Grid Ref : NY 690250
Dufton is a very attractive village three miles north of Appleby, in an area designated as of oustanding natural beauty (AONB).
Many old houses, some from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, border the rectangular village green, with its avenue of lime trees marching down the center.
It lies on both the Pennine Way and Cumbria Cycle Way. You can approach Cross Fell (the highest point on the Pennines) or High Cup Nick from here. At the head of this perfectly formed U-shaped Valley is one of the highlights of the Pennine Way, described by Wainwright as an ‘unforgettable sight’, a ‘natural wonder’. It’s perfectly situated for exploring the moorland of the North Pennines, or the green valleys of the River Eden.
Nearby is Appleby, where you can take a ride on the famous Settle to Carlisle Railway.
Dufton is at the centre of the Helm Wind area – one of the best examples in Britain of a ‘local wind’ – a phenomenon caused by cold easterly air rising over Cross Fell then rushing down the steep escarpment where it meets warm air, which rises and causes a turbulent air-stream. At times, this wind literally roars across the surrounding hills at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.
The church, dedicated to St Cuthbert, is about half a mile out of the village, at one of the places where the Lindisfarne monks rested when they carried St Cuthbert’s body as they escaped from the Vikings in AD 875. There is also a small Methodist Chapel in the village.
Wesley House was originally built as a methodist chapel in 1820 and was converted into a private residence during 1935/36. In the days when Dufton had a stone mason living in the village, he made for himself a statue of William Shakespeare. Apparently during one night someone had broken the statue’s feet off. The mason was intending to throw the damaged statue out, but the family who were in the process of converting the chapel heard about this, and decided to have a niche built to house the statue (see below).
‘Rising as a foothill immediately north of Dufton village and backed by the lofty Pennines is the shapely pyramid of Dufton Pike (see gallery), isolated from the greater heights beyond by steep slopes and ravines once exploited for lead mining. Plans to develop the Pike and neighbouring areas into a pleasure complex with all the fun of the fair have mercifully come to nothing, which is as it should be.’ From ‘An Eden Sketchbook’ by A Wainwright
Lead mining was an important industry in the 1800’s, and the London Lead Company (owned by Quakers) was instrumental in building village cottages for their workers and families. They provided Dufton with a school, and a library, and piped water in 1858. There are four taps still in evidence, along with the sandstone trough.