The Viaduct Round
The complete circular walk, known as the Viaduct Round, starts at the centre of Kirkby Stephen and incorporates local footpaths, totalling about four miles. The portion along the old railway over the viaducts is easily accessible to walkers, cyclists and horse riders. With graded level surface it allows good access for visitors of all levels of mobility.
The attraction of the route is not just its majestic viaducts, but the path provides incomparable views of the Eden Valley and North Pennines particularly from Podgill where, in addition, steps have been provided at one end enabling the viaduct to be viewed from below, together with picnic tables. Furthermore, the Trust is careful to maintain the route and its vegetation in such a way as to ensure that wildlife is protected, both flora and fauna and the embankments of the former railway are managed to maximise nature conservation benefits.
The project, which has restored a disused and derelict railway, has attracted widespread local and national interest, and provided a much-used and appreciated amenity for the local community and visitors alike. Descriptive leaflets are available from local tourist offices, and the Trust has published a detailed walking guide to all three viaducts.
The path starts in Stenkrith Park, which is managed by Kirkby Stephen Parish Town Council, with a new footbridge over the River Eden. From the bridge the visitor will have spectacular views of whirlpools and rapids below as the river passes through a rocky gorge which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its geological formations.