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Dent Head Farm on the dales Way at the head of Dentdale
Dent Head Farm on the dales Way at the head of Dentdale

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Route No. 360 - Thursday 19 August 2010
Dent Station, via Blea Moor
to Ribblehead Station - 11km
Dentdale, Yorkshire Dales . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

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

This is one of Ray Brown's routes and I'm grateful for his contribution. I have not walked this route myself. Frank


<span class="caption">Leaving the Coal Road at map  SD779880 for the track around Gt. Knoutberry
Alternative route: Leaving the Coal Road at map ref. SD779880, for the track around Great Knoutberry

Looking down to Cowgill from the Coal Road near Dent Station
Looking down to Cowgill from the Coal Road near Dent Station

Our route begins with a left turn down the Lea Yeat Brow on leaving Dent Station. The alternative, longer routes instead turn right to begin a mile long stiff climb up the Coal Road before turning right at map ref. SD779880, in order either to skirt or to climb Great Knoutberry Fell before dropping down under the Artengill viaduct to Stone House where our short route is joined.

The pedestrian transition from Dent Station (map ref. SD764874) to Ribblehead station (map ref. SD765789) is a particularly popular walk as it allows the rambler both to stroll high above the Blea Moor tunnel for a mile or more and to travel by rail in the opposite direction (before or after the walk) so completing a loop. There are several alternative walking routes between Dent Station and Stone House on the way to Blea Moor. I'll describe the shortest route, about 11km in total.

Lea Yeat Bridge, the first of several small bridges over the R.Dee
Lea Yeat Bridge, the first of several small bridges over the R.Dee

Artengill viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle railway
Artengill viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle railway

Ferns growing on dead tree over the R. Dee
Ferns growing on a dead tree over the R. Dee

Walkers stopping for lunch on the inviting public bench will soon have their edibles snatched by the intrepid birds. Chicken sandwiches are a particular favourite! Although traffic is light and slow on this winding road we did wear our yellow jackets. From Stonehouse bridge the river was on our right and displayed several small waterfalls. Opposite Bridge End, a white cottage on the left, we crossed the river and headed South along a path which ran parallel with the Dent Head viaduct.

Despite the initially overcast sky the views from the steep descent down the Lea Yeat Brow were spectacular. At the foot is Lea Yeat, neighbour to the hamlet of Cow Gill, where we picked up the river Dee, following the Dales Way route along the road on its West bank past Cow Dub. On our left small bridges over the river serve properties to the east. The majestic Artengill viaduct came into view before we reached Stone House with its notorious voracious hens.

Cascades on the R. Dee
Cascades on the R. Dee

 

Dent Head viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle railway
Dent Head viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle railway

Leaving the road at Bridge End heading for Dent Head Farm
Leaving the road at Bridge End heading for Dent Head Farm

Notice at Dent Head farm
Notice at Dent Head farm

Proceeding through the farmyard we reached a footbridge over Long Gill.

We headed across the field towards a power pole and then found Dent Head farm hidden in a hollow.


Dent Head farm

"Yardbirds" at Dent Head farm
"Yardbirds" at Dent Head farm

Footbridge over Long Gill
Footbridge over Long Gill

North entry to Blea Moor tunnel
North entry to Blea Moor tunnel

Entering the forest on the lower slopes of Blea Moor
Entering the forest on the lower slopes of Blea Moor

We continued to climb steadily South past waterfalls until we found oursleves alongside the North entrance to the railway tunnel. Here the climb began through forest, across a track, more forest and on to the Moor.

Long Gill flowing down from high on Blea Moor
Long Gill flowing down from high on Blea Moor

Looking down the steep climb through the forest to Blea Moor
Looking down the steep climb through the forest to Blea Moor

North air shaft on the Blea Moor tunnel
North air shaft on the Blea Moor tunnel

It led us to a series of three airshafts, ventilating the tunnel.

On the moor the path was always quite evident.

Middle air shaft and Ingleborough beyond
Middle air shaft and Ingleborough beyond

The track across  Blea Moor following the route of the railway tunnel on  the Settle to Carlisle line
The track across Blea Moor following the route of the railway tunnel on the Settle to Carlisle line

Penyghent from the Blea Moor descent
Penyghent from the Blea Moor descent

South air shaft on the Blea Moor tunnel with Whernside beyond
South air shaft on the Blea Moor tunnel with Whernside beyond

Ribblehead Station
Ribblehead Station

At the station we awaited the 4.00 pm train to Dent. The £2.70 ticket seemed good value, bearing in mind the alternative means of returning to the car.

The weather had gradually improved and we lunched in sunshine by the last air shaft. Whernside frowned on us from our right, Ingleborough offered interest from ahead and soon Penyghent would come into view. The path gave way to a muddy track and then a gravel track and before long we were alongside the railway and the Blea Moor signal box. The next feature was the Batty Moss viaduct usually called the Ribblehead viaduct and all that remained was Ribblehead station.


The descent from Blea Moor

Blea Moor signal box on the Settle to Carlisle line
Blea Moor signal box on the Settle to Carlisle line

Batty Moss viaduct Ribblehead on the Settle to Carlisle line
Batty Moss viaduct at Ribblehead on the Settle to Carlisle line