Walk 1388 - printer friendly version
Kirkby Stephen & Hartley Circular Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 5.0 miles / 8.1 km
Ascent - 550 feet / 167 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference NY775087
Lat 54.473158 + Long -2.3487012
Postcode CA17 4QT (approx. location only)
This circular walk starts from the pleasant town of Kirkby Stephen and explores the rolling country lying to the east of the town. The route includes riverside walking, a section of woodland, views across wild moorland and the Vale of Eden. Part of the return route is along a quiet country lane offering a grandstand view of Kirkby Stephen.
There is plenty of parking in Kirkby Stephen including a car park to the west of the main road (grid ref. NY772088). Wherever you park locate the entrance to the parish church in the Market Square. With your back to the church turn left and walk down the narrow road next to the newsagents. Follow the sign for River Eden and Frank's Bridge down an alley, Stone Shot. At the bottom turn left and cross Frank's Bridge. Turn right along a path following the River Eden which is on your right.
The path joins a walled lane. Shortly after the first bend in the River Eden turn left on a signed footpath (grid ref. NY779080). This leads across a field to a bridge over a disused railway (grid ref. NY780077). Continue on the path through two fields to reach a junction of paths (grid ref. NY782074). Bear left here through woodland to follow Ladthwaite Beck upstream. The path climbs away from the beck before contouring across the northern slopes of Birkett Hill to reach Ladthwaite Farm.
Bear left here and follow the signed path initially alongside a wall on your left. The path then leaves this wall and climbs more steeply up to a tarmac lane (grid ref. NY799075). East from here there are grand views across Hartley Fell whilst directly ahead lies another Birkett Hill! To continue turn west (left) down the tarmac lane. This descends quite sharply in places with the vast expanse of Hartley Quarry to your left.
Continue on the lane until it starts to level out before Hartley village. Cross the first small bridge on the left (grid ref. NY782085) and turn left to locate a footpath on your right. This leads across a meadow back to Frank's Bridge from where you retrace your steps back into Kirkby Stephen.