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The only ride in this guide with some traffic-free sections, including the shared use dismantled railway route over two viaducts, once part of the coke carrying Stainmore Railway (more details from www.nvt.org.uk). You’ve also the option of a short walk to the dramatic disused Smardale Gill Viaduct through a national nature reserve.
The route, climbing steadily over to Smardale at first, links five village, crosses a ford (footbridge alternative) and runs on a grassy track to where Scandal Beck and the River Eden meet. Partly on National Route 71 and the Walney to Wear & Whitby Cycle Route (20).
Start/finish: Kirkby Stephen TIC in the town centre (free car parking is signed)
Grade: Medium · Hard (on and off road)
|Time/Effort||3 out of 5|
|Refreshments||Pub in Winton. Go prepared for a waterside picnic|
1 Find the Tourist Information Centre in Market Street (see town plan), head north to the first mini-roundabout and turn L
2 Bear L by grammar school for Waitby and Smardale (also following blue 20 and 72 signs)
3 Bear R uphill, again following blue 20 and 72 signs
4 Turn L at X roads to Waitby
5 Turn R at X roads (steep at first) to Smardale
6 Cross over the old railway and bear L to Crosby Garrett. Smardale Gill National Nature Reserve is down on your left. The 14 arch viaduct is 1.5 miles further on; secure your bike and walk to it as cycling is not currently permitted. (the Smardale viaduct visible from the road carries the Settle-Carlisle railway)
7 Keep R through the village, taking the road under the church all the way into Soulby
8 Go SA at X roads
9 Bear R onto public byroad to Winton leading to the grassy track by Scandal Beck and then the footbridge over the River Eden... a good picnic place
10 Go SA to Winton along narrow lane
11 Take extra care crossing into Winton. Bear L then turn R at village green to Hartley
12 Keep L through village, go uphill and turn R onto the old railway, first crossing Merygill, then Podgill viaducts. Look for the large inscribed stones which are part of the Poetry Path
13 Cross the gorge on the bridge, go through gate and turn R onto road back into Kirkby Stephen. Tu r n R before traffic lights (Melbecks), then bear L up and along Stoneshot lane