Ride2Stride : Highway to Ancient Woodland

Ride2Stride is the annual walking festival organised around the Settle-Carlisle railway. The week of events includes walks, talks and music.


ride2stride is a festival of walks, talks and music along the fabulous Settle-Carlisle railway line.

It’s a week long celebration of the wonderful landscape and culture of the western Dales and Eden Valley.

The festival is made up of lots of events and activities and things will be happening along the length of the line. Walks will be led from stations by experienced walk leaders. Speakers will share their local knowledge and love of the area, and the pubs will be buzzing with music and song.

ride2stride is for everyone who loves the Yorkshire Dales. Whether you travel to an event by train, live along the line or book your holiday to take advantage of the festival, we’re sure you’ll have a great time.” [source]

It’s great that so many diverse bodies connected with the railway and the region get together and organise the events and almost all of them free and many run by volunteers. My choice of walk this weekend was today’s :

Highway to Ancient Woodland : A moderately easy circular walk with a steep climb through Settle onto the old highway to Cleatop Park ancient woodland. Features include Settle history, limestone scenery, distant views, conservation measures and beautiful woods. Return on field paths and lanes. A National Park event led by Dales volunteers. NO DOGS. 5.5 miles Easy. Meet at Settle station 10.43 (Leeds 09.47);
Finish c15.30 (Leeds train 15.45)

As we set off in pouring rain we noted that in addition to all of the festival events Settle was the location of the finish line of Friday’s stage of the cycle Tour de Yorkshire which seems to have become an annual spin-off from our actually hosting the Grand Départ in 2014.

tour de yorks 2

Tour de Yorkshire 1

We climbed up out of Settle along part of the King’s Highway and passed the Grade 1 listed Folly Hall built in about 1670 and now a museum and rental accommodation.

The Folly

The Folly, Settle

former toll booth

Former Toll Booth for the King’s Highway

Our route branched off onto the Pennine Bridleway near an old pinfold (sheep pound) now converted to a picnic site.

former sheep pound

Former Pinfold now Picnic Site

We climbed up through fields to eventually rejoin the Highway with great views over the landscape and Settle itself.

west riding reminder

Once upon a time Settle was in the West Riding of Yorkshire and Signposts gave the OS map reference

pennine bridleway

Pennine Bridleway

ancient field patterns

Ancient Field Patterns

settle view

Settle View

limestone outcrops

Typical Landscape with Limestone Outcrops (blue sky peeping through clouds)

kings highway

Back on the King’s Highway

Our route proceeded along the Highway taking in an ancient boundary stone and passing a huge heap of organic paper waste, apparently this is a fairly common sight in the area. I made a quick online search but could find nothing about these spoil heaps.

boundary stone

Boundary Stone between Long Preston and Settle Districts

paper rubbish

Paper Spoil Heap

Pendle hill

Pendle Hill View

ancient woodland

Cleatop Park

Eventually we arrived at the ancient woodland Cleatop now owned by the National Park and managed by the Woodland Trust. The original wood has existed since at least the 13th century when the land was owned by the Dukes of Northumberland – the de Percy family. We ate our picnics in the peaceful woodland which in a week or two will be awash with blue of the bluebells.

entering cleatop

cleatop plan


Leaving the wood we had a further mile or so across fields and along Water Lane to get back to Settle and the station. By now the sun was shining in a lovely blue sky. I always enjoy my Dales walks and this one had the added bonus of Ken Humphris, our leader’s, knowledge and enthusiasm for the area. Thank you, Ken.

perfect day

Calm Afternoon near Settle

watre lane

Water Lane?



3 comments on “Ride2Stride : Highway to Ancient Woodland

  1. Fran says:

    Pleased the sun came out eventually. Such a lovely area. My memories of the Settle to Carlisle line are of my father hanging out of the train window in order to take photos of the train on a curved viaduct. The week’s walking holiday was spent with me revising for O levels every time we stopped!

    • That’s the Ribblehead Viaduct and the guard still always announces it as we approach these days – It’s beyond Settle. Hope you got a good mark for geography – lots of the physical features can be seen in the Dales!

  2. […] Monday I read about the landslip at Eden Brows at Settle Station but I understand that a further two slips […]

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