England’s highest mainline railway station


Date:  March 2014


  • Luxury self-catering holiday accommodation in a classic Victorian station
  • Historic stone-built ‘Snow Huts’ also now available
  • Dent Station - on the border of Cumbria & Yorkshire - England’s highest mainline railway station

Opened in 1876, the Settle to Carlisle railway was a feat of engineering that crossed some of the highest and remotest parts of the country to link England with Scotland - but less than a hundred years later it was threatened with closure.

DS01 Station - 72dpi DS01 Kitchen - 72dpi Dent Station kitchen - formerly the ladies waiting room
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DS01 Steam train - cropped - 72dpi The Cumbrian Mountain Express steam train passing Dent Station
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DS01 Kids and Train - 72dpi Young steam enthusiasts enjoying their holiday
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Dent Station - holiday at England’s highest mainline railway station
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DS01 Snow Hut - 72dpi The historic stone-built ‘Snow Huts’
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DS01 Snow hut kitchen - 72dpi


A Snow Hut kitchen - enjoy the comforts of modern day living
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The fight to save this iconic 73 mile route was led by a band of local supporters - Friends of the Settle - Carlisle Line (FOSCL) http://www.foscl.org.uk/) - who persuaded Michael Portillo the then Transport Minister and now celebrated railway traveller, to act against its closure.  See historical background below.

Situated on this legendary railway line some eight miles north of the famous 24 arch Ribblehead Viaduct, Dent is England's highest mainline railway station.  Its classic Victorian station building has been sympathetically restored and is now available as luxury holiday accommodation.  Sleeping six, it is especially suitable for families.

Also within the land surrounding the station are three stone built ‘Snow Huts’ which have also been renovated to the highest standards and available for short breaks.

Dent Station
Dent Station is a noted and prominent feature of the line.  Built in 1887 the station’s main building was purchased in 2006 by the current owner, Robin Hughes, a chartered surveyor with a love of railways and the great outdoors, who has carefully restored it to its original Midland Railway glory.  The end result has been recognised by both a National Railway Heritage Award and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Tourism and Leisure Award.

The property is equipped to the highest standards as a rural holiday retreat and benefits from modern features such as underfloor heating, while retaining all the original features including open fires and a Rayburn.

The luxuriously appointed accommodation comprises three bedrooms, a large sitting room and a kitchen/dining room which was formerly the ladies waiting room.  A spiral staircase links to an upstairs bedroom and the former porter’s room is now a third bedroom.  Solar panels and a rainwater recycling system are part of Dent’s environmental credentials.

The Snow Huts
In addition to the station building, three historic Snow Huts are located just 100 yards ‘down the line’.  Occupying a low, thick stone-walled building, the Snow Huts provide the perfect retreat for couples or young families.

Formerly providing shelter for 15 navvies working on the railway during the winter, this rare Grade II Listed property provides a distinctly different self-catering experience.  Where track workers once sheltered from the driving snow and often ate and slept there for weeks at a time, guests can now enjoy the creature comforts of modern day living.  Underfloor heating and a central brick fireplace provide more than enough warmth, while a contemporary kitchen, marble lined bathroom, beautiful leather sofas and crisp white linen create the perfect escape - a far cry from their historic use!

Holidays at Dent
This is a holiday destination that will not only attract those who want to get away from it all, but want to do so in style.  It is the perfect vantage point from which to take in some of the Dales’ most breathtaking scenery and for watching nature at large.  It’s also ideal if you have a passion for railways, and the perfect base from which to explore on foot, bike, train or car.

Occupying an acre of land alongside the railway line that weaves its way from the infamous Blea Moor Tunnel four miles away, Dent station sits 1,150 ft above sea level.  Steam trains run on the line during weekends, and it’s even possible to arrive at your holiday destination by train, around 4 hours from London.

Around five passenger trains in each direction link Carlisle and Leeds and stop at Dent daily, and the line is regularly used by freight trains.  Dent Station is a great place from which to explore the Dales by train, with seven-day rover tickets affording access to the surrounding towns and villages, while the trip from Settle to Carlisle is regarded as one of the most scenic and quintessential railway journeys in the world.  Dent village itself is around four miles down the valley and has its own brewery, and Appleby, Hawes, Hornby, Ingleton, Kendal, Leyburn, Sedburgh and Settle are close by.

With all the luxury and comfort of modern living and a good measure of romantic nostalgia thrown in, these holiday homes are a must for those who love the great outdoors.  A week’s stay at the station starts from £800, and for the Snow Huts from £400.

