The Upper Eden Valley and Howgill Fells is in an especially beautiful and distinctive area known as the Westmorland Dales, part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It's an excellent location for anyone who enjoys spending time in scenic countryside and pretty villages and is perfectly placed for day trips to the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. 

  

It's quite easy to find info on t'internet about activities in the Lakes and Dales, so here we've here we've included some links to help you find the best walks in those areas and then we've focussed on helping you experience our favourite special places and walks within a 12 mile radius of the campsite. We've put links to the most interesting, useful, and inspiring websites and downloads we've found. Most activities are free or inexpensive. Accessibility info is highlighted in red.

When you book, you'll get a pdf about what's available on foot from your tent. At the campsite there's printed info on recommended places to walk, visit, eat and drink locally. We'll also let you know about any special events happening during your visit. In the meantime, read on and click on the links to get some tips from us locals about beautiful but little known area!

The Visit Eden website is a good place to to get an overview of the District. It includes info on the nearby market towns of Kirkby Stephen and Appleby, as well as the villages of Shap, Orton, and Tebay. For accessible public toilets and baby change facilities around  Eden District click here.

On our page we've also included the town of Sedbergh, which is nearby but in North Yorkshire.

THE PRETTY VILLAGE OF RAVENSTONEDALE has the rare distinction of still having 2 pubs! It's a pleasant 10-15 minute stroll from the campsite, through the fields or down the lane.

 

Call in for coffee, a pint or a meal (including breakfasts!) at the Kings Head or the Black Swan. Both serve real ales and excellent food. Both have riverside gardens and are dog friendly. It's advisable to book in summer and at weekends.

On the way to the Black Swan, visit the Scar Art Gallery to see work by local artists; St Oswald's church with it's unusual layout; and the churchyard with Gilbertine monastic ruins.

Children will enjoy the little playground by the river.

In summer you can pre-order a truly yummy stonebaked pizza from Ravenstonedale's very own taste of Italy, Pizza Artigiano. (We've eaten far too many this year!)

ACTIVITIES IN AND AROUND RAVENSTONEDALE VILLAGE

  • You don't need to be a serious golfer to have a round at the Riverside Golf Course - pretty, informal, fun, and inexpensive. 9/18 holes. Clubs available at the campsite.

  • Experienced riders can go pony trekking on the fells from Stonetrail Riding Centre.

  • Bring your racquet and play tennis on the public court by the river. Honesty box.

  • Catch a trout for your BBQ at Bessy Beck Trout Farm.

  • Piper Hole Goat Farm and Coronation Meadow. Call Georgia Hunter on 07854 799231 to arrange a visit. Locally produced meats and goats' milk products.

  • Ride to market on the Classic Bus from Ravenstonedale to Kendal (Mon), Hawes (Tues), or Barnard Castle (Wed). See CAR FREE DAYS OUT for timetables.

  • Visit the ruins of  Pendragon Castle in the Mallerstang Valley, via the Tommy Road (shown on the map in the link). There must be few castle ruins left so much to themselves as this one - you can almost feel as if you discovered it yourself! Scenic route. No entry fee.

WALKS FROM THE CAMPSITE

Directly from your tent there are many hill and valley walks to choose from:

- Our guide booklet "Nine Great Walks from Low Greenside" (£3) gives a route description and map for each walk. All walks are circular from the campsite, from 4 to 9 miles. Includes fell walks, family walks with a pub en route, Smardale Gill Nature Reserve and Viaduct, and a walk to Paradise!

- Invent your own route using our simple footpath map of the area round Ravenstonedale (£3), or use

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL19, Howgills and Upper Eden Valley.

  • Our favourite walk, suitable for families, is to Smardale Gill - a Nature Reserve with wildflowers, rare Scotch Argus butterflies, red squirrels, deer, huge lime kilns, and a long, high disused railway viaduct to walk across. 'Nine Great Walks' gives the route from the campsite but there are alternativer ways to get there, including an accessible route for wheelchairs and push chairs.

  • Walk up our lane and, a few minutes from your tent, you are straight out on the Howgill Fells where you can walk all day with only sheep and ponies to keep you company. Great views from Green Bell, the rounded hill you see from the campsite.

  • A circular walk on footpaths through fields and farmyards will take you to the Fat Lamb Inn and back. 4 miles

OUR LOCAL TOWN IS KIRKBY STEPHEN (5 miles). It's a 'Walkers are Welcome' town, attractive and friendly, with very pleasant shops and cafes.

