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Things to do in Settle, North Yorkshire

One of the characteristic streets of Settle © Willemina Venema

Settle is a small North Yorkshire market town on the B6480. It is on the edge of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park, between Skipton and Kendal.

Settle was probably a community even in the 7th century as the word "settle" has Anglian origins. After William the Conqueror's defeat of King Harold in 1066, the king subdued any potential unrest or uprisings in a campaign known as the "Harrying of the North" which took place between 1069 and 1070.

Large scale destruction to end the semi-independence of these northern lands established Norman control but inflicted a terrible toll in lives lost and settlements razed. Even in 1086, Settle and the surrounding area were listed in the Domesday Book simply as a wasteland.

In 1248 things looked more promising and Henry de Percy was granted a market charter. The medieval town was restructured with a market place and a main road running down Albert Hill and along Victoria Street, High Street and Cheapside as they are now known. The road then continued to Giggleswick, where Settle residents had to attend church.

The first bridge over the River Ribble was recorded in 1498. During the English Civil War in the 17th century, the Clifford family who were the Lords of the Manor were Royalist but Settle inhabitants supported Oliver Cromwell. They welcomed Cromwell and his troops as they progressed towards Lancaster.

During the Industrial Revolution, Settle had several cotton spinning mills. Some were owned by John Proctor and he built the workers' cottages in Lower Kirkgate, now known as Proctor's Row. By 1835 five mills employed 333 people in the area.

In 1849, Settle was connected to Giggleswick by railway and in 1875 the famous Settle to Carlisle Railway was completed.


Present Day Settle

Settle currently has around 2,500 residents. The main street is lined with stone cottages and houses, some of which are shops serving the local community. Family-owned craft shops, tearooms, butchers, grocers and hardware stores serve the local community. On Tuesday the market place still hosts the weekly market.

The railway station is in the centre of the town and the Northern Rail Line from Settle to Carlisle through the Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales is considered one of the most scenic rail journeys in England.

The swift-running Malham Tarn which once powered the cotton mills is now used as a hydroelectric scheme for Settle Hydro.


Things to do in Settle

Settle is well located for visitors wanting to enjoy the scenic Yorkshire Dales on foot, bicycle, horseback or by car. For hill walkers, it is just a few miles from the Three Peaks: Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent. The Three Peaks Challenge requires walkers to climb all three peaks within 12 hours, a total of 24 tough miles (38 km).

Other local beauty spots are Castlebergh, a huge limestone crag above the town, and Malham Tarn with its unusual geological pavement.

Victoria Cave was where the remains of mammoth, bear, reindeer and hippopotamus, all now extinct from the area, were discovered on the day Queen Victoria was crowned in 1837. The Museum of North Craven Life has many of the discoveries on display.

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Images of Settle


Tourist Information Centre © Willemina Venema

Interactive Map of Settle



 
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