With the extension of the National Park on 1 August 2016, there’s so much more to discover – 24% more in fact!
In common with the existing National Park, the new area is one of extraordinary natural beauty, rich cultural and archaeological heritage and brilliant opportunities for outdoor recreation.
And you can be assured of a warm welcome from the many fantastic local businesses and tourism operators that make this such a great place to stay and enjoy.
To find out how to get here, where to stay and what to see and do, browse our Visit the Dales pages. Or you can call in at a National Park Centre where our knowledgeable information advisors will be pleased to help you make the most of your visit.
Find your Eden
In the north west of the National Park, the River Eden starts its journey to the sea high in the Mallerstang valley. It crashes down through Hell Gill – a narrow, steep-sided limestone gorge – into the main valley at Aisgill. This has a wild and remote feel, hemmed in by Mallerstang on one side and the distinctive Wild Boar Fell on the other.
This is a valley of great history as well as beauty. Near Outhgill are the ruins of twelfth century Pendragon Castle – which legend associates with Uther Pendragon, the father of King Arthur. The castle has been ruined by fire several times and was restored in the seventeenth century by Lady Ann Clifford who is associated with many sites throughout the Dales. There are also the ruins of a Pele Tower – a defensive building against Scottish raiders – at nearby Lammerside.
Running down the length of Mallerstang is the Settle-Carlisle railway from its highest point at Aisgill, passing Kirkby Stephen and following the Eden Valley all the way to Carlisle.
The Orton Fells is an exposed area of moorland which has stunning limestone pavement surrounded by farmland. Sunbiggin Tarn is a small lake in a dramatic location and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
This is great walking and cycling country. It is crossed by the famous Coast to Coast walk and marks the end of the Pennine Bridleway. There are lovely riverside paths and easily accessible routes across the moors with amazing prehistoric sites and the North Pennines and Howgills as a stunning backdrop.
Villages & viaducts
Nestled beneath The Howgills – a dramatic area of high, rounded hills described by walker and writer Alfred Wainwright as looking like a ‘herd of sleeping elephants – are Ravenstonedale and Newbiggin-on-Lune, great bases for exploring the northern part of the area.
There are picturesque villages such as Crosby Ravensworth with its community run Butcher’s Arms pub and Orton, a popular spot with a pub, café and Kennedy’s Chocolate Factory. The village has the distinctive white-towered All Saints Church and bridges cross the two becks which enclose a central green
Other delightful villages to discover including Maulds Meaburn, Great Asby and Crosby Garrett.
A thriving market town, Kirkby Stephen has pretty individual shops, galleries, a delicatessen and a Monday market, as well as a visitor centre.
The nearby Northern Viaducts Trail is an accessible walk which takes in part of the old Stainmore Railway. A section of this line has been restored by rail enthusiasts who operate Kirkby Stephen East station and put on footplate classes and events.
A few miles away is another part of old railway line which has been restored to make a walking trail – Smardale Gill and Viaduct. This provides a dramatic flat walk through a beautiful wooded gill and across a spectacular 14 arch viaduct over Scandal Beck.
Walkers will delight in the low level walks on The Dales Way by the River Dee as well as the higher routes on the Howgills. There is also quirky Riverside Golf Club with its 18 short holes and just nine greens, and Bessy Beck Trout Fishery, which offers beginners and experienced anglers alike the chance to catch rainbow trout. And Stone Trail Holidays offers bike hire and horse riding from its base right on the Pennine Bridleway National Trail.
More information can be found on www.visiteden.co.uk and www.ravenstonedale.org.
The hills have secrets
The east side of the Lune Valley rises up to the high fells of Middleton, Barbon, Leck and Casterton. This wild and exposed area hides a secret – the longest cave system in Britain. The Three Counties system stretches 86km under Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.
Intersecting these fells is the wonderful tranquil valley of Barbondale which hosts the famous Barbon hill climb and takes a picturesque route through to Dent. Discover unusual hidden gems like the Churchmouse at Barbon.
Further north, the Lune gorge forms a natural pass between the Howgills and the Lake District fells which has been used by travellers for thousands of years. The Dales Way long-distance path still uses this route in its journey connecting the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.
T is for…trains, tees & Turner
In the heart of the Lune Valley sits the photogenic and historic market town of Kirkby Lonsdale. Its many old buildings – often dating back hundreds of years – are clustered around quaint streets and squares, and there is now a great range of independent shops, cafes, pubs and hotels, a visitor centre and a regular market which add to its atmosphere.
Take a stroll alongside the river to visit Devil’s Bridge which spectacularly crosses the River Lune. Probably twelfth of thirteenth century, it is now a Scheduled Monument. There is a great picnic area to enjoy by the river or you can buy a mug of tea from the famous snack wagon.
A short walk away is Ruskin’s View, a well known viewpoint over the river which was painted by the renowned eighteenth century landscape artist J M W Turner.
If golf is your thing, then there are two courses to play on. Kirkby Lonsdale Golf has 18 holes while Casterton Golf Club is a 9 hole course which also offers a Par 3 course, ideal for beginners.
Running through the Lune Valley is the old railway line which linked Clapham to Tebay. As you explore you can still see evidence of this superb piece of engineering in a number of dramatic viaducts which span the valley. Tebay was once a bustling railway junction town and is still a convenient stopping point with easy access making it a good base for walkers and cyclists.
More information can be found on www.kirkbylonsdale.co.uk