Walking in the Upper Eden Valley

Dawdles and Legstretchers

‘Dawdles’ walks are short guided strolls taking place every Thursday morning, starting from the Market Square in Kirkby Stephen. ‘Legstretchers’ are longer walks in the surrounding area, once a month on a Friday. Both are organised by the Walkers are Welcome group. Check out the current programme

Long distance paths

A number of long distance paths pass through Kirkby Stephen or nearby. The best known is Wainwright’s Coast to Coast. Others include the Lady Anne’s Way and the Pennine Journey (and Bridleway). Find out more

Accessible walks

There are various accessible walks in and around Kirkby Stephen suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and those who require a reasonably flat, firm surface to walk on. ‘Access the Dales’ is dedicated to promoting accessible walks in the Yorkshire Dales.


Geocaching is a popular outdoor activity involving searching for real or virtual caches in the countryside. The area around Kirkby Stephen has dozens of caches. Find out more

Guidebooks and maps

The best walking map for the area is the OS 1:25,000 Outdoor Leisure 19 ‘Howgill Fells and Upper Eden Valley’. The Walkers are Welcome group has published a series of Upper Eden Discovery Walks booklets. These and other guides and leaflets are available at the Visitor Centre. Find out more on the Visitor Centre website.

Railway walks

The area around Kirkby Stephen offers some fine walks along old railway lines, with some truly impressive viaducts to cross, reflecting the fact that the town was something of a transport hub in the Victorian era. Find out more

Nature reserves

The Cumbria Wildlife Trust is custodian of some fabulous places to walk near Kirkby Stephen, including Smardale Gill, Argill Woods and Tarn Sike. There are full details of all the reserves and a map on the Cumbria Wildlife Trust website.


Watch out for our red squirrels, which are thriving thanks to careful control of the greys. On the fells there is very wide range of birdlife, while in the fields you may see hares and deer. You may be surprised to see macaws flying over the town.