Kirkby Stephen is in the heart of spectacular countryside with miles of footpaths and bridleways and thousands of acres of open access land.

There are recognised trails and walks of various lengths enabling hikers to explore the landscape, villages, culture and history of the area. Wainwright’s famous coast-to-coast route crosses the surrounding fells and passes through Kirkby Stephen and Hartley.  Classic fell walks such as Nine Standards Rigg, Wild Boar Fell and routes in the Howgills are on the doorstep.  Much of the surrounding  upland countryside is open access land, giving walkers the freedom to roam.

On a more modest scale, a huge variety of lower level walks through valleys, farmland and woods, along rivers, by waterfalls and on disused railway lines may be enjoyed. The Northern Viaducts Round follows over a mile of the former Stainmore Railway crossing the Merrygill and Podgill Viaducts and is accessible to wheelchairs and buggies. The line coincides in part with another walking route, the Poetry Path, along which 12 large stones inscribed with poems reflecting a year in the life of a hill farmer have been installed. Another section of the former Stainmore railway line can also be walked at Smardale Gill, about 3 miles from Kirkby Stephen.

Walking guides and leaflets are available from the Tourist Information Centre Tel: 017683 71199.

Walkers are Welcome

In April 2009, Kirkby Stephen became the first town in Cumbria to be awarded Walkers are Welcome status.

Kirkby Stephen Walkers are Welcome has its own website, www.walkeden.org, [email protected] which contains a wealth of information about walking in the Kirkby Stephen/Upper Eden area, the North Pennines and the Howgills. Click here to view Walk Eden’s Calendar of Events which includes Guided Walks, Walking Festivals, Talks and Conservation Work.

Click here to view our page on the national Walkers are Welcome website, and to find out more about this innovative community-led scheme.