Skip Navigation

Eden Valley

Travel Guide Europe United Kingdom England North West England Cumbria Eden Valley

edit

Introduction

Poetry path

Poetry path

© All Rights Reserved EaLaSpada

Tucked away between the mountains of the Lake District and the Pennines, the Eden Valley is one of Northern England's hidden treasures. Access to a wide range of hill and valley walks make the region an ideal base for hikers and nature lovers looking to wander far from the crowds found in England's National Parks. History buffs will appreciate the area too, with castles and churches peppering the landscape.

Top

edit

Geography

The Eden Valley is the floodplain of the River Eden, from its source at Aisgill near the Cumbria/North Yorkshire border to the city of Carlisle. It's a wide, gently rolling plain almost entirely surrounded by the highest mountain ranges in England - the Lake District mountains, the Pennines, the Howgill Fells and the Yorkshire Dales.

Top

edit

Towns and Villages

The modern administrative capital of Eden District, Penrith is a working Cumbrian town hewn of red sandstone. It's not without its attractions, including an interesting town centre and a distinctive ruined castle, and makes a good base for exploring both the Eden Valley and the Northern Lake District.

The old capital of the ancient county of Westmorland, Appleby is a pretty and traditional market town best known for its annual Roma fair.

Kirkby Stephen is a popular stop-off point on the long distance coast-to-coast path. The attractive market square and proximity to both the Pennines and Yorkshire Dales make it a good choice of base.

The Eden Valley is home to many pretty and traditional villages. Maulds Meaburn, Ravenstonedale and Armathwaite are all well-preserved examples with many buildings dating back to the 17th Century.

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

Hiking

The Eden Valley is a great base for a walking holiday, with interesting excursions including Nine Standards Rigg, Wild Boar Fell (where Englands last native wild boar was reputedly shot) and the picturesque disused railway track at Smardale. Kirkby Stephen's Poetry Path in lovely Stenkrith Park makes for an interesting and unusual gentle stroll.

Castles, Forts and Churches

The Eden Valley has a number of imposing Castles, with the finest examples being the great Norman keeps of Brougham and Brough. Hidden away in Mallerstang is tiny Pendragon Castle, the ancient court of Uther Pendragon (according to local legend). Most villages possess a medieval church. The church of Kirkby Stephen hosts a perfectly preserved Loki Stone - a Norse artefact depicting the god of mischief.

Railways

The picturesque Settle-Carlisle railway passes through much of the Eden Valley and makes a scenic and relaxing day out, stopping at towns and villages including Kirkby Stephen, Appleby, Langwathby and Armathwaite. The recently restored Eden Valley Railway, from Appleby to the village of Warcop, is another attraction.

Rheged Visitor Centre

Holding the somewhat bizarre accolade of 'Europe's Largest Grass-covered Building', the Rheged Visitor Centre at Penrith is an unusual experience. The attraction centres on a film celebrating the region's history and culture, shown on a vast IMax screen ('the size of four double-decker buses'). The rest of the building holds an exhibition of the work of Eden's artisanal craftspeople.

Ostriches and Alpacas

Trading has been tough recently for Eden's small farmers. Some have attempted to counter this by diversifying into some interesting and unusual lines - Eden Ostrich World and The Alpaca Centre provide a chance to see the beasts up close.

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

Appleby Horse Fair

Probably the best attended Roma fair in the UK, Appleby Horse Fair draws travelling families from across the country. It's a great spectacle for the rest of us too, with hundreds of horses paraded (and raced) around town and many attractively decorated traditional caravans.

2nd week in June, Appleby

Appleby Jazz

Also in Appleby, the annual Jazz Festival is Eden's biggest cultural event, attracting some top names.

Dates vary annually, Appleby

Agricultural Shows

Many towns and villages hold agricultural fairs, giving you the chance to see parades of Eden's finest exhibits (sheep and cows, mainly). Other attractions may or may not include cake baking, clay pigeon shooting and dry stone walling competitions.

