The walk at Smardale Gill takes you up on the some moors before returning via the old railway line, alongside Scandal Beck. The walk is very pleasant but becomes better as the track passes under the viaduct.
Only a few miles from Kirkby Stephen lies Scandal Beck and the magnificent Smardale Viaduct which lies on the old NER mainline. Walking is easy along the disused track bed. The lower alternative is glorious, surrounded as you are by vibrant rare flora birds and butterflies amidst the lovely trees and grasslands (access to the valley floor is for permit holders only).
Smardale Gill National Nature Reserve and Scandal Beck are well managed by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust and is rich in wild flowers. I am led to believe that bird’s eye primrose, bloody cranes bill and melancholy thistle are just some of the rare flowers I may have seen. The viaduct is also superb. The lonely moors hundreds of feet above the gill top off an excellent and varied walk.
If you are on the Coast to Coast this is a detour that is certainly worth making, a hidden gem I certainly passed without a second glance.
Follow the path over the moors all the way to Brownber Farm. From here take the lane east via Friars Farm to meet the old railway just beyond Smardale Bridge.
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