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May is National Walking Month - our recommended Local walks

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

Make the most of May's National Walking Month with our local walk recommendations

Walks in the Cumbrian Dales to make the most of May's National Walking Month
Make the most of May's National Walking Month

May marks the start of the Living Streets National Walking Month which this year is adopting the hashtag #Try20 to encourage us all to walk for 20 minutes each day.

With that in mind and as our village of Ravenstonedale is perfectly nestled between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales we'd like to suggest these superb walks of varying lengths and level of challenge for guests to enjoy. In order to do this we've tapped into Richard’s insider knowledge. Richard is a qualified Mountain Leader, walking guide and regularly takes guests out to enjoy the best of our local area on foot.

Best 20-minute walk for the #Try20

Enjoy a quick 20-minute wander directly from our front door and discover the beautifully quiet and aptly named Paradise Tarn. You can sit and enjoy the herons as they stand watch and plenty of other birdlife. It’s such a relaxing spot that we find many guests wander down to the tarn every day during their stay with us.

A walk that makes the most of May

The cairns on Wild Boar Fell - a walk from The Green Cumbria
The cairns on Wild Boar Fell

Wild Boar Fell is a local classic and one of the finest hills in the area. With a mountainous feel this is a classic walk best enjoyed early in the day when you will hopefully capture a beautiful sunrise. Interestingly, the fell was home to the last wild boar to survive in England, hence the name.

An array of stone cairns on the east side of the plateau provide a superb lookout point with far reaching views.

There are several routes up but our suggestion is to park at Cotegill Bridge in the Mallerstang Valley and head up on open access land - although navigation skills are required.

A packed-with-interest walk to enthrall even the youngest family members

The walk to Smardale Gill is a wildlife haven
The viaduct at Smardale Gill which is a wildlife haven

One of our favourite walks is from Ravenstonedale into Smardale Gill following a low level and pretty flat route using a disused railway.

Smardale Gill is home to Smardale Viaduct and is a wonderfully varied nature reserve stretching from from Newbiggin almost as far as Kirkby Stephen.

Make a day of it by walking the route from our front door and discover a range of unusual plants in the grasslands along with bluebells, primrose and early purple orchid during the spring time.

Along the way you will cross the 14 arches of the super impressive viaduct which was built in 1861, you can have a paddle in Scandal Beck, enjoy a picnic and visit the lead mining remains and the lime kilns built into the hill side (which the kids will love climbing into!). A great walk for the whole family.

The Big Yomp – a full day’s hike to really stretch those legs

Walking in the Howgill Fells
Fabulous hikes in the Howgill Fells

How about a full day out in the fabulous Howgill Fells. Rounded grassy hills, deep valleys and high ridges. This walk starts at the Cross Keys Inn (about 10 mins drive), a unique pub as it’s the only one in England without an alcohol licence, and passes through the site of an Iron Age settlement before rising steeply alongside the impressive Cautley Spout waterfall.

Once you reach the top the falls, walk south above Cautley Crag to visit the wonderfully named Great Dummacks before sweeping round to reach the tops of Calders, Bram Rigg Top and The Calf, the highest summit in the Howgills at 676m.

Beyond there drop into Bowderdale before a steep pull up onto Yarlside, your final summit of the day. Reflect on your day with a pint (of Coke!) back at the pub!

A walk through history

Fell End and Stennerskeugh Clouds. “The Clouds” are a rocky outcrop on the flanks of Wild Boar Fell, with limestone pavements that date back 350 million years.

This is a fascinating geological area, with industrial history of lead mining too. With wonderful views of the Eden Valley, North Pennines and Lake District this is not a walk to be rushed. Take your time and enjoy this wonderful landscape.

Shhh – our personal favourite

The Settle Carlisle railway at Kirkby Stephen
Hop on the train at Kirkby Stephen before starting a superb walk through the Mallerstang valley

This has to be the high-level walk along the full length of the Mallerstang Valley. On a clear day there are superb views in abundance on this fabulous walk. This is a linear traverse which can be enjoyed by getting the train one-stop south from Kirkby Stephen to Garsdale Head on the Settle to Carlisle Railway and then walking back to Kirkby Stephen on the East side of the valley.

The route is around 16 miles following the high-level ridge of Mallerstang Edge, taking in several summits including Hugh Seat, Gregory Chapel, High Seat and Nine Standards Rigg.

Whatever walk you do from here, you'll find peace and quiet, history, wildlife, fun and friendly locals - what's not to love!



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