The Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area (SCRCA)

Welcome to the SCRCA

A map showing the location of the Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area (SCRCA).
Map showing the location
of the SCRCA.

The Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area (SCRCA) is a 78-mile section of mainline railway that is considered to be an area of special architectural and historical interest.

In a bid to preserve the character and appearance of this unique section of Britain's national rail network, it was officially designated a Conservation Area in 1991.

It is the longest conservation area in the United Kingdom and it covers the entire railway (and all asssociated historic structures) between Hellifield Junction in North Yorkshire and Carlisle Citadel Station in Cumbria.

The adjacent map (right or below) shows the location of the SCRCA, while the image gallery below showcases a few of the site- and structure-types associated with the SCRCA.

Grand Tours

If you've plenty of time, make yourself comfortable, then use one of the links below to take a virtual grand tour of the entire conservation area:

Heritage Hotspots

If you've limited time (or if you're seeking ideas for a real-world visit), check-out the following 'highlight' locations (they're all easily accessible by train although please do NOT attempt a real-world visit while travel restrictions relating to the coronavirus outbreak remain in place):

  1. Hellifield Station
  2. Settle
  3. Horton Station
  4. Ribblehead and Blea Moor
  5. Dent Station
  6. Garsdale
  7. Kirkby Stephen Station
  8. Appleby
  9. Langwathby Station
  10. Lazonby and Kirkoswald Station
  11. Armathwaite Station
  12. Carlisle Citadel Station

Background Reading

If you'd like to learn more about the SCRCA Project, start with the Introduction and Overview.

To find out more about conservation areas and the reasoning behind the project, see Background and Context.

If you think you might be able / willing to help us with the project, see Getting Involved.

SCRCA Showcase

The second FoSCL members' emergency newsletter (published on 28th April, 2020) featured the following brief article:

Virtual Visits and trips down memory lane

Sadly, the lockdown restrictions mean that most of us are currently prevented from making a real world visit to the Settle-Carlisle railway. However, we can still make a ‘virtual visit’ via the following page on the FoSCL website:
This webpage includes links to
* A small image gallery.
* The webcams at Ribblehead, Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Kirkby Stephen.
* The SCRCA Project database (which now boasts more than 7,000 photos of railway-related structures between Hellifield and Carlisle, plus hundreds of related articles and potentially interesting ‘snippets’ of information).
* The ‘Explore More’ system (with its high-quality aerial imagery and a steadily expanding collection of old photographs and other interesting material).

This period of relative confinement may also be an opportunity for some of us to take a trip down ‘memory lane’ by reviewing (and perhaps indexing and / or digitising) our personal collections of photos, videos and cine-film footage. If you are inspired to do this, please keep in mind that the SCRCA Project team is actively seeking images showing railway-related structures within the conservation area, especially structures that have been demolished or significantly altered. For more information about the type of material we’re looking for, please refer to our “Plea for Information and Images” on the SCRCA Project website at:

Finally, those with a nostalgic interest in the Settle-Carlisle line may enjoy the following ‘free to view’ clips available in the British Film Institute’s online archive:

A 25 minute long Yorkshire Television documentary from 1985 entitled“End of the Line?”:

A 51 minute film made in 1963 by members of Halifax Cine Club entitled “The Long Drag”:

During the filming trips for the latter, a significant number of still photographs were also taken and 65 of these have been uploaded to the SCRCA Project database courtesy of Steve Horsfall. They can be accessed directly via:

Hopefully, this brief ‘Settle-Carlisle line diversion’ will help you to pass a pleasant few hours during this difficult time.

The November 2019 edition of the FoSCL Journal includes an article about the construction of Blea Moor Tunnel. If you'd like to follow-up this article, the following pages offer a good starting point:

Get in Touch

If you'd like to get in touch with the SCRCA Project Team, you can contact us.