Which direction would you recommend walking it in?
The guide book is written to follow the river from the sea to its source. Rockcliffe is fairly remote, despite only being 5 miles or so from Carlisle by road, and It’s often better to get the tricky logistics out of the way to begin with, allowing you to relax at the end of the walk, knowing the train station at Garsdale is close by with easy links to the rest of the country. Starting at the sea also means that we’re walking back to the Yorkshire Dales and this means we have options to extend the walk if time and inclination permits. The Eden Way links seamlessly with the Yoredale Way for instance and it’s a fairly simple task to divert to the Swale Way if desired.
What are the highlights?
The River Eden passes through the splendid valley of the same name, rich in historical interest and blessed with incredible scenery. Every day spends long periods on riverside paths, allowing a walker to watch the river change its nature slowly before their eyes; from the broad slow sweep of the river at Rockcliffe to the eager, hurried water rushing over rocks and falls at Kirkby Stephen – the river is the highlight of this walk. In terms of surrounding scenery, the climb up to the source provides incredible views over hundreds and hundreds of square miles of hills and valleys, not to mention the beauty of the moorland we need to cross to reach Eden Springs. The walk has something for everyone.
How challenging is it?
Experienced long distance walkers will not be troubled by any of the stages on the Eden Way. Although a couple of sections are quite long, these days are fairly flat. Navigation is typically fairly simple, using established paths and rights of way wherever possible. The ability to walk for six consecutive days will usually be the biggest shock to the system for someone new to long distance walking.
What’s the accommodation and transport like generally?
Each section finishes in close proximity to accommodation, and the Settle-Carlisle railway line is never far away, which can be used to reach additional accommodation close to the walk. All stages finish in a town or village where you will be able to find a B&B, inn or hotel. Public transport links along the route are generally good. Garsdale at the end of the Way, has a train station to get you back home. Getting to the start of the walk at Rockcliffe will require the use of a car, either a taxi or a friend, as no public transport links are available in this little village.
If you could only do one day-walk on the trail which one would it be?
Almost every section of the Eden Way has its own merits and every section can be easily covered as a day walk, using the Settle-Carlisle line to create linear walks between the stations. However, the final day from Kirkby Stephen, up to the source of the Eden offers some incredible scenery and a rewarding ascent to a fantastic view point above Mallerstang. It’s almost possible to look back along the length of the walk and the views into Yorkshire and across the Cumbrian Fells more than compensate for the effort invested in the climb.