Take a Trip on the Settle-Carlisle Railway

Ribblehead Viaduct

There’s always something to do in the Yorkshire Dales, even if the weather is a little bit inclement. Taking a trip on a train can be thrilling for children of all ages. Most little ones will love the journey itself, especially if they don’t travel by train very often.Paddington Bear was found at a train station, so you never know what you might find in a rural train station in the Yorkshire Dales! For adults, a trip through breath taking countryside might just be the ticket.

Just 3 miles from Layhead is the start of the Settle-Carlisle railway line. Part of the journey crosses the famous and historic Ribblehead viaduct. The area around the viaduct was home to a thousand navvies and their families who built it between 1870 and 1874, establishing shanty towns named after Crimean War victories, well-to-do districts of London and biblical names.

There are 11 stations along the Settle-Carlisle Railway, so if you didn’t want to do the full journey to Carlisle, you could hop off at one of the towns on route. The line and its stations have been designated a conservation area ensuring its continued use and work continues to regenerate the line and preserve its future.

Carlisle Castle (photo English Heritage)

Carlisle,where the train terminates, is a 2000-year-old border city between England and Scotland. It is full of rich heritage and has become a popular shopping destination with something for everyone. Carlisle is also famous for Hadrian’s Wall, the Cathedral and Tullie House.

Cursing Stone (photo by Tuille House Museum)

Carlisle cathedral is open daily from 7:30 to 6:15. Surrounded by history,this makes for a fascinating visit, with stained glass windows, painted ceilings and medieval paintings.

Tullie House Museum is wonderful for young and old alike. There are stunning galleries, replicas of a Roman street and an Edwardian railway carriage.  Underground is the Millennium Gallery which opened in 2001. It has a beautiful collection of local crystals and there is also a granite walkway which links Tullie House to Carlisle Castle.

Standing strongly in the city it has dominated for nine centuries, Carlisle Castle was a constantly updated working fortress until well within living memory. Now its rich and varied visitor attraction reflects its long and eventful history. Today the castle still plays a prominent role in Cumbria as one of the best-loved landmarks. With Border Reivers tours, the picnic area, a unique gift shop and being so close to Hadrian’s Wall, the Castle makes for a full family day out.

Hadrian’s Wall (photo by http.hadrianswallcountryco.uk)

Hadrian’s Wall, the famous Roman barrier,is one of Britain’s most popular long distance paths. It extends 118km (73 miles) across the beautiful North of England, from the North Sea to the Irish Sea. A trip to Hadrian’s Wall might inspire you to plan an adventure walking the length of the wall.  We can highly recommend this if you fancy a trip through history, visiting the ruins of roman villas and forts and some jaw-dropping scenery on the way.


If you just fancy a shopping trip, the Carlisle centre is only a five minute walk from the train station with an extensive range of shops to choose from and there are plenty of café’s restaurants and pubs to dine out in.

At the end of the day, you can hop back on the train and watch the beautiful scenery as you rest your weary legs after a full day out.

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Underground Adventure

Descending Gaping Gill

If you are looking for adventure near Layhead, we have just the thing. Twice a year it is possible to descend Gaping Gill, a large pothole on the southern slopes of Ingleborough.  Gaping Gill is a 98-metre (322 ft) deep and it was in 1895 when Gaping Gill was fully descended for the first time by the French speleologist Edouard Alfred Martel.  Today you are winched down in a specially adapted chair at the cost of £15 per person. Helmets and waterproofs can be borrowed at no extra cost.  It is said locally that there is no cost to be winched down, but if you wish to return to the surface again you pay £15!

You can spend as long as you like in Gaping Gill exploring the cavern, and looking for fossils hidden in the walls.

To reach Gaping Gill there is a splendid 3 mile walk through the Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail past the lake through woodland.  Look out for the wild flowers and interesting shrubs and trees which have been collected from all over the world by noted botanist Reginald Farrer. Part of the fun could be having a picnic by the stream on the way up or down the trail or visit Ingleborough Caves. The children will have great fun scrambling over the rocks at Trow Gill on the way up. As there is only one winch, an early start is recommended so you don’t have to queue for too long , and pre-booking is not possible either.

Every year the dates are a week at May Bank holiday and August Bank holiday so the next date is 26th August 2017.


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A Walk on the Wild Side

Many of you come and stay at the cottages so that you can take part in a walking challenge many of which are undertaken to raise money for charities.  The most well known of these is the Three Peaks Challenge which takes in Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside – the Yorkshire Three Peaks.  It is a 26 mile walk which has to be completed in less than 12 hours.

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Taking the Biscuit

Homemade Oat Biscuits at Layhead

We love welcoming our guests with a few special treats to start their stay with us here at Layhead. We do try to buy our produce as local as possible but there are some things that are best homemade.

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Going Loop the Loop Around Settle

View looking back to Stockdale on the Settle Loop route

The recent dry weather has meant that a lot of keen walkers staying at Layhead  have made the most of it. Only a couple of weeks ago we had a group walking The Three Peaks – Ingleborough, Pen-Y-Ghent and Whernside.  Three Peaks in 12 hours (or under) is not for the faint-hearted!

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Clever Friends

Linda Mellin (photo courtesy of Yorkshire Life)

It’s great to have talented friends!  My friend Linda Mellin from Hellifield has recently won Yorkshire Life Landscape Painter of the Year – 2016

Read Linda’s story it in the May 2017 edition of Yorkshire Life.

Linda’s prints and originals are showing at AC Gallery at Skipton.  The exhibition opens on Saturday 20th May.

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Festival of Happiness

There’s a fabulous event coming up in Settle, just 3 miles from Layhead Farm Cottages next May Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 27 May. The Festival of Happiness.  Makes me feel happy just thinking about it!

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