Lancashire TelegraphSettle walk (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Settle walk

Lancashire Telegraph: Settle walk Settle walk

For Lancastrians who do not mind risking the occasional visit to Yorkshire then strolls around the market town of Settle will take a lot of beating.

One of my favourites is from the centre of Settle to Longcliffe and then around some of the most famous caves to be found anywhere in England.

Between Settle and Malham lies upper Ribblesdale and there are many circular strolls of interest which are short enough for all to enjoy including families and walkers of all ages.

One good stroll is around Straiforth, another round Airton and this excellent ramble from the centre of Settle.

Settle and Giggleswick are divided by the River Ribble and the two settlements could not be more of a contrast.

Settle was an Anglican settlement while Giggleswick was formed at the time of the Vikings.

Settle developed into the market town while Giggleswick has its ancient church which was the old parish church for this area of the Ribble Valley.

There are two links between the two places, the first being a bridge and the second being the origins of the church.

This is dedicated to St Alkelda who was an Anglo-Saxon princess, who was murdered by Danes in the ninth Century.

The latter converted to Christianity and hence the dedication linking the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings.

From the centre of Settle keep the shambles to the right.

This row is now an excellent place to stop, but as its name implies it was the base for butchers and their slaughterhouse.

In the 18th and 19th centuries it must truly have been a shambles.

From Constitution Hill a steep track leads on to the limestone hills. Continue straight ahead.

Approach Blua Crags with the crags themselves to the right and a mixed plantation of trees to the left.

This is the place to enjoy panoramic views of the Dales mountains, especially Pen-y-ghent which is directly ahead.

There is a ladder stile on the left but ignore this and pass through a gate and ignore a rugged path to the right which leads to Malham.

Enter and pass through the Clay Pits Plantation and away to the left is the interesting village of Longcliffe, which means just that – a long cliff.

Longcliffe Hall was owned by the Danson family, the most famous member being Geoffrey who was editor of the Times Newspaper from 1912 to 1919 and again from 1922 to 1941.

He is reputed to have carried out lots of secret work during the early years of the Second World War.

From the Clay Pits Plantation bear right and as the track starts to descend to the right take a short diversion to Victoria Cave.

Victoria Cave is now one of the most famous caverns in England.

In May 1838 Michael Horner and a group of friends were out hunting with their dogs, when one animal entered what they thought to be a fox hole.

When they began to dig the dog out they exposed the huge cave which was full of bones.

These were no ordinary bones, but those of the straight-tusked elephant, woolly hippopotamus, slender nosed rhinoceros and other animals which existed in the period just before the Ice Ages.

Later warmer climate (but still freezingly cold) other animals were present including dog, reindeer arctic fox, sheep and badger.

Also found by means of organised days were human artefacts dating from the period of the Romans.

From the Victoria Cave the path descents steeply into the Attermire Area where there are other caves.

The track bears right with Warrendale knotts to the right.

Continue ahead to meet the track leading to Blua Crags and turn right to return to the centre of Settle.

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