Dentdale, south of Sedbergh, is possibly the finest of the Cumbrian Dales, a valley full of beauty and historic interest. It is a farming community, with scattered homesteads, each sharing the fell and valley floor, owing much to the settlement patterns of the Vikings who came here in the 10th century.
The Dales Way long distance path runs along the length of the valley, as does the River Dee.
Dent is the only village in Dentdale, with its delightful cobbled streets. A fountain of pink granite in the village centre, where the three cobbled streets meet, commemorates Dent’s links with Adam Sedgwick, (1785-1873), professor of geology at Cambridge University, who was one of the greatest field geologists of his time.
He was born in the village, the son of the local parson, and never forgot his native Dale. There is a memorial to him in Dent Church, and you can see the Old Grammar School in the churchyard where Adam was first taught by his father, before completing his studies at Sedbergh School and Trinity College, Cambridge.
Dent is also famous for its knitters. In the 18th century, both men and women knitted, often while walking to the fields. Their output of hand-knitted gloves and socks was enormous, providing an important supplementary income.
The 12th Century church of St Andrew is well worth a visit, where you can still see Norman features in the Tower, the Nave and the Norman-arched doorway. The church has a leaflet highlighting the places and objects of interest within the church.
After Dent, the valley winds its way through Cowgill, on its way to Dent station, some 4.5 miles from the village. Dent is the highest railway station in England, at over 1100 feet above sea level, on the famous Carlisle to Settle Railway. The line crosses the huge viaducts at Arten Gill and Dent Head, built of massive blocks of Dent ‘marble’, from the now-disused quarries nearby, before going through the Blea Moor tunnel to Ribblehead viaduct.
At Cowgill is one of the most remote breweries in Britain – The Dent Brewery, brewers of award winning ales that can be bought in any of the three pubs in Dent. Brewery trips are available.
At the Dentdale Heritage Centre, visitors will find a wealth of information on the working lives and social customs of the Dalesfolk who inhabited this beautiful area in times past.
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Grid Ref : SD 705870