Despondently making our way back home from our aborted cycle tour of the Outer Hebrides, we decided to break the journey approximately halfway rather than driving until the early hours of the morning. Knowing the area from previous trips, we pulled off the M6 motorway at Junction 37 and made our way to the little village of Dent, snuggled in the narrow valley of Dentdale, on the western slopes of the Pennines and not far from the town of Sedburgh.
In the centre of the village there is a great campsite, High Laning Farm, run by a lady that we know as Margaret. The campsite consists of a fabulous flat field with great views of the surrounding fells, and is only a two-minute walk from the pubs!
We had been to Dent on several previous occasions, but most memorably when walking the Dales Way some 10–12 years ago, when we were still sprightly young things whose joints could handle long-distance walking! It is a picturesque little village, with quaint cobbled streets. Its most famous resident was Adam Sedgwick (1785–1873), who was one of the founders of modern geology. In the centre of the village, there is a fountain made from pink granite to commemorate this famous field geologist.
In the 18th century, Dent was also famous for its knitters, both men and women, who often knitted while walking to their work in the fields. Their hand-knitted socks, gloves and woollen caps provided them with an important supplementary income. Because the village folk could knit so fast, and because of the curious way they rocked backwards and forwards as they knitted, they became known as the ‘terrible knitters of Dent’.
Lying between the Lake District and the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, but actually located in Cumbria, Dentdale is ideally situated for visiting both areas. However, as seems to be the case with a lot of villages these days, Dent has lost its Post Office and some of its traditional arts and crafts shops. In the past, there was also a bakehouse and a cheese factory, and the general stores had even generated electricity! However – importantly 🙂 – the village still has its own CAMRA award-winning brewery close by, and three pubs; surely an attraction for most visitors!
As well as being a perfect base for some truly stunning walks, it is also ideally situated for cyclists as the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway and the Pennine Cycleway both pass through Dent. There are many off-road routes, quiet country lanes and lots of hills (if you are so inclined – give me (Chris) a gently undulating or, even better, a flat road any time!) to explore.
So, next time you are in this area, stop and check out the village of Dent – it is a quaint little place full of character and makes a great base for some wonderful bike rides and hill walks.