Adventures by train – England’s highest station

A short but exciting train journey

Stations:Ribblehead and Dent

Travel time from London: 4 hours

Travel time from Bristol: 6 hours

Author’s adventure tip: Dent station is a long way from the pretty village of Dent so leave plenty of time if you’re planning to walk down (see our suggested route below).

Practicalities: There are no toilets at Dent station and the undergrowth is sparse. My recommendation would be to go before you ride or use the loo on the train (perhaps in the tunnel so you don’t miss any views).

Station to station walks: I didn’t have time to make the walk between Ribblehead and Dent stations but if I had I would have chosen to do it from Dent (to maximise the downhill) and across Blea Moor to spot the tunnel air shafts.

Check out my growing collection of station to station walks.

Walking route – Dent Station to Dent Village

Link to route on OS Maps

Please note: I have only checked a short section of this route.

Skies over Dent

Leave Dent Station and head down the steep lane towards Cowgill. Cross the River Dee to join the waymarked Dales Way and follow it as it runs alongside and occasionally over the water. At Church Bridge (SD 70748 87164) leave the waterside and turn left to head into the pretty cobbled village of Dent.

Accommodation for Dent Station

Spot the snow wall above the station

As the highest mainline train station in England, it’s only right that Dent Station should be a destination in itself.

But it’s a destination you need to book.

As you might expect from a train station high on a rather bleak (but beautiful) section of moorland, Dent is a simple station with a foot crossing and two bijou waiting rooms. On a clear day the views from here are fabulous but this is the North of England and we all know northern clouds like to stick to hills.

Soak up the isolation.

Explore the immediate area around Dent Station and you’ll see the buildings that were once the waiting room, ticket office, porters’ room and loos. These have been converted into cosy holiday accommodation for up to six people.

Snow drifts up to the roof.

The Dent station snow hut was built to shelter workers on the railway. This high station was often subject to blizzard conditions and snow drifts, so it was a full-time job keeping the trains running (up to 90 a day in the station’s heyday). You can still see the remains of the snow protection wall above the station today.

Snuggle in a snow hut.

Dent station snow huts one and three have now been converted into smaller holiday accommodation with woodburners. Just perfect for cosy winter travels by train.

Camping in Dent Village

If you arrive into Dent station feeling adventure ready, you could always walk down to Dent village and enjoy a camping night or two. Conder Farm campsite has basic facilities and some sloping pitches but is right next to the cobbles of the village and an easy walk from the pubs. High Laning Caravan and Camping site is more expensive but has flatter fields and more facilities.

Check out my solo wild camping beach bivvy.

Author’s adventure

Fi waiting at Ribblehead Station

If you’ve arrived here via my Ribblehead Viaduct adventure by train, you’ll already know that my quick ride between Ribblehead and Dent stations was actually part of a road trip to Scotland.

Funny how we often end up at train stations.

We had arrived at the Station Inn at Ribblehead the night before and enjoyed a walk under and around the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct.

But I also wanted to travel over it.

Luckily fortune smiled and my two accompanying family members volunteered to drive the dogs and campervans up to Dent station so that I could go up by train and meet them.

It’s only a ten minute journey.

And part of that is through Blea Tunnel but the thought of riding over the Ribblehead Viaduct was too much to resist so I took them up on their offer.

A generous one because it was Mr D’s birthday.

I really enjoyed my time at the station, the waiting room had been lovingly restored and there was plenty of historical information to read.

By the time the train arrived I was hopping with excitement.

The track climbed from the start and we were high on the viaduct almost as soon as we had left the station. My train window offered great views of the surrounding industrial remains and moorland.

I waved to a few walkers below me.

Because it was such a short trip and I didn’t want to miss anything, I followed my progress on my OS Maps app. That way I knew when we were about to head into the tunnel (soon) and which shorter viaducts we were crossing.

I also got to smile at ‘Mossy Bottom’.

As we pulled into Dent station I could see the sign claiming its status as England’s highest mainline train station. At 350 metres (1,150 feet) it is the highest in use today but I happen to know that Princetown station on Dartmoor used to be 418 metres (1,373) feet above sea level.

If you know of any mainline stations that were higher do let me know.

Just as I had been the only person to embark at Ribblehead, I was the only one to disembark at Dent. This, and the fact I had to cross the line on foot, helped turn my perhaps ordinary train ride into one of my adventures by train. That sense of excitement was enhanced when, after a few minutes exploring, I heard a voice shout.

Excuse me. You can’t cross the line there!

I looked nervously round. Surely I had read the sign correctly. Was I in big trouble?

I needn’t have worried. It was my laughing son. The drive round and up the hill had been quicker than they had expected.

Apparently bossiness runs in the family.

There isn’t a cafe at Dent Station so I was pleased to be able to enjoy a cup of tea in the van before we headed down to find our overnight spot at Conder Campsite.

Where I have to say my facilities were much nicer than the trough in the gents!