Nestling between the Pennines to the east and the Howgill fells to the west is Dentdale, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Dentdale has its own brewery and is notable for having the highest train station in the country (actually in Cowgill, 4 miles from Dent village!), one of the stops on the famous Settle-Carlisle railway.
The village of Dent is steeped in history, from its cobbled streets to its twelfth century church with altar flagstones made from lustrous black Dent marble. It was home to geologist Adam Sedgwick who is said to have discovered the Dent Fault. At Cambridge University he field-trained Charles Darwin in the fundamentals of geology prior to Darwin's legendary expedition of discovery on his ship HMS Beagle.
Another of Dent’s claims to fame are the Terrible Knitters of Dent: visitors can find out more about them at the Dent Village Heritage Centre. Today’s Dent is a peaceful, calm place, with hidden surprises tucked away such as blacksmith Lucy Sandys-Clarke and the Meditation Centre.
Just down the road from Sedbergh, is the restored Victorian woollen mill, Farfield Mill Arts, Crafts and Heritage Centre. It’s a hive of creativity with a gallery, artists’ workshops, café, and regular creative craft demonstrations. Plenty of places describe themselves as a "hidden gem". Farfield Mill is truly deserving of the description. The Mill weaves textiles on heritage looms for artisan producers in the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria. It is believed to be the last working wool mill in the Yorkshire Dales. It also has a floor of hand looms where visitors are encouraged to have a go.
Traditional English comfort food is available in Sedbergh but there's a more contemporary offering too that few expect. The Dales are not known as a destination for more exotic dishes but is likely to change as the Supper Club at the Malabar develops. Fiona and Graham put their years living in Mumbai to good use, offering pop up Indian food evenings in a stunning setting. Artisan Markets and other food-related events in Sedbergh mean there's no shortage of gourmet reasons to visit.
For some time, Sedbergh was one of those very pleasant places you might stop off at en route between the Lakes and Dales. Now it's very definitely worth a visit in its own right. It's small but perfectly formed, and there are at least three very good reasons to spend some time there.
Sedbergh has increasingly become a destination for those with more sedate hobbies. Sedbergh became England's Book Town in 2003. There are many fascinating second-hand and specialist bookshops to browse in as well as several great cafés and other shops. Within Westwoods alone there are around 70,000 books to choose from. Several of the cafes also sell books.
The stone-built market town of Sedbergh is a great base for walkers exploring the Howgill Fells. Also, Cautley Spout waterfall can be seen from the A683, set against the Howgill Fells just outside Sedbergh. It's only when you get closer, you realise that it's actually a series of narrow waterfalls, tumbling about 650 feet.
Archaeologists have found the houses and fields of an Iron Age farming community in the valley below, with a stone-edged track from the settlement to the falls. It appears that Cautley Spout may have had some special significance to these former inhabitants. Nowadays Cautley Spout acts as a magnet for visitors seeking a short walk that justifies a trip to the pub afterwards.
This independent not-for-profit website was created using recommendations from Dales insiders' - people who live in, and love the Yorkshire Dales.
Copyright Susan Briggs 2021
The Tourism Network
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Love letter to the Yorkshire Dales