Kirkby Stephen River Circular
This circular walk takes you along a section of the Pennine Journey long distance trail before returning along the River Eden.
The small market town of Kirkby Stephen is located in Cumbria, near the border of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It's surrounded by some lovely countryside, with the rolling hills and the River Eden to admire. The Pennine Journey waymarked trail runs through the area and provides a link to the river for walkers.
The walk starts in the centre of the town and heads east along the river towards Frank's Bridge and Hartley Castle. The path turns south and continues towards the village of Nateby where you could pause for refreshments at the nice country pub.
Just after Nateby you cross the river and turn north passing Stenkrith Park where the river scenery changes from limestone at the head of the Eden Valley in Mallerstang, to the red sandstone which is characteristic further along the Eden Valley. The river at Stenkrith has carved this rock into many fantastic shapes, collectively known as the Devil's Grinding Mill or Devil's Hole. Also look out for the ten 'Eden Benchmarks', a series of sculptures that have been placed at intervals along the River Eden from its source in Mallerstang to the Solway Firth.
The walk continues along the river passing Stenkrith Hill before returning to the town.
To continue your walking in the Kirkby Stephen area, you could try the climb to Nine Standards Rigg. From the 662 m (2,172 ft) summit of the hill you can enjoy wonderful views over the Eden Valley.
You can also continue along the Pennine Journey. Follow it south and it will take you along the river to the atmospheric ruins of the 12th century Pendragon Castle. Just on from here you can enjoy another climb to Wild Boar Fell. One of the highest fells in the Yorkshire Dales, it commands fabulous views over the Eden Valley. Around here you can also pick up the long distance Pennine Bridleway.
If you head south west you can visit the impressive Smardale Gill Viaduct and visit the pretty village of Ravenstonedale. There's lovely walks here along the Scandale Beck and through the Smardale Nature Reserve.