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.
On this page we focus on helping you experience our favourite special places and walks within roughly a 12 mile radius of the campsite. Most activities are free or inexpensive. There are links to the most interesting, useful, and inspiring websites and downloads we've found.
It's quite easy to find info on t'internet about activities in the Lakes and Dales, so here we've only included a few links to help you find the best walks in those areas and a couple of recommendations for wet days.
Accessibility info is highlighted in red.
The Visit Eden website is a good place to to get an overview of the area. 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.
Another lovely little market town is Sedbergh, which is nearby but in North Yorkshire.
OUR PRETTY VILLAGE, 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 your meal in summer and at weekends.
Visit the Scar Art Gallery, next to the Black Swan, 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, Ravenstonedale's very own taste of Italy, Pizza Artigiano, will cook you a truly yummy pre-ordered stonebaked pizza to bring home to the campsite.
ACTIVITIES IN AND AROUND RAVENSTONEDALE VILLAGE
You don't need to be a serious golfer to enjoy 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 to see the goats. Locally produced meats and goats' milk products.
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 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 Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 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 high disused railway viaduct to walk across. 'Nine Great Walks' gives the route from the campsite but there are other 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.
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 food 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 for a guide to what's on offer.
There's a Visitor Information Centre near the Market Square. Tel: 017683 71199.
St Stephen's Church (known as the Cathedral of the Dale) is worth visiting and has some 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 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 historic railway station with steam engines and displays about the railway and its influence on the town. Free and nicely quirky. Open weekends. Click on the link above for opening times, event days, and access info.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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. 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 as soon as you reach 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 artisan 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 in the dales; and a cafe. Going from the campsite, turn 1st 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
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. 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 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.
There is a series of occasional guided walks around the nearby area with info given on history and geology. Click for the programme.
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).
See below for Yorkshire walks using the Settle-Carlisle Railway
WALKING IN THE LAKE DISTRICT
Miles without Stiles in the Lake District 48 routes across the National Park suitable for people with limited mobility, including wheelchair users, families with pushchairs, and the visually impaired.
Places to park in the Lake District and how busy they are - this is essential reading as there are few options to park elsewhere.
'Lost Lanes: A Guide to Cycle Rides from Kirkby Stephen' is an excellent guide to 13 lovely cycle routes, taking in nearby villages and places of interest (including tea shops, very essential) - available from Halls Newsagents or the Visitor Centre in Kirkby Stephen as a book, or online in a kindle edition.
The Howgills from Sedbergh (23km more challenging circuit)
Five more local cycle routes can be downloaded here.
OTHER CAR FREE DAYS OUT
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. Train timetables
Visit ancient Appleby in Westmorland by train.
and Guided Walks on the Settle-Carlisle Line (the ones we've done have been excellent)
Book a guided walk or enjoy a music event during the Ride2Stride festival (27/04/21 to 03/05/21)
Among the nearest Lake District towns, Keswick is less crowded than Windermere or Bowness and has lots to do. 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.
Our 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 spectacular Tommy Road over to 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 by continuing straight on at the Moorcock Inn along scenic Garsdale. Visit Far Field Mill in time for tea before arriving at Sedbergh. From Sedbergh, take the Kirkby Stephen road home (A684) and turn left at the Fat Lamb for Ravenstonedale.
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 as well as overnight island stays in hammocks and mountain challenges ranging from 12hrs to 5 days. You can also design your own 'combo' where you can 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 ....
We are in an International Dark Sky Reserve, one of only 18 such designated areas in the world! With no lighting in the camping field and minimal light pollution in the sky, we are in one of the best locations in the UK for stargazing. For totally free of charge, carbon neutral, infinitely sustainable late night entertainment on the campsite, download this guide to stargazing in the Dales.
On a clear night the Milky Way is glorious. You can watch the space station pass over and for a couple of weeks in mid August each year you can see shooting stars as we sail through the Perseid meteor shower. Star charts are available on https://www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk/
Bring a blanket to wrap up in. Binoculars or a telescope will help you to see more and a torch with a red filter or red nail varnish painted on the glass will allow your eyes to stay accustomed to the dark.
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 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 from the campsite is at Tebay roundabout.
FARMERS' MARKETS AND LOCALLY PRODUCED FOOD
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 off for you at the house.
The Chocolate Factory at Orton has a tea shop as well as gorgeous handmade choccies.
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! (You can also reach the bigger southbound shop by using the service road just north of Orton on the Shap road.)