GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Smardale Gill Viaduct Walk

3 miles (5 km)

This walk takes you through the pretty Smardale Gill along the trackbed of a disused railway line. It leads to the magnificent Smardale Viaduct. The viaduct was part of theSouth Durham and Lancashire Union Railway and has 14 arches, is 90ft (27m) high and 550ft (170m) long. It's an impressive sight with the structure surrounded by the lovely countryside of the Cumbrian hills and the pretty Smardale Beck which runs through the gill.
The area is also a managed nature reserve with wildlflowers, woodland and grassland. Look out for flora such as bluebells, primrose and early purple orchid. Wildlife includes goldfinch, field fare and redwing with lots of butterflies around the wildflowers in the summer months. Red squirrels and roe deercan also be seen in the reserve.
To extend your walking in the area you could climb Smardale Fell or Crosby Garrett Fell for wonderful views over the surrounding area.
You can also approach the viaduct from the south from the pretty villages of Newbiggin On Lune and Ravenstonedale. In nearby Kirkby Stephen you can enjoy lovely walks along the River Eden.


CA17 4HG - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations

Smardale Gill Viadiuct OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Smardale Gill Viadiuct Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking


Head to the Black Swan in Ravenstonedale for some post walk refreshments. You can enjoy a meal outside in the lovely riverside garden, with resident red squirrels. There's an excellent menu and the hotel was awarded AA Pub of the yearin 2012. You can find the pub at postcode CA17 4NG for your sat navs.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

Near the site there's the interesting town of Brough to explore. Here you'll find the historic ruins of the 11th century Brough Castle and some nice trails along the Swindale Beck.
A few miles to the west there's the nearby village of Tebay where you will find riverside trails along the River Lune. The village is also known for its 16th century pub and the Tebay Motorway Services.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Howgills Walks page.

Cycle Routes and Walking Routes Nearby


Smardale Gill Viaduct - - 1620544

Smardale Gill Viaduct

East side of Smardale Viaduct - - 1406668

East side of Smardale Viaduct. The viaduct is best seen from the clear hillside to the west. To the east the sides of Smardale Gill are densely wooded, making a clear view more difficult.

Smardale Viaduct - - 598862

A northbound empty coal train crosses the viaduct.

Plaque on Smardale Gill viaduct - - 1406740

Plaque on Smardale Gill viaduct

Limekilns, Smardale

Limekilns, Smardale

Crag Wood, Smardale Gill - - 1406714

A view from across the gill, showing the crag which gives the wood its name.

Abandoned sandstone quarries, Smardale Gill - - 1406768

Abandoned sandstone quarries, Smardale Gill. Having no railway (or main road) access, these were on a much smaller scale from the limestone quarries across the valley, and were presumably used only as a source of local building stone.

Abandoned limestone quarries, Smardale Gill - - 1406765

Abandoned limestone quarries, Smardale Gill. There is no road access to them; they must have ceased production in 1962 when the railway closed, if not earlier.


GPS Files

GPX File

Smardale Gill Viadiuct.gpx (On Desktop:Right Click>'Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold>Share>Save to Files')

Memory Map Route

Smardale Gill Viadiuct.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>'Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Share>Save to Files)