Chapel-le-Dale church hailed as one of England's tiny gems

A new book on small places of worship has picked St Leonard's, Chapel-le-Dale, as one of Britain's finest examples.

Sitting high in the Dales, north of Ingleton, this beautiful church began life as a chapel of ease for isolated farming folk in the 17th Century.

It then served as a graveyard for the Settle to Carlisle railway workers and their families who lived in a nearby shanty town, while building the Ribblehead Viaduct and nearby Blea Moor tunnel.

A stone memorial to those workers is held within the church.

Revd Nick Trenholme, team vicar for Ingleton and Chapel-le-Dale said he was delighted St Leonard's was featured in the new guide, called Tiny Churches.

"St Leonards has a very special place in the hearts of many people and gives great ministry to locals and visitors, due to its connections with the viaduct and the fact it's nestled between Whernside and Ingleborough."

"Somebody once wrote there are 'as many natural wonders as can scarce be found in any dale in England'".

Chapel-le-Dale has its own quirky micro-climate with a deep-clefted riverbed that barely sees sunlight and an abundance of mosses. 

"The churchyard is an area of Special Scientific Interest and we often have experts coming up to study the flora and fauna," Revd Trenholme said.

Tiny Churches, by Dixe Wills is published by AA Publishing and is now out in paperback, priced £12.99

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