Tuesday 9 August 2022

Smardale Gill Circular Walk

 Smardale Gill & Smardale Gill Viaduct Walk

In 2016 the Yorkshire Dales National Park was extended westward to take in some of the eastern edges of Cumbria including the Howgills and the Eden Valley including Smardale.

An approximate 25 minute drive from Pry House Farm, this 4.5 mile circular walk, on very easy going, is a relaxing ramble through Smardale Nature Reserve along the disused railway line and back through pastures and tracks that provides spectacular scenery and a wealth of fauna & flora to enjoy.

Take the A685 Kirkby Stephen to Tebay road.  Shortly after the sign for Newbiggin-on-Lune is a right hand turn signposted Great Asby.  Turn right here and immediately turn left and park up.  Walk up the road to Great Asby for approx 100 yards and turn right into the entrance to Brownber Hall.  On the left of the stone gateposts is the very attractive Lodge House.  There is a private, no entry sign on one of the gateposts but this is for vehicles, not walkers.

  Follow the driveway for a short distance to the entrance of the Nature Reserve and the old railway line.  Once on the railway line carry on along the track until you arrive at the viaduct bridge.  This is a very pleasant and relaxing stroll with an abundance of wildflowers, birds and butterflies to spot and some wonderful scenic vantage points to pause and take in the fantastic views. 
Fairies live here!

Trees provide welcome shade.

Scandal Beck flows beneath Smardale Bridge.  If you take the circular route you will cross this bridge towards the end of the walk.

Smardale Viaduct is am imposing structure and on a bright sunny day produces fabulous shadows.

Having crossed the viaduct you have two choices - a) continue along the railway path to discover even more wild flowers, birds and butterflies then turn round and return the way you came or b) at the end of the viaduct bridge take the stile on the right.  Follow the path through pastures until you come to a second stile. After crossing the stile turn right and follow the track to Smardale Bridge.

This is the bridge you have seen from the railway track early in the walk (photos 1 & 5).

From the bridge follow the track up the other side through to Friar's Bottom Farm.  Opposite the farmhouse is a stile and fingerpost marked Bridleway.  From here the track rises up over a small hill and soon meets the railway line.  Turn left and follow the railway track back to your starting point.

The linear walk (option 1) is suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs and is a lovely safe walk for children.  The circular walk does have some uneven surfaces & inclines but is still classed as an easy walk. For more details and a map click here Smardale Gill Walk