Driving into Dufton you immediately feel the appeal of this sleepy fellside village. The village is dominated by views of the impressive Pennine range including Cross Fell, Great Dun Fell with the radar station, and Dufton Pike. Whilst in the village itself the distinctive sandstone buildings flank the village green with the iconic fountain and the pub in the centre of the village. Dufton is on the Pennine Way and is the key staging post between Alston and Middleton in Teesdale, so if you like walking or just looking at beautiful scenery then you will be perfectly at home here. However, there are several other features of the area that make this such a unique place to visit.
Food & Drink and Events
At one time there were several pubs in the village to support the many miners working in the area. Now there is only one, the Stag Inn, but with an excellent range of food and drink available Dufton is none the worse for this reduction in choice. For alternative refreshment the Post Box Pantry café offers a variety of food and drink choices from 10am to 4.30pm from Easter through to October. Additionally, the village hall also puts on occasional events for the benefit of locals and visitors alike, including Art in the Hills in July and the High Cup Nick fell race in late February. Visiting the village on the last Saturday in August gives the treat of the Fellside Royal Show which showcases all that is great about this beautiful rural area.
Much of the recent history of the village centres around lead mining and the London Lead Company, the Quaker run philanthropic mining company, controlled the mines in this area. They were responsible in developing the cottages and layout of the village and also introduced a water supply system with supply points including the central fountain/trough at the heart of the village, which was built c.1858.
Geology & Walks
Within a short distance of the village green it is possible to see the impact of many of the geological events that have created the scenery of the British Isles. Dufton Pike, Knock Pike and Murton Pike are the result of volcanic activity, with the valley of High Cup a magnificent example of glacial and river erosion. More information of what can be seen can be found here, and what better way to enjoy them than to take one of the many local footpaths up or around these features. Running behind the village is the serene Dufton Ghyll, a stream that flows through a river cut sandstone valley, the perfect place to see red squirrels playing at any time, and bluebells in May.
Dufton is famous for it’s Helm Wind, which is the only named wind in the British Isles. It blows down from the Cross Fell escarpment and is a fierce easterly wind, sometimes lasting for days, and strong enough to blow sheep off their feet. It is caused due to the particular combination of circumstances in the area and can appear all of sudden at any of time of the year, with a cap of cloud called the Helm Bar forming across the fells above the village and often accompanied with the sound as if of a jet engine. Bizarrely you can drive 5 or 6 miles either side of the village or downinto Appleby and not even feel the effects of the wind!