If Cumbria’s Eden Valley were anywhere but right next to the Lake District it would be full of tourists. As it is, this beautiful valley is one of my favourite “hidden gems” from a walking point of view.

A lovely walking book, “Walking n Cumbria’s Eden Valley” by Vivienne Crowe has recently been republished by Cicerone. This was originally published seven years ago but all the walks have been updated and several added to reflect the parts of the area that were incorporated into the Yorkshire Dales National Park two years ago.

Twenty eight of the thirty walks in the book are circular but two are linear making used of the Settle to Carlisle railway that uses the Eden Valley for the latter part of its route. These are a walk from Garsdale Head station to Kirkby Stephen station via the summits for Swarth Fell Pike and Wild Boar Fell and a second walk from Kirkby Stephen station to Appleby station via Scandal Beck and the side of the River Eden itself.

The walks range in distance from 3½ miles to 15 miles although the latter (Kirkby Stephen station to Appleby station) is relatively easy compared with the 13¾ mile walk from Murton with its 2,000 feet of ascent including a visit to High Cup Nick.

A number of significant fells are included in these walks including Nine Standards Rigg, Great Asby Scar, Murton Pike, Dufton Pike and Cross Fell, the highest point in the Pennine chain.

All the walks include well written descriptions, 1:50000 Ordnance Survey maps and some stunning photographs all of which one would expect from author Vivienne Crowe, a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild.

As well as the walks themselves there are sections in the book on Geology, Wildlife, History, Weather, Where to Stay, Transport, Waymarking Maps, Equipment and Safety. There are also two appendices; a route summary table listing all the walks with their distances, walking time and gradings plus an appendix of useful contacts for the area.

The first walk in the book starts at the source of the River Eden in the high Pennines at Black Fell Moss and the thirtieth concludes, seventy-five miles later, where the river joins the sea by the Solway marshes to the west of Carlisle at Bowness on Solway. Between these points are a plethora of wonderful walks visiting castles such as Pendragon and the Long Meg Stone Circle, some 4,500 years old near Little Salkeld.

As I said earlier, this valley is s hidden gem which deserves to be more well known and this book contains walks for all ages and abilities. The cost of the book is £12.95 (which works out at 43p per walk) and would be an ideal Christmas present for both keen walkers and families.

John Burland