"Hidden Gems in The Eden Valley" Kirkby Stephen by nickandchris
Kirkby Stephen Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 32 photos
Last weekend we decided on the spur of the moment to head off towards Kirkby Stephen and Appleby in the motorhome for a couple of days. Amazingly we were able to book onto a caravan Club certificated location at a tiny hamlet called Bleatarn,somewhere between Appleby and Kirkby Stephen.
We took what looked like the shortest route on the map, knowing it would take longer than the main road but we were glad of our decision. Our route took us over a beautiful fell road, interspersed with limestone outcrops and lovely vistas to the distant fells.We hardly passed another vehicle.
Upon arrival at the site, we were amazed to find the place empty, we were the sole visitors all weekend and had the place to ourselves. Just as we like it!!
Saturday we spent touring the area by motorbike, taking some outrageously narrow roads through tiny hamlets as far north as Appleby and then south to Kirkby Stephen. We took time to look round both towns, liking what we saw and then headed up through the village of Hartley, onto fell, where we had arranged to visit some friends at their beautiful home, whom we hadn't seen for a couple of years. It was lovely to catch up and to meet their latest additions to their family, a couple of alpacas! Oh, they were so soft and sweet!!!
Back to the van early evening where we enjoyed a camp fire as the sun went down. The following morning, going home day, the heavens opened and it rained all day, so we didn't feel too bad about heading off home.
Kirkby Stephen and Appleby are in the Eden Valley in Cumbria and are on the edge of the Lake District.The Pennines, Swaledale in Yorkshire and the Howgill fells are close. They are both market towns and industry is mainly from farming and tourism. The closest large towns are Penrith and Kendal.
Kirkby Stephen has an unusually large parish church, known as the cathedral of the Dales. We were amazed at it's size and had no idea of it's existence. Entrance is via the cloisters, built in 1810 to provide shelter for church goers and market people.
Kirkby Stephen's station is half a mile out of town where the re-opened Settle to carlisle railway line runs.
Appleby is probably better known than Kirkby Stephen, it holds the annual horse fair in June (and has done since 18th century) when gypsies from all over the country head to Appleby to "mess about with horses."
The town also has a cloisters, similar to Kirkby Stephen and has a castle, which was home to Lady Anne Clifford in the 17th Century. Today, it is privately owned and not open to the public.
This area does attract tourists but we found it pleasantly undeveloped and rather nicer for it. It certainly has an away from it all feel that we very much appreciated.
- Pros:Rural, uncommercialised and nice for it.
- In a nutshell:A refreshing change from some parts of the nearby Lake District
From our camp site we spent the entire Saturday travelling very minor roads on our motorbike. These roads are terrific,... more travel advice
To the east of Kirkby Stephen, high above the village of Hartley is Hartley Fell. Up here can be found panoramic views... more travel advice
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