This paper presents developing secondary flow and heat transfer measurements in a ribbed cooling channel. Experiments are carried out for Reynolds number ranging from 25,000–140,000. Regionally averaged local heat transfer measurements are conducted using heated copper segments. Flow measurements are carried out using a miniature five-hole pressure probe and presented for cross sections at intervals of 1.8 hydraulic diameters dh in flow direction. Results are compared to numerical simulations using explicit algebraic Reynolds stress and turbulent heat transfer models. The paper focuses on the entrance region where secondary flow structure has not emerged yet. The findings show that the well-known secondary flow structure of the crossed rib configuration, consisting of one large single rotating secondary flow, is not established until approximately 6–7 dh in main flow direction. Instead two opposed vortices are identified which dominate the flow characteristics and provide an increase in heat transfer of up to 15–20% when compared to the periodically developed flow condition. Thus, for the first time to the author’s knowledge, the paper describes in detail the developing secondary flow in a crossed rib arrangement and links it to the heat transfer distribution observed. In summary, this paper stresses the importance of the developing flow region for the design process in convection cooled gas turbines, especially for short channels of high pressure blades and vanes, as it has a significant effect on cooling channel heat transfer performance.