We encourage you to do your shopping in Kirkby Stephen. It has all that you're likely to need, you'll meet some of the locals, and you'll be helping to keep our small independant shops viable, busy, and vibrant. See SHOP LOCAL for a guide to what's on offer.

There's a Visitor Information Centre near the Market Square.

St Stephen's Church is worth visiting and has some unusual stone carvings and tombs giving an insight into local history.

While on the Market Square, if you like feeding ducks or want somewhere to picnic, leave the Square by the small road at the top left corner, and continue ahead on foot through a high walled passage leading down to Frank's Bridge. Here be ducks.

Cross Franks' Bridge and turn right to follow the Family River Trail alongside the River Eden.

At the top end of the town is Kirkby Stephen East, an historic railway station with steam engines and displays about the railway and its influence on the town. Free to go in and nicely quirky.

The volunteers are pleased to answer your questions and may even let you get up on an engine. Have a cup of tea in the old buffet car - very 1950s - and take a short trip on a steam train. Open weekends. Click on the link above for opening times, event days, and access info.

Directions from the campsite: Go to Kirkby Stephen and immediately after crossing the bridge, just before you reach the town's first buildings, turn left and keep bearing left to the station car park.

Next to Kirkby Stephen East is Platform 3 Play soft play centre with a cafe and home made cakes. Great on a wet day for simultaneously tiring kids out and resting parents!

 

Stenkrith Park is highly recommended, a native woodland bordering a spectacular stretch of the River Eden and a great place to go whatever the weather. There is parking near the gate to the park.

The Poetry Path circular walk starts here (printed guide available from the Visitor Centre in town), as does the interesting, accessible Viaduct walk along an old railway track crossing 2 viaducts.

Look out for some of the carved poetry stones in Stenkrith Park and on the Viaduct walk.

For wild swimming, there's a tiny beach and a wide pool at the far end of the park. There's another swimming spot upstream of the road, via a small footpath next to the river. Don't be tempted to swim in the Devil's Mustard Pot below the Millenium Bridge, which is dangerous!

Directions from the campsite: Go to Kirkby Stephen and take the first road on the right at the edge of the town. Ahead at the T junction is the entrance and a sign to the car park.

Another nice little town with plenty of character is Sedbergh, England's only book town.

It has a Wednesday market, monthly atrisan markets, and a number of festivals each year, all very entertaining. The drive there is really pretty, and passes the Cross KeysTemperance Inn and Cautley Spout (see below).

Don't miss Far Field Mill near Sedbergh, a Victorian woollen mill, now a community managed heritage, art and craft centre. Visit the workshops of 16 resident artists and craftspeople; fascinating displays on social history and the bygone role of wool in the dales; changing programme of art exhibitions; gorgeous displays of some of the best arts and crafts for sale in the dales; and a cafe. Going from the campsite, turn 1st left onto the Garsdale road soon after entering Sedbergh. Far Field Mill is about a mile from the turning.

MORE WALKS NEAR THE CAMPSITE

  • An accessible walk in Appleby along the river Eden.

  • Explore Little Asby Scar and lonesome Potts Valley, both reached by the road heading north from Newbiggin on Lune. Wintery photos and a route map.

  • See the extraordinary limestone pavements on Great Asby Scar. Open access land.

  • Cautley Spout, England's highest waterfall. Go by bus or take the A684 Sedbergh road and park near the Cross Keys, a 400 year old temperance inn owned by the National Trust and full of character. Take a step back in time at the Cross Keys with a well deserved cuppa and cake after your walk. No website so ring 015396 20284 for opening hours.

  • The Other Borrowdale. Take a bus to Kendal via Tebay (timetables below) and ask to be put down after Tebay, at the turning to Borrowdale (2nd right turn after crossing over the M6). If you go by car, there is plenty of parking space near the gate into Borrowdale. Continue on foot to walk the scarcely used road along this remote and pretty valley with a 'forgotten' feel. A linear walk by road, with a gentle incline. Suitable for most abilities, wheelchairs and pushchairs.

  • Take a 12 mile linear walk across Wild Boar Fell with a train ride to take you back to the start. Click here for inspiration on this and other walks.

