The Ancient Castles of Mallerstang

  • Ancient ruins in the valley
  • Quiet & peaceful riverside
  • Take some time in Kirkby Stephen

Mallerstang is a glorious valley that is not only pretty to look at, unspoilt but also steeped in history. The upper reaches of the River Eden flow through the valley, which runs south from Kirkby Stephen, with the river banks offering pleasant walking and ever hanging views. I set off from the train station but the walk is just as pleasant from the town centre of Kirkby Stephen. My ultimate goal was the ruins of Pendragon Castle but the valley is so attractive that an A to B walk using the railway may be preferable with a walk down the full length of the valley an attractive proposition.

Pendragon Castle and nearby Lammerside Castle are crumbling reminders of the difficulties of living in medieval times in northern England. The towers were built to keep out the marauding Scots and were part of a system of Pele towers strewn across northern England. Allegedly Pendragon was first built much earlier by King Arthur’s father but this is probably just a romantic story; both castles are however built on raised grounds with splendid views to the north. Both lie in peaceful and unspoilt spots which, if positioned elsewhere, would be frantic with visitors, have a tea shop and incur some kind of charge. I saw not another soul whilst sat under the castle walls – one of the great pleasures of walking in these parts.

Recommend: The train station does offer genuinely awe inspiring views up Mallerstang.

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Mallerstang map



All maps are copyright of Where2Walk © 2020

OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL19 Howgill Fells & the Upper Eden Buy Map
Start Point: NY 771075 at Croglam. This saves a mile each way which you may be grateful for. From here aim for Halfpenny house where the route becomes clear and is well signposted. Again aim for Halfpenny if you have arrived by train. I stuck to the west side of the Eden on the way out which I think is the best option.
Height to Climb: 141ms (462 feet)
Terrain: Good, well sign posted.
Eating & Drinking: Kirkby Stephen train station has a small cafe whilst the town itself has a wide choice of pubs and tea shops (and an excellent butty shop selling 'bigger' sized sandwiches! My choice).
Similar Walks Nearby: Killing Grounds of the Wild Boar
Nine Standards Rigg
Dick Turpin & the Source of the Eden
Places to Stay: The Cottage, Kirkby Stephen