Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
3:39 PM 9th October 2020

Arts Charity Celebrates the Iconic Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct
Ribblehead Viaduct
This month marks the 150th anniversary of work beginning on the Yorkshire Dales’ most iconic manmade landmark, the Ribblehead Viaduct. Yorkshire Dales’ arts charity Settle Stories is celebrating its history with numerous creative commissions that bring the story of the Viaduct to life for families and young audiences.

The Ribblehead Viaduct is a masterpiece of Victorian engineering. Spanning the wild moorland above Chapel-le-Dale, the Grade II listed structure forms a part of the Settle-Carlisle Railway. The Viaduct was built by 2,300 men who camped for years in nearby purpose-built shanty towns. Thanks to National Lottery players, Settle Stories is marking this anniversary with their new project, Ribblehead 150, which celebrates the rich and varied stories of the viaduct. John Moorhouse, Chair of the Settle Carlisle Railway Development Company, commented:

This has been a great project to celebrate 150 years since the start of work on building the iconic Ribblehead viaduct, an outstanding feature of the famous Settle to Carlisle railway line. There is a fascinating story to tell and what better way than involving all members of the community in the telling!

Through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Settle Stories has commissioned artists to bring the history of this landmark to life for young people. Through interactive experiences, children are invited to explore the 1870s shanty towns. Artists John Hamlett has created a Youtube experience Shanty Life, in which viewers can get a taste of what a navvy’s life was like on this rugged landscape in Victorian times. There is also a Shadow Play, in which puppeteer Lois Conlan captures the rich story of building the viaduct.

The Settle - Carlisle Railway Development Company has funded a Google Tour, allowing families to discover the historical architecture and tour the area from the comfort of their own home. The Google Tour allows audiences to uncover the history of this unique landscape and the famous Settle - Carlisle Railway line with the help of 360° panoramas. Louise Cross, Project Manager of Ribblehead 150, said:

Uncovering the stories of the Ribblehead Viaduct with showstopping local artists has been an absolute privilege. Our commissions will unlock a rich history for the next generation to fall in love with their local heritage.

There are various other commissions audiences can look forward to, including a Touring Library exhibition and a family activity pack. To access these experiences and find more information, please visit:

Settle Stories would like to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Settle - Carlisle Railway Company for funding these projects.