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. A number of walks have also been devised which make use of the Plusbus which serves villages surrounding Kirkby Stephen.
Walking guides and leaflets are available from the Tourist Information Centre Tel: 017683 71199.
More information about walking in the area may be found on the Kirkby Stephen Walkers are Welcome website – www.walkeden.org