Kirkby Stephen Riverside walk

4 photos of a woodland walk with text that reads Kirby Stephen Riverside walk

This is one of my favourite family walks near Kirby Stephen. It’s a Kirby Stephen riverside walk that is perfect for families that no longer need to take a pushchair. It’s sandwiched between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, two areas we love to explore. We love exploring the Lake District and this area is often overlooked for areas like Windermere and Ambleside (that I also love). Find more Child-friendly walks in the lake district here.

Where to park for this Kirby Stephen riverside walk

There are 2 free car parks in Kirby Stephen. One only has 12 spaces but the other which isn’t much of a walk from the town and the start of this walk. The larger car park is called Cristian head and the postcode is CA17 4HA.

We parked on Nateby road near to Kirby Stephen primary school which is an option if the car parks are full.

Kirby Stephen Riverside walk

  • Start and finish – Frank’s bridge, Kirby stephen
  • Approximate duration – 2.5 – 3 hours
  • Distance – 3.5 miles (approx, depending where you park)
  • Accessibility – Not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs, multiple kissing gates and narrow bridges
  • Public toilets – There are no public toilets on this walk

This walk starts from Frank’s Bridge. Cross over Frank’s Bridge and turn right along the river bank. You’ll spot a signpost pointing to Robin hoods Bay. This path is part of the coast to coast walk. Don’t worry, you’ll not be walking 108 miles today. 

Follow this path along the river until you pass through a metal kissing gate. Here the main path heads straight ahead but you want to turn right and walk across the grass following the river. 

You will next come to a fenced-off woodland with a wooden gate. Go through this gate and you will immediately face a narrow wooden bridge to cross the river. Cross this bridge.

The path turns right and starts to head uphill through the woodlands. You will come out into fields but the path goes in between 2 rows of trees. 

Ignore the styles on the left-hand side of the path and stick to the tree-lined path. 

When you pass a signpost with several options, you are staying on this path heading towards Natley. The path to the right, signposted Kirby Stephen, is where you will eventually come back to. 

Continue to follow this tree-lined path. You will need to cross a shallow stream, we visited in October 2021 and we were easily able to walk through the shallow water.

Rocky path through stream

The path continues upwards through woodlands until you reach a road bridge (no longer used by cars) over a disused railway line. Follow the path around to the right and you will quickly find a gate with a little sign saying poetry trail. This is the path that you have just crossed over (the disused railway line).

Once you get to this disused railway path, you need to turn left and follow the path towards the northern viaduct Trust Car park. 

Children looking at poetry on a stone

There are a number of stone boulders on this trail with poetry carved into them. 

Once you reach the viaduct, follow the path to the right, across a metal bridge at the side of the viaduct. You get a great view of a waterfall at this point too. 

Follow this path up the small incline. You will spot a path to your right which you need to follow to get back to the edge of the river. This is still part of the poetry path, so you’ll find more poems engraved in large stones along the way. 

The path will wind around to the left following the river. There is one small climb to do before you find yourself in a field. Follow the river until you reach another wooden bridge. Cross the bridge and follow the tree-lined path uphill until you join the path from earlier. 

Turn left and retrace your steps back to Frank’s Bridge. 

Four different countryside scenes and text across the middle that reads Family walks North West - Facebook group

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