Step into one of the best examples of industrial archaeology in the north of England
Your weekend walk with Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com
Giggleswick is a place easily missed with the B6480 by passing the village centre between Settle and the A65. Well known for its independent boarding school it makes for an ideal starting place for exploring Ribblesdale.
Start/Finish: St Alkelda’s Church Giggleswick BD24 0BE
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 3 – 4 hours
Grade: Mainly easy riverside rambling
Map: OS OL2 The Yorkshire Dales Western and southern areas.
From the church turn left along Church Street passing the Black Horse pub and soon after an ancient cross. Turn left onto Belle Hill and walk up to it to the B6480. Cross to the Mains slightly right opposite and enter a residential extension of the village. At the end of the road bear right onto a footpath that runs alongside Woodlands a large house used as holiday accommodation. (So large in fact it is marked on the OS map). The footpath soon after enters woodland. Keep on the broad track for a little under ¼ mile and then just before it bends to the left take a narrow path on the right to descend into meadows. After a ladder stile the path follows a converging course with Stackhouse Lane. After joining it keep ahead to link up with the Ribble Way. As you enter Stackhouse follow the lane as it bends to the right and continue to a white cottage on the right. Just past this the Ribble Way goes off road onto an enclosed farm track leading to the River Ribble at a point where there is a weir. Just before the river turn left onto a riverside path that follows the Ribble upstream for 1 ¼ miles. Just before it reaches a lane the path passes Stainforth Force where the river cascades down a rocky cleft into a wide basin. In autumn this is a place to view one of nature’s greatest spectacles – salmon leaping in an effort to complete their long journey from Atlantic to their spawning grounds only few miles further on. When you reach the lane turn right, cross the bridge and climb up Dog Hill Brow. Soon after crossing the railway meet the B6479 Horton-Settle Road. Turn right for Stainforth.
Stainforth has in order of importance - facilities, a church a pub and several fine buildings – a list that is open to re-ordering according to your needs. It makes a good place for a break. After a bit of a wander return to the B6479 south of the village. In less than 200yds take a footpath on the left which crosses two large pastures with the railway to the right and Stainforth Scar looming to the left. At a fence cross a stile into a wooded area and keep on an obvious path ahead. This winds its way to a path junction close to a plank and handrail bridge. Here go right and soon come to the ruins a triple draw kiln embedded into the side of the hill. A flight of steps alongside this structure will allow you to view the structure from above though there is less to see at least it will give you an idea of its scale.
Impressive enough but go right over the footbridge and clamber down a small drop and you come to a building constructed on a different scale altogether. The long barrow like construction is a Hoffman lime kiln which was built in the second half of the 19th century to exploit the quarried limestone abundant in this area. The building takes its name from the German engineer who patented the design so that lime could be extracted on an industrial scale. Most people’s encounters with lime kilns will know them to be generally small, singular and located in isolated spots – cottage industry kilns. By comparison a Hoffman kiln was massive as this one is which had 22 chambers and was worked day and night by 90 men. What remains is the inner shell which can be examined on the inside by stepping through one of the many entranceways. The effect is startling when looking from one end to the other, like being in a medieval cloister. At the far end there is an information board explaining the site – the Craven Lime Works - which is one of the best examples of industrial archaeology in the north of England.
After spending a happy hour exploring the old works continue south into a wide yard and bear to the left of what were offices to exit the site on a drive that leads to the right under the railway and brings you to the Settle Road. Cross to a footpath to the left of a mill. This places back on the River Ribble leading towards the settlement of Langcliffe. Just before dwellings cross a high wall and then go right to cross the Ribble on a metal footbridge.
Point of Interest
If not replete with wonders from the walk take time to visit Giggleswick School Chapel the domed church at the top of Craven Bank Lane. (You will need to ask at the school’s reception for keys to view its interior.) Built around the turn of the 20th century it has been described as one of the most iconic buildings in Yorkshire.
- Walk checked by the Dotcom Walkers on a rare foray into TOP.