. From the waterfall we follow a track up to a minor road next to the Winskill Stones Nature Reserve. The site includes an area of limestone pavement. The blocks of limestone are called "clints" and the fissures between the blocks are called "grikes". This limestone pavement was being excavated for garden rockery stone until the site was bought in the mid 1990's by a charity called "Plantlife" after a fundraising effort spear-headed by Geoff Hamilton. We continue along the foot of a long limestone scar with a couple of large caves, first Jubilee Cave and then the larger one, Victoria Cave. There is always the risk of falling rocks at such places, but with care you can take a look inside. There's a good view from the bank in front of the Victoria Cave too. All the way round this walk you get views of Ingleborough, Whenside and Pen-y-gent, the famous Yorkshire 3 Peaks. The route follows a path at the foot of the limestone scar to Attermire Scar, a spectacular craggy limestone peak and several other similar limestone summits above the path. As well as looking at this amazing limestone scenery keep as eye on the ground because this remote area was used for wartime gunnery practice and there are the remains of steel gunnery targets complete with shell holes lying on the ground by the path. The path leads to a short steep descent before returning along the hillside above the River Ribble back to Langcliffe, which incidentally is named after the long limestone scar or cliff above.
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