This circular walk visits the Cumbrian city of Carlisle, exploring the castle grounds before picking up riverisde footpaths on either side of the River Eden. You'll also visit the delightful riverside Rickerby Park and the picturesque Eden Bridge Gardens on this easy 3.5 mile walk.
The walk starts from Carlisle Castle which dates from the 11th century. It was originally built during the reign of William II of England, the son of William the Conqueror. Given the proximity of Carlisle to the border between England and Scotland, it has been the centre of many wars and invasions. Today the castle is managed by English Heritage and is open to the public.
The walk begins by following public footpaths around the castle to the river. Here you pick up trails heading east through Bitts Park to the Eden Bridge. Cross the river here and you will enter Rickerby Park. The traditional Victorian park is a lovely place for a stroll with nice footpaths and good river views. The parkland is dotted with mature trees, beneath which cattle and sheep graze the pasture grasses.
After exploring the park you can return to the southern side of the river over the Memorial Bridge. You then pick up more riverside footpaths taking you back to the castle via the golf course.
Carlisle Cathedral is located just to the south of the castle and well worth a visit too. Its notable features include figurative stone carving, a set of medieval choir stalls and the largest window in the Flowing Decorated Gothic style in England. The city centre is largely pedestrianised so also pleasant for walkers. Other medieval buildings include the Guildhall and the Tithe Barn while the law courts date from the 16th century.
The area around the city is great walking country so there are many good options for extending your exercise. Carlisle sits on the edge of the Solway Coast AONB so one good option is to pick up the Hadrian's Wall Path and head west. This will take you right into the AONB where there are wonderful views over the Solway Firth into Scotland.
At the southern edge of the city you can pick up the Cumbria Way long distance trail. This follows a nice waterside path along the River Caldew to nearby Dalston.
Following the Hadrian's Wall Path in a north easterley direction will take you along Hadrian's Wall into Northumberland.
Also of interest is the lovely Watchtree Nature Reserve just to the west of the city. Here you will find lots of cycling and walking trails with reedbeds, lagoons, woodland, wild flower meadows and an elemental garden.
To the east of the city, near Brampton, you can visit Talkin Tarn Country Park with its large glacial tarn, mature woodland, gentle meadows and stunning views of the Pennine Hills.
Carlisle Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Carlisle Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Carlisle OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Carlisle Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Walks near Carlisle
- Cumbria Coastal Way - Explore the wonderful coastline of Cumbria on this splendid long distance path
- Hadrian's Wall Path - Starting in Wallsend near the east coast of England, head across the country to Bowness-on-Solway along this wonderful trail that follows the famous Roman wall
- Cumbria Way - Travel through the beautiful Lake District National Park on this stunning walk
- Solway Coast - This long walk makes use of the Cumbria Coastal Way and the Hadrian's Wall Path to explore the Solway Coast AONB. The route runs from Silloth to Bowness-on-Solway taking you through some beautiful scenery using a series of waymarked paths. In Silloth you can visit the Solway Coast Discovery Centre to learn all about the area before you begin your exercise.
- Watchtree Nature Reserve - This super Nature Reserve near Carlisle has a series of cycling and walking trails to try.
- Talkin Tarn Country Park - Explore this 165 acre country park in Brampton, and enjoy the large glacial tarn, mature woodland and gentle meadows with the stunning Pennine Hills as a backdrop
- Brampton - The small market town of Brampton is located in the Carlisle district of Cumbria
- Wetheral - This historic Cumbrian village near Carlisle has some lovely riverside trails, peaceful local woods and the remains of ancient priory to see.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Head east of the city and you can visit the small market town of Brampton. Here you can try the circular Brampton Walk which visits two of the highlights of the area at Talkin Tarn Country Park and Gelt Woods. Also to the east is the village of Wetheral where you can visit a ruined priory, the River Eden and the National Trust's Wetheral Woods.
For more walking ideas around Carlisle see the Cumbria Walks and the North Pennines Walks pages.