Ingleton is the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, close to Ingleborough, one of the Three Peaks. Famous for the Waterfalls Trail, White Scar Caves, Gaping Gill, the Viaduct.

Not strictly in Ribblesdale, Ingleton is close enough to be included in this section. It is a popular starting point to climb Ingleborough and there are lovely caves and potholes, including the White Scar Caves and Gaping Gill, created by erosion of the local limestone, to be explored.

In brief

  • Plenty of places to stay and eat
  • Popular starting point to climb Ingleborough
  • White Scar Caves, including Britain’s longest show cave, is closeby
  • Gaping Gill, a huge pothole and the country’s longest unbroken waterfall, just outside the village
  • Settle to Carlisle Railway and the Ribblehead viaduct a short distance away
  • Lovely Waterfalls Trail along the River Twiss & River Doe.

A bit of history

The briefest search explains why people settled at Ingleton. At the base of Ingleborough and sheltered by it, the town sits on one of the main East-West routes across the Pennines, a route used from Iron Age and Roman times. The remains of an Iron Age fort, just rubble now, still exists at the top of Ingleborough.

Coal was mined here in the past, and quarries developed to extract the sought-after Yorkshire stone, widely used locally. The mines have long closed but quarrying persists with Yorkshire stone still very much in demand. The first Hoffman Kiln was built at Ingleton and can still be seen in Mealbank quarry, the site of a conservation park. In common with other towns in the area, cotton mills were built at Ingleton. None remain, and even the water mills that once powered them have disappeared.

Farming was also a key part of the local industry and remains strong today. Tourism also started to develop with the coming of the railway.

Ingleton today

Tourism is vital to the area with large numbers of visitors coming to Ingleton to enjoy the lanscapes, the Three Peaks, the Waterfalls Trail and, especially, the spectacular natural wonders of the White Scar Cave and Gaping Gill.

Ingleton viaduct

Ingleton Viaduct © Copyright <a href="">Ben Gamble</a> and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Building of the Viaduct was started 1858 although the foundations had been laid some years before. 40 men worked on the 800 yard, 10 arched bridge, without death or serious injury. Impressive when compared to the, albeit much larger, Ribblehead Viaduct. It was completed in 1860 and immediately became embroiled in a major corporate battle.

The powerful London & North Western Railway and its ambitious rival, the Midland Railway fought bitterly over the route north to Carlisle and Ingleton was the front line. The LNWR built its own, and Ingleton’s second, station at the far end of the Viaduct when it failed to reach agreement to use Midland’s station.

The bickering between the two companies disrupted travel and angered customers who never knew which station they should go to or get off at. Eventually the Midland had enough and built its own route north, creating the now famous Settle to Carlisle railway line.

Waterfalls Trail

Thornton Force, Ingleton © Copyright <a href="">Val Vannet</a> and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
A well defined 4.5 mile walk through fabulous countryside, woodlands and past a series of spectacular waterfalls. The route goes out along the River Twiss and back along the River Doe, and takes between 2 & 4 hours depending how fast you walk. There’s a cost – £5.00 per adult, £2.00 for a child although there are family tickets available. But the car park is large and you’ll also find a cafe, gift shop, picnic areas and toilets (although there are no toilets around the walk itself).

Find out more:

White Scar Caves

The White Scar Caves are a series of spectacular caves formed over millions of years by water eroding the soft limestone in the Ingleton area. The caves were discovered by Christopher Long in 1923 and first opened to the public in 1925. The Battlefield Cavern is the largest show cave in Britain.

The Caves are open from February to October, from 10am. It costs £8.50 per adult and £5.50 for children between 3 & 15 (under 3s are free), and all visits are guided. At the caves you’ll also find car parking, a cafe, a visitor centre, picnic areas and toilets.

Find out more: White Scar Caves website

Gaping Gill

Gaping Gill, Ingleborough, in the Yorkshire Dales, from the surface.
Gaping Gill is a massive pothole in the side of Ingleborough created by erosion of the limestone over millennia. A stream still cascades through Gaping Gill, forming the largest unbroken waterfall in England, before rushing into a huge labyrinth of underground caves.

Exploration is normally reserved for experienced cavers & potholers, but twice a year the cavern under Gaping Gill can be visited by tourists. During the spring and autumn bank holidays, Bradford Pothole Club and Craven Pothole Club sets up a winch and, for a fee, you too can enjoy the spectacular underground world.

Find out more: Craven Pothole Club website

Ingleton accommodation

The village has plenty of bed and breakfast accommodation. Here’s a few that you might consider.

Pubs & Hotels

The Wheatsheaf Hotel

Bed & Breakfast

Bridge End Guest House
Ingleborough View Guest House
Inglenook Guest House
Riverside Lodge
The Pines Country House
Thorngarth Country Guest House

If you have accommodation available in Ingleton and would like it listed here, contact me with details.

Photos of Ingleton

Photos in and around Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales, including the Waterfalls Trail and Gaping Gill.

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