CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today CLICK HERE

Five reasons to love Settle

PUBLISHED: 13:58 11 August 2014 | UPDATED: 15:06 11 October 2018

Settle, Yorkshire Dales

Settle, Yorkshire Dales

© Dave Porter / Alamy

People have been living at Settle on the banks of the Ribble since at least Anglo-Saxon times and down the years it has had a long list of incarnations from isolated farming community via market place, quarrying centre to mill town and now it has reinvented itself as a major tourist hub for the Yorkshire Dales. In recent centuries much of its wealth derived from wool and cotton though these days you will find them spinning a very different kind of yarn as it puts itself on the world story-telling map but there is plenty to draw visitors to its stately market square and streets all year round.

1. Tall Tales

Telling stories is one of Man’s oldest activities, going back to long dark nights around the communal fire and crops up in almost every culture. The Settle Storytelling Festival has quickly established itself as a major event of national and even international importance. Although just five years old, it draws tellers – and listeners – from around the world. This year’s performers include American Jerry Harmon, who has performed alongside the likes of pneumatic country and western singer Dolly Parton.

With more than 40 events spread over the festival weekend the organisers plan to have something for everyone, from bedtime stories for children, who are invited to turn up in their pyjamas and to bring their teddy bears, through to tales to enthral even the most jaded adults. And for those who want to have a go themselves there are storytelling workshops too.

This year’s festival runs from October 10-12 and full details can be found on www.settlestories.org.uk

2. All Aboard

These days the town is inextricably linked with the Settle-Carlisle railway line, which is a great way to arrive in town. Today the line, which weaves its way through the Yorkshire Dales National Park and on into Cumbria is so popular with visitors that it is hard to believe that only a couple of decades ago that it was threatened with permanent closure. This year the town, along with rail campaigners across the country, have been celebrating the 20th anniversary of its reprieve.

Back in the 1980s it was said that the quarter-mile-long Ribblehead viaduct that still carries the line more than 100ft above the Ribble on 25 huge stone arches was crumbling and would cost too much to repair, But in the face of protests the line was given a new lease of life and today it is a popular attraction in its own right and still part of the national rail network.

3. Tiniest Gallery

Most galleries boast of their vast halls and huge collections but Settle proudly claims the world’s smallest. It fits, quite literally, into a telephone box. When the traditional red box in Upper Settle was decommissioned in early 2009 it was bought by the town council who then had to decide what to do with it and so The Gallery on the Green was born.

Since then it has staged countless exhibitions by artists from the surrounding area and across the country, all captivated by the idea of showing their work in a unique venue. It’s a bit of hike up there from the town centre but there is no need to check opening times. As well as believing they have the smallest gallery the town reckons it is the only one that never closes. Ever.

4. Step Out Shopping

Settle was given its market by King Henry III in 1249 and it is still being held every Tuesday, making it a focal point for shoppers. The town has also been spared the attentions of most of the large chains, though there is a supermarket tucked away behind the High Street. But for the most part the town centre is still the province of small local retailers many of whose names have been over the same doors for generations. And while it may not have a candlestick maker to go with the butchers and bakers it does still have one of the last clog makers at Nelson’s in Duke Street, where they can make you bespoke boots and shoes from any period.

5. Great Outdoors

Walkers and cavers have long congregated around Settle to hike in the Three Peak country and explore its potholes. They have now been joined by rock climbers whose sport is enjoying a renaissance in the area. But the biggest group of newcomers is cyclists, both on and off road. The newly-created 205-mile Pennine Bridleway passes through the town as does the 170-mile coast-coast Way of the Roses ride but there are lots of shorter circuits. The town is also the start and finish of the new Wainwright Pennine Journey which retraces guidebook writer Alfred Wainwright’s pre-war walk to Hadrian’s Wall and back.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Art is just one of the many attraction on offer in this busy Lakeland town.

Read more
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Garstang is a lovely old market town and the perfect place to walk off the Christmas dinner. John Lenehan reports

Read more
Thursday, November 29, 2018

Christmas traps many people indoors so it is nice to get out into the wild and breathe in some fresh air. The Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright finds a hidden corner where you can look out for lots of birds

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

This pretty coastal town has an irresistible pulling power for people wanting to set up their own business and that’s good news for locals and visitors

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

This Lancashire city is transforming itself into a centre for the best food and drink, hospitality and heritage

Read more
Preston
Friday, November 16, 2018

With the West Pennine Moors and the summits of Rivington Pike and Winter Hill right on its doorstp, Bolton has plenty of options for walkers.

Read more
Bolton
Monday, November 12, 2018

Lytham Hall was the spectacular setting for a glittering weekend of steam engines, tractors, cars and family fun.

Read more

Barrowford is one of Lancashire’s most stylish towns but it also has some quirky tales to tell

Read more

The busy West Lancashire village of Parbold scores highly for natural beauty and community spirit

Read more

The two-and-a-half year initiative to preserve the remains of the copper mines.

Read more
Coniston
Thursday, November 8, 2018

Books by Lancashire writer Paula Daly are being filmed in the Lakes by the Broadchurch team for a six-part TV drama starring Rochdale’s Anna Friel

Read more
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Fact and fiction merge to create a tale of murder and kidnap in a novel based on Rufford Old Hall by National Trust volunteer Margaret Lambert

Read more

Liverpool has always buzzed, even in its darker days, but today it’s booming, and underpinning the resurgence are institutions with roots deep in the Merseyside soil

Read more
Liverpool
Friday, November 2, 2018

With carpets of damp fallen leaves and rotting deadwood covering woodlands, autumn is the time when fungi of all shapes and sizes thrive. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Molly Toal explores the mushroom kingdom.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search