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Kirkby Stephen

The Cloisters


See also:
Stone Circles
The entrance to the church from the Market Square is through the handsome Cloisters, built in 1810 with money left to the town by a former inhabitant John Waller, who had served in the Royal Navy. From the Market Square walk down Stoneshot to Franks Bridge, a C17 footbridge over the River Eden. Below the Stoneshot alleyway is a tunnel used to hide women and children from the Scots during their frequent raids into the area during the Border Wars.

Just to the south of the town west of the A685 are the remains of an earthwork known as Croglam Castle. Go back into town and turn off onto the B6259 road to Hawes: about 2.5mls/4km along the road you will see Lammerside Castle on your right on the West bank of the Eden. The original building was larger as can be judged by the grassed over foundations next to the tower. The de Warcop family built the Castle to control the natural path to the south created by the River Eden in the Mallerstang Valley. By the early C15 the family had built Wharton Hall and thereafter the castle fell into disrepair.

Further up the same road is Pendragon Castle undergoing restoration and not open to the public either but only a few yards from the road and easily visible. The building you see now is much later (possibly 1180), than the time when Uther Pendragon, legendary father of King Arthur, ruled the land hereabouts. He is supposed to be buried here (and Arthur near Longtown, north of Carlisle).

Of interest are the Nine Standards, (OS NY 827062), a group of stone cairns put up sometime after the end of the Roman occupation. Their purpose is not now known but they make an impressive sight on top of the Nine Standards Rigg. It is quite a hike from Kirkby Stephen to the Standards, but if you like walking then it should be done.

Kirkby Stephen has good access to the fells towards Kendal and the southern Lake District and to the Yorkshire Dales not far to the SE. Wherever you look the countryside is magnificent, which is why so many walkers and hikers base themselves in the town. You don't, however, have to be too energetic to enjoy what Kirkby Stephen and the surrounding area has to offer. The quiet country lanes around and about lead to many picturesque villages well worth exploring.





Copyright EDGE 1997