Picture Post: Dent – a small village which always aimed high

PIC: Tony Johnson
PIC: Tony Johnson
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Some might argue that Dent has the best of both worlds. While it is officially a Cumbrian village, it also lies in Dentdale, a valley with the boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Best-known for the iconic Dent Head Viaduct, which forms part of the Settle to Carlisle, Railway, the structure, which boasts 10 arches, is 100 ft high and 199 yards long.

Built between 1869 and 1875, the viaduct, which was just one small part of the Midland Railway Company’s ambitious scheme, was constructed from massive blocks of Dent marble and crosses over the quarry that produced the tone.

The line, which was vital to ensure the MRC had a link between Scotland and England, was built by more than 6,000 navvies, who worked in remote locations, often enduring harsh weather and working conditions.

While much of the line is uninhabited today, during the construction work, large camps were established to house the navvies, the majority of whom were Irish labourers.

As the months turned into years, many became complete townships with post offices and schools. It’s hard to believe now that this area was once such a hub of activity. Dent station, for example, is a small, unassuming building, surrounded by miles and miles of England’s green and pleasant land. However, it does have a claim to fame as the highest main line station in England, standing 1150ft above sea level.

It’s not the only reason why this little place has found itself mentioned in the history books – Dent is also famous for being the birthplace of Adam Sedgwick in 1785, one of the founders of modern geology.

Today, the village may be home to less than 700 people, but it still has a thriving community. Each June, the population swells a little thanks to the Dent Music and Beer Festival at the end of June every year and with the Dales Way passing through the village, the area is also popular with walkers

These days, it’s hard to find a traditional English village, unspoiled by big retailers and new housing, but Dent is a genuine rural retreat.

Technical details Fuji Finepix x20, 500th @ f8, 400ISO.

Picture: Tony Johnson

Words: James Nuttall