Garsdale Head

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Garsdale Head
West Riding
Garsdale Head.jpg
Garsdale Head
Grid reference: SD786919
Location: 54°19’23"N, 2°19’47"W
Post town: Sedbergh
Postcode: LA10
Dialling code: 015396
Local Government
Council: South Lakeland
Westmorland and Lonsdale

Garsdale Head is a hamlet at the head of Garsdale in the West Riding of Yorkshire, close to the boundary of the North Riding. It is within the boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The hamlet is to be found half-way between Sedbergh (West Riding) to the west and Hawes (North Riding) to the east, on the A684 road between the two. The main feature of the hamlet is Garsdale railway station on the Settle–Carlisle line and the Wensleydale Railway. Until the branch line to Hawes was closed in 1964 the alternative name for Garsdale Head was 'Hawes Junction', a name which remains in common use.

History and modernity

The hamlet owes its origin to transport: first to an old inn and then to the railway. Sixteen cottages were built by the Midland Railway Company for its employees soon after the opening of the line in 1876. Another six "Moorcock Cottages" were built in similar Victorian style half-a-mile away over the border in Richmondshire. Just before the border, in a matching building style (because it was built by Midland Railway contractors), is Mount Zion Chapel, a Primitive Methodist meeting-place which is still used for special events.

The Moorcock Inn

Apart from one Edwardian building, Clough View, all buildings in the hamlet are older, or are renovations of older properties. The Moorcock Inn, at the junction of the A684 and the B6259 to Kirkby Stephen by way of Lunds, Mallerstang and Nateby, is the only public house in the 16-mile journey between Sedbergh and Hawes, and has an adjoining Bed and Breakfast establishment. The inn is 400 yards inside the North Riding and a quarter of a mile north-east of Garsdale railway station.

According to The Yorkshire Post, the Moorcock Inn dates to the 1740s.

West of the Moorcock Inn towards Garsdale station is Dandry Mire Viaduct (alternatively called Moorcock Viaduct) on the Settle–Carlisle line. On Christmas Eve 1910, the St Pancras to Glasgow Express collided into the rear of two engines. The twelve dead from the crash were kept in the Moorcock Inn cellar before burial in Hawes churchyard.[1]

There was a post office at Garsdale Head between 1881 and June 1963. About 1911 it was located in a shop within a stone-built house,[2] but in 1934 it was described and pictured as being "nothing but a tin hut, nine feet by six".[3] The office was replaced in 1963 by one at Garsdale, which has since closed.

The 'Coal Road', which joins Garsdale Head to Dent railway station at the north-east of Cowgill, and skirts the north west slopes of Great Knoutberry Hill, is a scenic single-track route, suitable for walkers, cyclists and motor vehicles except when there is snow or ice, when its steep surface becomes treacherous.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Garsdale Head)


  1. Huddleston, Yvette; Swan, Walter; "Haunting secrets on tap", The Yorkshire Post, 24 April 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2015
  2. "Postcards from the Past", by Paul Mackenzie, Yorkshire Life, March 2005, p 157.
  3. Sunday Express, 2 September 1934.