Country Walkers at Ribblehead Viaduct (Batty Moss Viaduct) which carries the Settle–Carlisle railway, Carnforth, LA6 3AS

- Image ID: RM2528
Tony Smith / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: RM2528
The Ribblehead Viaduct or Batty Moss Viaduct carries the Settle–Carlisle railway across Batty Moss in the Ribble Valley at Ribblehead, in North Yorkshire, England. The viaduct, built by the Midland Railway, is 28 miles (45 km) north-west of Skipton and 26 miles (42 km) south-east of Kendal. It is a Grade II* listed structure. Ribblehead Viaduct is the longest and the third tallest structure on the Settle–Carlisle line. The viaduct was designed by John Sydney Crossley, chief engineer of the Midland Railway, who was responsible for the design and construction of all major structures along the line. The viaduct was necessitated by the challenging terrain of the route. Construction began in late 1869. It necessitated a large workforce, up to 2,300 men, most of whom lived in shanty towns set up near its base. Over 100 men lost their lives during its construction. The Settle to Carlisle line was the last main railway in Britain to be constructed primarily with manual labour. By the end of 1874, the last stone of the structure had been laid; on 1 May 1876, the Settle–Carlisle line was opened for passenger services. During the 1980s, British Rail proposed closing the line. In 1989, after lobbying by the public against closure, it was announced that the line would be retained. Since the 1980s, the viaduct has had multiple repairs and restorations and the lines relaid as a single track. The land underneath and around the viaduct is a scheduled ancient monument; the remains of the construction camp and navvy settlements (Batty Wife Hole, Sebastopol, and Belgravia) are located there