Ingleborough and Simons Fell via Great Douk Cave

Walk 13- By car or train from Ribblehead: A circular walk taking in Great Douk Cave, Ingleborough (723m), Simons Fell (650m) and Park Fell (563m) summits- 10 miles - 5 hours Back to Ribblehead

Simons Fell Cairn Park Fell trig point

Start from Ribblehead station and turn left at main road in front of the Station Inn. Immediately after the rail bridge turn left up the access road to Ribblehead Quarry Nature Reserve. Turn right and passing through the nature reserve gates near the information board bear left following waymarks across the quarry floor eventually climbing around the side of the quarry [all way-marked] through a gate around the top of the quarry to a further new gate in the drystone wall, this being the quarry boundary. Pass through the gate taking the opportunity of seeking out the remains of a Viking Farmstead located in a slightly elevated position to the right and within the Limestone karst.

There are three buildings one of these being a long house, some 15m long, with two smaller buildings one of these being the kitchen [see below]. The site is on slightly elevated land not far from the gate and above the karst.

Viking long-house just above Ribblehead Quarry Great Douk pothole


The pasture is now designated as access area. Cross the rough open pasture [no actual path] bearing diagonally right and taking a bearing due west and to the right of of Park Fell. A stile should eventually be spotted in the wall. Crossing the stile and a further stile proceed with the wall on the left hand side. After this point some way marks have been conveniently installed by English Nature. These can be followed almost in a straight line albeit there is a slight dogleg through a gate eventually arriving at Great Douk Cave. This is actually a large hole in the ground with some further pot holes leading from it plus a waterfall. The scene is very impressive!. Despite the initial appearance there is a stile and a steep ramp leads down to the floor of the pothole with care. From here it is possible to investigate the waterfall and the further pothole used by the cavers complete with winch system and ladders.

Southerscales and Simons Fell Simons Cairn looking towards Park Fell and Whernside

From Great Douk Cave continue to the main Hill Inn to Ingleborough Path. The path has been greatly improved with stone steps replacing tedious timber boarding walkways. Upon reaching the ridge pass through the Natural England nature reserve gate for the final ascent to the summit plateau and wind Break. From the wind break at the summit retrace steps to the nature reserve gate. Upon reaching the gate bear right keeping the wall on the right hand side (in fact following the ridge). This gains height to the true summit of Simons Fell (650m) but the most interesting bit is beyond as the path drops and passes through a gate. Turn right along the ridge and proceed towards the cairn crossing a wall enroute. The views from here are excellent. From the cairn retrace steps and follow the natural contour to Park Fell picking up Natural England waypoints enroute eventually reaching the trig point.

From the trig point pass through a stile and bear right to descend very steeply down the grassy slope to reach a stone stile [with part of the steps missing]. After crossing the stile bear diagonally left eventually to meet a wall at the left hand side of the field. Follow the wall downhill for 300m or so until a stile is reached. Climb over the stile and proceed now with the wall on the right to pass through farm access two gates. A little further on is the access gate into the quarry and the Nature Reserve. Follow the waymarks back to the quarry gates and thence by the access road down to the Station Inn.

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.

©John Carey 2010

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This page was last updated on 13-May-2020