Dent Station and its Snow Huts featured on the BBC TV programme ‘Michael Portillo’s Bradshaw’s Guide’
Click here to view  http://bit.ly/bT79cV and watch from 19mins 7 secs

For more information please contact the owner on 07824 665266, by e-mail: dentstation@btinternet.com or visit www.dentstation.co.uk

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Settle - Carlisle railway - historical background
2014 marks the celebration of 25 years since the Settle to Carlisle trans-Pennine route, one of Britain’s most picturesque and challenging railway lines, was saved from closure by the then Transport Minister, and now celebrated railway traveller, Michael Portillo.

By May 1970 all stations except for Settle and Appleby West were closed, and the passenger service was cut to two trains a day in each direction.  The fight against the closure of this iconic 73 mile (117 kms) route was led by Friends of the Settle - Carlisle Line (FOSCL) http://www.foscl.org.uk/), who, in addition to much lobbying of bureaucrats, demonstrated their willingness to make it work by renovating and maintaining the stations along the line.

In 1866 Parliament passed a bill authorising the then Midland Railway to build the line from Settle to Carlisle.  This would allow their trains to run through from their London terminal, St Pancras, via Carlisle to Scotland, without the need to co-operate with their arch competitor, the London North Western Railway (LNWR), which operated what is now known as the West Coast Route to Scotland, and had placed every obstacle in the way of the Midland Railway’s Scottish ambitions.

Building started in 1869 and took seven years to complete. It was a massive challenge for the chief engineer, John Crossley a veteran of many Midland projects, and his army of 6,000 workers, who had to live and work in the mountains, marsh and moorland.  Building viaducts, cuttings, bridges, culverts and tunnels, they only had hand tools and wheelbarrows, candles and oil lamps for lighting, and donkeys and horses to assist.  The privations were many, not least the weather, with an average rainfall at the highest point of 92 inches, much of it as snow.  The remains of one camp - Batty Green - where over 2,000 navvies lived and worked, can be seen near Ribblehead.  The total number of deaths among workers is unknown, but over 80 died at Batty Green following a smallpox epidemic.

The line’s summit, 1,169ft (356m) is at Ais Gill, which is the highest point reached by mainline trains in England. 14 tunnels and 22 viaducts were built using locally quarried stone.  Most notable are the 24 arch Ribblehead Viaduct, which is 104ft (32m) high and 1,320ft (402m) long, and Blea Moor tunnel, 7,887ft (2,404m) long, after which the line emerges onto Dent Head viaduct.

The whole Settle to Carlisle line opened for freight traffic in August 1875 and for passenger in April 1876.  The cost of the line was £3.6 million (equivalent to £290 million in 2014) - 50 per cent above the estimate and a colossal sum for the time.

Today the line is fully operational with 10 stations reopened for passengers and managed by FOSCL.  There are regular freight trains carrying bulk loads, and as well as the regular services the line accommodates well over 60 special steam and diesel charter trains, affording unique views of the line.

Highly recommended - 10 things to see and do

  • Travel on the famous Settle to Carlisle railway - you can even arrive at your holiday destination by train
  • Pretend you are one of the Railway Children or the Fat Controller from Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Visit Dent Brewery, one of the most remote real ale breweries in the country
  • Savour the taste of Wensleydale cheese and locally made pies
  • Enjoy walks or bicycle rides throughout Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria
  • Visit the famous 440 yard sweeping Ribblehead Viaduct with its 24 arches
  • Have a cup of Yorkshire tea in one of the many tea rooms found in the surrounding towns
  • Visit Kendal, famous for its mint cake
  • Walk around the historic market town of Kirkby Lonsdale, known for Devil's Bridge and Ruskin's View
  • Simply enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of the surrounding area

Getting there
Located on the Leeds - Settle - Carlisle line, the station is four miles from the village of Dent, around eight miles north of the famous Ribblehead Viaduct, and almost equi-distant between Leeds and Carlisle.

By train
Accessible from anywhere on the UK rail network, approximate journey times are:
Leeds - 2 hours                 Carlisle - 1.5 hours              Manchester - 3 hours
London - 4.25 hours           Glasgow - 3.5 hours            Birmingham - 4 hours

Check Bank Holiday timetables before travelling.

By road
Dent Station can easily be accessed from Junction 34 of the M6, or if travelling from the North East via the A1 near Beadale.

Address: Dent Station, Cowgill, Sedbergh, Cumbria, LA10 5RF

Some useful websites:


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For further information, please contact:     Robin Hughes
                                                                   M: 07824 665266
                                                                   E: dentstation@btinternet.com
                                                                   W: www.dentstation.co.uk


Issued by:                                           Jeremy Clarke/ Tracey Bretherton

                                                          LawsonClarke PR
                                                          Tel: 01285 658844
                                                          Fax: 01285 650080

Ref: DS01/2014