Smardalegill Viaduct (and double lime kilns)

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Historical Environment Record No:
MYD665522; MYD62781
Crosby Garrett; Waitby
OS Grid Reference:


Smardale Viaduct and lime kiln. (c) WDLPS, 2023, courtesy of Andrew Walter

Smardalegill Viaduct and lime kiln (c) WDLPS, 2023, courtesy of Andrew Walter

Smardalegill viaduct was completed in 1861. It was designed by Sir Thomas Bouch as part of the South Durham and Lancashire Union Railway, which crossed the Pennines to carry coke to the iron and steel furnaces in the Barrow area and West Cumberland. It was built at a cost of £11,298. It carried the railway 90 feet high above the valley and was constructed of locally quarried sandstone. The viaduct has 14 arches of a 30 feet span, and a total length of 553 feet. The viaduct was built wide enough for a double track, but never carried more than a single line of rails. The line was closed in 1962.

Located about 300m to the southwest is a double lime kiln, of two builds (the right kiln was built first). They produced lime mortar for the construction of the viaduct. The size shows the extent of the operations, as a major commercial lime producing operation. The kilns are constructed from limestone blocks (likely from the nearby quarry) to a height of about 30ft. Both kilns have two draw holes set within semi-circular draw arches. Access to the draw holes was by steps cut into the face of the wall. A railway siding (to the viaduct) enabled trucks to be shunted into position and burned lime could then be shovelled directly into the trucks. The fuel was brought to the charge holes (evidence that these were lined with firebricks) in trucks along a tramway or inclined plane. The trucks were hauled by a stationary engine located in an engine house, the ruin of which is located above the lime kilns. To the rear is an extensive quarry containing numerous spoil heaps, which is believed to have been exploited for building stone as well as lime burning.

In 2023 the lime kilns were conserved as part of the Monuments at Risk project (delivered by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority as part of the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund).

The viaduct and double lime kilns are situated on Smardale Nature Reserve known for its orchids, butterflies and red squirrels.

Smardale lime kilns MYD62781 (c) WDLPS, 2023

Smardale lime kilns MYD62781 (c) WDLPS, 2023


Historic England,

Historic England,


The viaduct and lime kilns are located on Smardale NNR. They can also be accessed from ROW from Newbiggin-on-Lune and Ravenstonedale to the south. What3words: savings.dots.rhino; hourglass.scoots.column


There is a good wheelchair/ pushchair accessible surface all along the route from the car park at Smardale to Newbiggin-on-Lune, along the former railway line, with ramps at both ends. There are benches at intervals from the car park as far as the limestone quarry/ limekilns. Viaduct is about a half an hour walk. Disabled parking at entrance to site.