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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. If you enjoy spending time in quiet, scenic countryside and visting pretty villages, it's hard to beat. We're also perfectly placed for day trips to the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, and Pennine Dales Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

The local area is exceptionally easy to explore via a good network of footpaths through fields and villages and there is open access to huge swathes of high and low fells, all with fantastic views. For inspiration, our booklet "Nine Great Walks from Low Greenside" is available at the campsite (£3), with route descriptions and maps for each circular walk from your tent.

 

On this page we focus on helping you experience our favourite special places within a 12 mile radius. Recommended activities are either free or inexpensive. There are links to interesting, useful, and inspiring websites. We've also included a few links some of the best walks in the Lakes and Dales and a couple of recommendations for wet weather days out.

Accessibility info is highlighted in red.

Accessible public toilets and baby change facilities around  Eden District.

For an inspirational peek at our countryside, here's a nice little video showing some of the lovely walks and villages near the campsite, all on accessible routes.

The Visit Eden website gives an overview of the area, including the nearby market towns of Kirkby Stephen and Appleby, and the villages of Shap, Orton, and Tebay. Another lovely little market town nearby is Sedbergh

OUR PRETTY VILLAGE, RAVENSTONEDALE, has the rare distinction of 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 have riverside gardens, serve real ales and excellent food, and are dog friendly.

Visit the Scar Art Gallery, next to the Black Swan, to see work by local artists; St Oswald's church with it's unusual pews and pulpit; and the churchyard with Gilbertine monastic ruins. Children will enjoy the little playground next to the public tennis court and the river.

ACTIVITIES IN AND AROUND RAVENSTONEDALE VILLAGE

WALKING FROM THE CAMPSITE

Our 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 field and fell walks, family walks with pub en route, and a walk to Paradise!

  • A favourite walk for families is to Smardale Gill - a National Nature Reserve with wildflowers, rare Scotch Argus butterflies, red squirrels, deer, huge lime kilns, and a high disused railway viaduct to cross. 'Nine Great Walks' gives the route from the campsite. There is also an accessible route for wheelchairs and push chairs, with benches along the way. Download this pictorial pdf guide to identify Wildflowers of the Westmorland Dales.

  • A circular walk on footpaths through fields and farmyards will take you to the Fat Lamb Inn for lunch or a pint. 4 miles, there and back.

  • Up our lane, 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 high rounded hill you see from the campsite.

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 independent shops viable, busy, and vibrant. See SHOP LOCAL below for a guide to shopping.

Visitor Information Centre near the Market Square. Tel: 017683 71199.

St Stephen's Church (known as the Cathedral of the Dale) is worth visiting. Unusual stone carvings and tombs giving an insight into local history.

If you like feeding ducks or want somewhere to picnic, leave the Market Square on foot by the small road at the top left corner and continue ahead 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.

If you have wellies, a fishing net and a jam jar, here's a great guide from Eden Rivers Trust to identifying mini-beasts in the river.

Kirkby Stephen East historic railway station has working steam engines and displays about the railway and its influence on the town. Free and nicely quirky. Have a cup of tea in the old buffet car (very 1950s) and take a short trip on a steam train.

Directions from the campsite: Go to Kirkby Stephen and, immediately after crossing the bridge at the entrance to the town, just before you reach the first buildings turn left and keep bearing left to the station car park. Open weekends.  Access info.

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

 

Stenkrith Park is highly recommended, a native woodland bordering a spectacular stretch of the River Eden and a great walk in any weather. The Poetry Path circular walk starts here (printed guide available from the Visitor Centre in town), as does the Viaduct walk along an old railway track crossing 2 high viaducts. Look out for the 12 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. Another lovely swimming spot is upstream of the road, via a small footpath next to the road bridge. (Don't be tempted to swim in the Devil's Mustard Pot below the Millenium Bridge, which is dangerous!)

Drive to Kirkby Stephen and take the first road on the right as soon as you reach the town. Ahead at the T junction is the Park entrance and a sign to the car park.

A nice little town with plenty of character is SEDBERGH, England's only book town. 12 miles.

It has a Wednesday market, monthly artisan markets, and a number of festivals each year, all very entertaining. Lots of second hand books on sale around the town. The drive there is really pretty, passing Cautley Spout waterfall and the Cross KeysTemperance Inn.

Don't miss Far Field Mill, a Victorian woollen mill, now a heritage, art and craft centre with a cafe. Visit the workshops of 16 resident artists and craftspeople; fascinating displays on the bygone role of wool in the dales; international textile exhibitions; some of the best arts and crafts on sale anywhere in the dales. Turn left onto the Garsdale road shortly after reaching the outskirts of Sedbergh. Far Field Mill is about a mile further on, on the left.

MORE WALKS NEAR THE CAMPSITE

  • Circular walk from Orton to Gamelands Stone Circle.

  • Little Asby Scar, Sunbiggin Tarn and lonesome Potts Valley, all reached by the road heading north from Newbiggin on Lune. Open access land.

