Bridge over the River Sprint
|Longsleddale shown within Cumbria|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
Longsleddale is a valley and civil parish in the South Lakeland district of the English county of Cumbria. It includes the hamlet of Sadgill. The parish has a population of 73. As the population taken at the 2011 Census was less than 100, details are maintained in the civil parish of Whitwell and Selside.
The valley is bounded to the west by Kentmere Pike and Shipman Knotts, one arm of the Kentmere Horseshoe, and to the east by Sleddale Fell and its summits of Grey Crag and Tarn Crag. The River Sprint starts on the slopes of Harter Fell and Branstree, and flows south through the valley before joining the River Kent to the north of the town of Kendal.
The aqueduct carrying water from Haweswater Reservoir to Heaton Park Reservoir in Manchester follows the line of Longsleddale underground on the east of the valley, and crosses Stockdale Beck by a pipe bridge. Construction of the aqueduct was started in the 1930s and finally completed in 1976. Survey columns can still be seen on Branstree, Tarn Crag, and Great Howe below Grey Crag. The tunnel is about 2m by 2m in section, and the water flow is gravity-fed. Between Haweswater and Manchester the tunnel only deviates from a straight line by less than 0.6 miles (1 km).
Possible Railway Route
When the directors of the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway were choosing its route in the 1840s, one possibility considered was a route through Kendal and along Longsleddale, with a 2-mile tunnel under the Gatescarth Pass into Mardale and thence towards Bampton. This route had the support of the Kendal Committee of the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway; other alternatives under consideration included a line over a barrage across Morecambe Bay and round the Cumbrian coast, routes bypassing Shap to the east and west, and the Shap summit route finally chosen.
After a lengthy Parliamentary inquiry the longer and steeper route over Shap Fell was chosen. Thomas Bouch was approached to be an adviser on the Longsleddale route and if this route had been chosen, in all probabilities Thos. Bouch would have been appointed as the civil and railway engineer. Bouch was the engineer for the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway and rose to fame in later years, for it was his design of the Tay Railway Bridge that was destroyed in a severe storm.
The gradient of the Longsleddale route would have been somewhat less than the 1 in 70 gradient of the climb up and over Shap Fell, and the use of banking engines could have been reduced if not entirely eliminated. An interesting scenario emerges that if the route had been chosen and the railway passed through a tunnel under Gatesgarth Pass, emerging onto Mardale Common and passed alongside the lake of Haweswater; would the Mardale valley have been flooded to form Haweswater reservoir?
It has been said that the Longsleddale route, "had it ever been built, would have been as dramatic and awe-inspiring as any in Britain".
Recreation and Community
In 1974, an Outdoor Pursuits Centre was founded by Jim McVeigh as an access point for young people, from in and around Manchester, to the great outdoors. Over the years, this has extended to young people from all around the country. Unlike many outdoors centre in the UK, this is staffed and operated solely by volunteers. The centre's Adventure Activities Licensing Authority licence allows staff to run outdoor activities including: rock climbing, caving, ghyll scrambling (canyoning), hillwalking and archery.
There are few community buildings in Longsleddale. There is one village hall that is known as the Community Hall and one church - St Mary's - which is near the centre of the valley and is open every day. Services are on the second and fourth Sunday of each month at 10.30am.
The Stockdale Shales is a geologic formation in the area near Longsleddale.
- Office for National Statistics: Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : South Lakeland Retrieved 26 October 2010
- "Ubarrow Hall". Pastscape. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
- "Haweswater Aqueduct". Old Cumbria Gazetteer. Portsmouth University, Geography Department. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "The Haweswater Aqueduct under construction near Low House, Longsleddale, 1933 (photo)". Britain from Above. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Wainwright, A. (1957). A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells: Book 2: The Far Eastern Fells. Westmorland Gazette. pp. Branstree 4, Grey Crag 4, Tarn Crag 5.
- "Haweswater Aqueduct". Engineering Timelines. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Joy, David (1968). Main Line Over Shap: the story of the Lancaster-Carlisle Railway. Clapham: Dalesman. p. 14.
- "Postman Pat". BBC. 30 March 2006. Retrieved 20 December 2011.