Top

edit

Weather

The Eden Valley does receive more than its fair share of wind and rain. On a bad day, the characteristic 'Helm Wind' can really whip down from the Pennines, making life particularly tough for walkers and cyclists. Come prepared, at any time of year, and consider abandoning walks on high ground if the weather is really bad (particularly in winter)

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

There are currently no airports in Cumbria offering scheduled flights, however plans to upgrade Carlisle airport may soon change that.

The closest major airports are Durham Tees Valley (MME) and Newcastle (NCL), with Manchester (MAN), Liverpool (LPL) and Glasgow (GLA) offering more frequent services.

By Train

Penrith station is served by the West Coast Main Line running from London Euston to Glasgow.

Another rail route into Cumbria is the picturesque Settle-Carlisle line, running from Leeds to destinations including Appleby and Kirkby Stephen.

By Car

The Eden Valley is easily accessible by car, with the M6 North-South arterial route passing Penrith. It's also possible to access The Eden Valley from the East of England using the A1/M1 and A66 transpennine road. Note that both of these routes (the A66 particularly) are prone to closure due to snow in winter.

By Bus

National Express offer services to Penrith, Appleby and Brough from across the UK. The bargain-basement Megabusservice from London to Scotland stops at Scotch Corner , just outside Cumbria to the East.

Top

edit

Getting Around

By Train

The railway is a great way to get around Eden. The fantastic Settle-Carlisle railway stops at Garsdale, Kirkby Stephen, Appleby, Langwathby, Lazonby and Armathwaite. There's also a branch line maintained by enthusiasts (the Eden Valley Railway) running from Appleby to Warcop

By Car

The road is a convenient way to get to some of the remoter bits of the area. A particularly attractive drive is the B6259 route from Kirkby Stephen to Garsdale via Mallerstang.

By Bus

The bus network is decent enough and relatively cheap, with all but the remotest villages served by a route of some sort. Make doubly sure that the bus runs on the day that you want to travel. All local bus service timetables are available on the Travelline website.

Top

edit

Eat

Principally an agricultural region, Eden isn't geared up to provide the sort of dining available in the more touristic Lake District. That said, some country pubs do a good job of serving up tasty, wholesome food including plenty of local produce - particularly the Fat Lamb at Mallerstang, the Royal Oak at Appleby and the Black Swan at Ravenstonedale.

Some of the produce is second to none - Eden Valley farmers rear Lamb to die for, much of it sold under the prestigious Cumbrian Fellbred brand, and the crystal clear rivers and streams are ideal for Trout fishing. Grouse and Pheasant are raised on the moors around Brough and Kirkby Stephen.

Top

edit

Drink

The Eden Valley shares a passion for real ale with the rest of Cumbria with many pubs tied to the ubiquitous Jennings of Cockermouth. The only brewery based in the valley itself is the Tirril Brewery, producers of some particularly good bottled beers, based at Long Marton near Appleby. The thoroughly excellent Hesket Newmarket brewery is based at the Rose and Crown in the village of Hesket Newmarket at the foot of the Caldbeck Fells just outside the Eden Valley.

Top

edit

Sleep

For the budget conscious there are numerous campsites available, though given the climate it might be more comfortable to stay in one of the YHA's hostels (located at Kirkby Stephen, Dufton and Birdoswald).

In the mid-range bracket, almost every village will have at least one Bed & Breakfast, with standards and decor ranging from grubby and chintzy to modern and flash. Some particularly good deals are to be had staying in traditional working farms, and you're guaranteed a freshly laid egg at breakfast. Check reviews before you book. Prices are generally comparably low. Village pubs will often have a room or two to rent, with costs usually similar to Bed & Breakfast.

There are a couple of top-end hotels in the area - the Appleby Manor Country House Hotel in Appleby and Augill Castle near Brough.

Contributors

as well as Hien (1%)

Help contribute to this article to share the ad revenue.

Eden Valley Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Eden Valley

This is version 18. Last edited at 18:22 on Jun 6, 09 by Hien. 10 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License