Dent and Howgill Walks Using The Western Dales Bus Services To Contents
Dentdale and the Howgills are one of the best walking areas in the Yorkshire Dales although these days an incursion into Cumbria! Intentionally, the following walks are focused on those which can be attempted from public transport mostly using the S1 Saturday Western Dales Bus service from Dent Station although most can be done as circular walks from a parked car possibly also using the bus service. I have also included expeditions into the Howgills, an area which really deserves a section in its own right and now easily accessible from the bus/train Back to Yorkshire Dales Contents Page
Dent Station on the Settle Carlisle railway line [the highest mainline station in England] lies at the head of the valley and nearly 5 miles from the village it serves! The only bus connection is the Saturday S1 which meets the 0919 northbound service from Leeds (arr Dent 1048). The bus departs the station access road 1053 arriving in Dent village at 1108 and Sedbergh at 1123. The return bus is 1643 from Sedbergh and 1700 from Dent village. There is usually a later return bus in summer. This has to be one of the highest bus stops in the country at 1150ft and certainly the highest bus/rail interchange!
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Important note:- Whilst the author has taken every care in assembling the information on this site, no responsibility can be accepted for any error or omission herein. If in any doubt walkers should always consult the relevant OS map. All timings are approximate and for a person of average fitness and ability.
Equipment: All walks have significant exposure even in Summer. Full equipment including boots, waterproofs, map and compass would be advisable
Maps: Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 19 - Howgill Fells and the Upper Eden Valley 1:25,000 and Outdoor Leisure 2 -Yorkshire Dales- Southern and Western Areas 1:25,000
Weather: The weather forecast and current weather conditions (including cloud level) can be obtained from Metcheck which gives the forecast and current conditions for the nearby Whernside range of hills. Also see Ribblehead weather station up to the minute status of the local weather at nearby Ribblehead. Another useful forecast service for the Yorkshire Dales is provided by the Met Office
Train services: (Mon -Sat) - Normal morning departures from leeds 0747 and 0919 Shipley 0800 and 0932 arriving at Dent at 0916 and 1048. The usual return trains from Dent toward Leeds are 1604, 1732 or last train 1938 [Mon -Sat]. www.northernrailway.co.uk - Leeds-Settle-Carlisle timetable - National Rail enquiries Tel 08457 484950. The station lies nearly 5 miles from Dent village.
The Friends of the Settle and Carlisle Line website covers the historical facts as well as other useful information on guided walks etc. The Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line have two shops located on Settle and Appleby Stations.
Bus Services:- Bus services in this part of rural Cumbria are infrequent but with careful planning there are a surprising number of possibilities whether for walking or just visiting. The best day for travel is Saturday throughout the year particularly when coupled with using the Settle Carlisle railway service but please note that only the Saturday S1 [all year] will provide a connection to Dent station. The bus services can be summarised as follows:-
Western Dales Bus services For timetable information or service updates please see Western Dales Bus.
Woofs of Sedbergh: W1 Sedbergh - Oxenholme - Kendal: runs twice daily Mon-Fri throughout the year except Bank Holidays The W2 and W3 services no longer run.
581 Lancaster - Kirkby Lonsdale - Ingleton - Clapham - Settle: runs Mon - Sat and useful for longer distance walks including Gragareth and Middleton Fells.
Note: The former Stagecoach 502 Kirkby Stephen - Sedbergh - Kendal College is now suspended for use by normal passengers
Unfortunately the former 564 Kendal -Sedbergh-KirkbyStephen service once operated by Cumbria CC has been discontinued since November 2014.
Western Dales Bus now run a total of 4 all year and one summer service. Undoubtedly this is the best way of reaching Dentdale and the Howgills whether from Leeds direction using the Settle Carlisle railway on a Saturday using the S1 service whether to walk or visit the pubs, cafes and heritage centre.
On a Saturday, passengers can now reach Dent and Sedbergh from both the Dent Station and Kendal directions using the S1. From Kendal this gives approximately 6.5hr in Sedbergh and ample time for a decent walk. The main Saturday bus times at the time of writing are 1053 from Dent Station. The return bus to Dent Station is 1643 from Sedbergh. Please consult the timetable for further information at Western Dales Bus
In extreme winter conditions the bus may not be able to reach Dent Station due to the steep road. In these circumstances the bus will usualy wait at the bottom of the hill.
The Western Dales Bus is a success story. Having been threatened with closure by Cumbria CC in April 2011 a rescue package was quickly mounted by Dent Parish Council and the service is currently funded by a consortium of parish councils using volunteer drivers with support from various funds including the Big Lottery and the Friends of the Settle Carlisle line. Watch the video Dent to Cowgill in 2 Minutes taken at the time the service was under serious threat of removal.
Pubs Cafes and Attractions:
Village Heritage Centre is worth a visit whilst in Dent and open from
11.00am until 4.00pm 7 days a week Tel 015396 25800.
Pubs and Cafes -There are two pubs in Dent these being The George and Dragon and the Sun Inn. The George and Dragon is renowned as serving the full range of Dent Brewery ales. The brewery is based in Cowgill at the head of the valley. The Sun Inn is full of character and usually stocks a selection of Kirkby Lonsdale Ales. Both are recommended for a visit whilst waiting for the return bus!
Dent village also two tea rooms on the main street these being Meadowside Cafe and Stone Close. The Dent Heritage Centre also serves refreshments. The General Store is located near the church.
The Sportsman's Inn [015396 25282] in Cowgill - the top end of Dentdale is a hidden gem welcoming walkers and passersby The pub has a good selection of real ales and bar food. Whilst it is always best to phone in advance to check on opening times it is understood that the pub is open most days including afternoons.
There are a four pubs and several cafes in Sedbergh. The Dalesman pub is conveniently situated next to the bus stop. Others are the Red Lion just around the corner on Finkle Street, The Bull at Sedbergh on the Main Street and a recent addition, the Thirsty Rambler on Main Street.
Western Dales Bus Photo Gallery click here
This page was last updated on 15-Mar-2022
© John Carey 2010
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