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

  • Cautley Spout, England's highest waterfall. 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 home made cake or a delicious meal after your walk to the waterfall.

  • The Other Borrowdale. Take the Kendal bus from Ravenstonedale (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 this scarcely used road along a remote and pretty valley with a 'forgotten' feel. 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 Great Asby Scar.

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 pushchairs. The nearest are Smardale Gill Nature Reserve (nr Ravenstonedale, see above), River Rawthey (Sedbergh), and Killington (south of Sedbergh).

  • More walks in the Yorkshire Dales 

  • See OTHER CAR FREE DAYS OUT below for walks from the Settle-Carlisle Railway.

WALKING IN THE LAKE DISTRICT

CYCLING

OTHER CAR FREE DAYS OUT

A comprehensive set of links for exploring the Eden Valley and the Lake District by train, bus, bicycle, boat, taxi, hire car/electric car, or even an electric 'sheep' can be found here.

 

Cumbria Classic Coaches runs heritage bus routes from Ravenstonedale to Kendal, Kirkby Stephen and Barnard Castle. Bus pass holders go free.

Settle-Carlisle Railway and railway walks

Kirkby Stephen railway station (4 miles) is on the very scenic Settle-Carlisle Line. Free parking at the station. Possibly the best train ride in England! It's very well organised for walkers and cyclists.

​​WET DAYS

  • Keswick is easy to reach and is less crowded than Windermere, Bowness or Ambleside. There are several good quality indoor attractions to interest people of all tastes and ages. Lakeside access and parking at Theatre by the Lake. Good outdoor shops. 45 mins by car.

  • Itinerary for a Right Good Day out in Yorkshire - plenty of indoor options in Hawes and Sedbergh and great scenery all the way. Head to Hawes via the spectacular Tommy Road over to Mallerstang and stop at Pendragon Castle. Turn right and travel up the lovely Mallerstang valley until you reach the Moorcock Inn. Turn left 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 home, take a circular route back by continuing straight on at the Moorcock Inn and down scenic Garsdale. Visit Far Field Mill in time for tea before arriving at Sedbergh. From Sedbergh, take the Kirkby Stephen road home (A684), turning left at the Fat Lamb for Ravenstonedale.

ADVENTURE...

INTO the OUTSIDE (based nearby at Tebay and run by some lovely people) offers: Guided Walks, Ghyll Scrambling, Wild Swimming, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking,  Canoeing & Kayaking. Design your own 'combo' and fit in two adventures into one day!

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

STARGAZING - free of charge, carbon neutral, infinitely sustainable, late night entertainment on the campsite!

We are a designated Dark Sky Friendly campsite in an International Dark Sky Reserve, one of only 18 such reserves in the world. With no lighting in the camping field and minimal light pollution in the area, we are in one of the best locations in the UK for stargazing. On a clear night the Milky Way is glorious. In August each year you'll see shooting stars as we sail through the Perseid meteor shower.

Download this guide to Stargazing in the Dales and a Seasonal star chart. Bring a blanket to wrap up in. Binoculars or a telescope will help you see more stars. A torch with a red filter or red nail varnish painted on the glass will help your eyes stay accustomed to the dark.

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 Main Street, you'll find a good butcher (yummy pies and cooked ham), greengrocer with wholefoods, bakery, bank with cash point, 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. The Church Gallery has great gifts, coffee and home made cakes.

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

There're a good sized Coop supermarket and 2 petrol stations at the far end of town. The nearest petrol station travelling west from the campsite is at Tebay roundabout, just before the M6.

FARMERS' MARKETS AND LOCALLY PRODUCED FOOD

Owen's Farm Shop and Cafe. Locally produced meats, cheeses, bread, baking, crafts and gifts. Seasonal activities. Turn left at the mini roundabout at the far end of Kirkby Stephen. Fork left at the Grammar School.

Orton Farmers Market is on the 2nd Saturday of each month, 9.30am - 2pm. Good range of produce.

The Chocolate Factory at Orton has gorgeous handmade choccies. Silver Yard Cafe at Orton is good for light meals and home made cakes. Orton Village Shop and Post Office has a well provisioned shop and locally made pastries.

Keep your food miles to the minimum - Piper Hole Goat Farm, Ravenstonedale, sells goat cheese and milk products. Visit the goats by arrangement.

Brough Castle Ice Cream Parlour & Tearoom, Brough - a cornucopia of homemade ice creams plus free entry to the castle!

Low Howgill Butchers & Deli in Appleby sells very fine locally produced, grass fed meats from traditional breeds. We recommend the Shorthorn flat-iron steaks - borrow one of our grills and BBQ on your campfire.

The Wensleydale Creamery is a must if you're going to Hawes. A complete visitor experience for all the family and lots of lovely cheese samples to try.

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! There is also a smaller outlet at the petrol station near the roundabout at Tebay.

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