There is, not far from Ribblehead station, a hidden, abandoned hamlet – identified only by the cluster of trees which surrounds it.

Now on the route of the Ribble Way, the hamlet of Thorns was once an important location on a former packhorse route. I’ve started to look at the place more closely this year.

Records of the settlement date back to 1190, when it belonged to Furness Abbey. Wills, parish records and censuses indicate that there were five tenements here in 1538, three households in 1841, and one uninhabited dwelling in 1891.¹

Since 1891 it has remained uninhabited. A stoat, butterflies, rabbits, jackdaws, crows, wrens and swallows were my company there this week. Oh, and a couple of walkers. The local landowner allows sheep to graze there. Aside from that it’s a very quiet spot.

On my way there this week roiling clouds and rain kept blowing over as I approached along the old packhorse trail. It’s not often I try this and have success – but in drawing three photos together I’ve come up with quite a strong Ribblehead panorama from the day. Click on it to open a larger version.

* You can see more from my visits to Thorns here > Thorns: the long deserted hamlet


¹ ‘Volunteers needed to dig into our past’ – Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust, Stories in Stone project, 2016


Thorns, near Ribblehead. An abandoned hamlet.

Thorns, near Ribblehead. An abandoned hamlet.