WALKING IN THE YORKSHIRE DALES

  • Walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park - long walks, short walks, and Miles without Stiles accessible routes for wheelchair users and familes with pushchairs. The nearest of the accessible walks are Smardale Gill Nature Reserve (nr Ravenstonedale, see above), River Rawthey (Sedbergh), and Killington (south of Sedbergh).

  • More walks in the Yorkshire Dales 

  • See below for Yorkshire walks using the Settle-Carlisle Railway

WALKING IN THE LAKE DISTRICT

CYCLING

OTHER CAR FREE DAYS OUT

Buses

You can take a classic vintage bus from Ravenstonedale to Kirkby Stephen 4 days a week, and from Ravenstonedale to Kendal, Hawes, and Barnard Castle on Market days each week.

      Timetables:-

Settle-Carlisle Railway

Kirkby Stephen railway station (4 miles) is on the very scenic Settle-Carlisle Line. If you enjoy train rides this is one of the best in the country. It's very well organised for walkers and cyclists. Free parking at the station. Timetables

​​WET DAYS

  •  Keswick is nicer and less crowded than Windermere or Bowness and has more to do. There are many and varied good quality indoor attractions to interest people of all tastes and ages. Good outdoor shops. 45 mins by car.

  • Itinerary for a right good day out in Yorkshire with plenty of indoor options in Hawes and lovely scenery all the way. Head to Hawes via the Tommy Road into Mallerstang and stop at Pendragon Castle. Turn right here and travel up the lovely Mallerstang valley until you reach the Moorcock Inn. Turn left here to Hawes where you'll find lots to see in this bustling little market town (make time for cheese tasting at the Wensleydale Creamery). On the way back, take the alternative route home from the Moorcock Inn by continuing straight on down scenic Garsdale. Visit Far Field Mill before arriving at Sedbergh. From Sedbergh, take the Kirkby Stephen road home (A684) and turn left at the Fat Lamb for Ravenstonedale.

 

... OR YOU COULD JUST SIT BY YOUR TENT, watch the sheep, listen to the birds, see the light changing on the hills and wait for the cows to come home ....

For totally free of charge, carbon neutral, infinitely sustainable late night entertainment on the campsite, download this guide to stargazing in the Dales!

The National Park is seeking Dark Sky Reserve status and we're in a good spot. On a clear night the Milky Way is stunning. You can watch the space station pass over and, for a couple of weeks between mid July and mid August, you can see shooting stars as we sail through the Perseid meteor shower.

SHOP LOCAL

The attractive market town of Kirkby Stephen (5 miles) has good independant shops, cafes, pubs and take aways.

On the Market Square and the either side of it, you'll find a good butcher (yummy home made pies), greengrocer (and wholefoods), bakery, bank with cash point, post office, newsagent, launderette (behind the Horseshoe Chip Shop), Visitor Information Centre, Indian restaurant and take away, Chinese take away, 3 fish and chip shops, as well as several cafes, pubs, antique and bric-a-brac shops.

There are two outdoor shops selling camping gear, small gas cartridges and other necessities (Micmacs and Eden Outdoors). JT Atkinson (behind the Co-op) sells large gas bottles (closes at noon on Saturday).

There're a good sized Coop supermarket and 2 petrol garages at the far end of town. (The nearest petrol station travelling west is at Tebay roundabout.)

FARMERS' MARKETS AND LOCALLY PRODUCED FOOD

Farmers Markets are held at Orton on the 2nd Saturday and Brough on the 3rd Saturday of each month, 9.30am - 2pm. Click Eden's Farmers' Markets for a full list of farmers' markets in Eden

Keep your food miles to the minimum - Piper Hole Goat Farm, Ravenstonedale. Meats and goat milk products.

Award winning Ivy Cottage Bakery is in Newbiggin on Lune. Message them to order delicious breads for your picnics or to share round your campfire. We're happy have them dropped for you at the house.

Brough Castle Ice Cream Parlour & Tearoom, Brough - a cornucopia of homemade ice creams plus free entry to the castle! Great place for a last stop if you're about to travel on the A66.

Low Howgill Butchers & Deli in Appleby sells very fine locally produced meats from traditional breeds. We recommend the Shorthorn flat-iron steaks.

Westmorland Services Farm Shops on the north and south bound carriageways of the M6, north of Junction 38. Handy for stocking up on the way home! (Or you can reach the bigger southbound shop by using the service road north of Orton.)

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Low Greenside Farm, Greenside Lane, Ravenstonedale,

Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, CA17 4LU, England,UK

Tel: 01539 623217