Nidd Valley Light RailwayTo contents
Trackbed near Wath
Background A short history
A Trip Along The Route Today Photos as the route appears now
Suggested Short Walks and Travel Following the route
Further information Books and sites etc
The Nidd Valley Light Railway started life as a 3ft gauge contractor's railway connecting Pateley Bridge with Angram Reservoir constructed as part of the Bradford Corporation Waterworks project. It was taken over by Bradford Corporation and re-laid to standard gauge opening in 1907. As part of the light railway order the council were required to operate passenger services between Pateley Bridge and Lofthouse with intermediate stations at Wath and Ramsgill. The NVLR had it's own station in Pateley some distance away from the North Eastern Railway station and connected by a goods line across Pateley High Street. Above Lofthouse the line continued as a steeply graded contractors line with a short tunnel at Goyden.
The railway was the only corporation operated passenger light railway in the country
The line was closed to passengers in December 1929 although goods traffic continued until 1936 when Scar House Reservoir was completed with dismantling in the course of 1937.
Today, much remains of the trackbed and stations which are all occupied as private residences. It is worth looking at Google Earth particularly around the Pateley Bridge Station site where the clear indication of the station terminal platforms can be seen and the track work with sidings and engine shed a little way outside Pateley and alongside the river. On close examination even the inspection pit can be located.
The section from Pateley to Ramsgill is visible from the Nidderdale Way which starts near the bridge at Pateley. After passing the houses the old station site comes into view now surrounded by a builders yard. It is difficult to spot where the engine shed would have been but the track bed is clearly visible. The footpath follows very close by until Wath where it veers towards the river. The trackbed is crossed at the end of Gouthwaite Dam and a nearby farm track runs parallel all of the way to Ramsgill. Unfortunately access is not permitted directly on to this section of trackbed as this is part of a nature reserve.
Between Ramsgill and Lofthouse access is sporadic but a short section from the crossing near Sykes Brow can be followed.
Above Lofthouse the trackbed is occupied by a private water authority road. Access is permitted along the road up to the carpark at Scar House passing the tunnel portals at Goyden en-route.
One of the locomotives, Illingworth remains in preservation and is currently undergoing a restoration project
For more history see a blog by Nick Ansell of the NRM Constructing the Scar House Dam
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A trip along the line commencing at Pateley Bridge NER Station and progressing Northwards.
1. Pateley to Wath - Park in Pateley Bridge and the path starts to the High Street side of the bridge and then follows the trackbed on right hand riverbank. Return the same way -3 miles
2. Wath to Ramsgill - Park in lay-by at Wath. Follow path on other side of pack horse bridge across field until reaching Gouthwaite Dam. Then follow track above shore of reservoir to Bouthwaite then Ramsgill returning via road -5 miles
3.Lofthouse to Goyden - Park in Lofthouse and follow private road to Goyden pot and tunnel. Return using footpath on other side of river- 4 miles.
4. Pateley Bridge to Lofthouse - undertake the linear walk of the whole route to Lofthouse Station in the summer when the bus is available for the return (see below)- 6.5 miles linear
5. Circuit of Scar House Reservoir - Park in Scar House carpark and follow Yorkshire Water path - 5 miles
There are several bus services running as part of the DalesBus network. For more information seewww.dalesbus.org
The nearest rail station is Harrogate and the the No 24 bus will give access to Pateley Bridge
Walkers boarding the 821 Nidderdale Rambler outside Lofthouse Station
There are two good books available
Some material is displayed at the Nidderdale Museum located near St Cuthberts Church in Pateley Bridge
A blog by Nick Ansell of the NRM Constructing the Scar House Dam
There are several pictures from inside the tunnel to be seen on the Internet - see flckr
This site was last updated on 01-Sep-2021
©John Carey 2009