Orton & the Howgills
Orton is a small Cumbrian market village based in the Upper Eden Valley, which looks out over Orton Scar and The Howgills, a small group of hills bounded by Sedbergh, Kirkby Stephen and Tebay.
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Orton is a small and pretty Cumbrian market village lined with 18th century cottages. Wainwright described it accurately as, ‘a place of tranquil beauty and unpretentious appeal’, only improved by the addition of a prestigious farmers’ market and a rather special shop. Kennedy’s Chocolate Shop is a very special chocolatier in Orton. There is a small shop, and a café with a viewing window allowing you to see truffles being made.
Try A Wainwright
Orton Cumbria is also on Wainwright’s Coast-to-Coast walk - a 180mile trek from Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire to St Bees on the Cumbrian coast. The walk passes through the village and over Orton Scar.
The Howgill Fells
The Howgills are a small range of mountains bounded by Tebay, Kirkby Stephen and Sedbergh, partly in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The River Lune runs to the west and the Dent fault to the east. Wainwright described the range as looking like, ‘a herd of sleeping elephants’ referring to their round shape. Popular walks are The Calf at 676m, Winder at 473m and Randygill Top at 625m. The Howgills are also the site of Cautley Spout, which at 180m is one of England’s highest waterfalls.
Visit All Saints Church in Orton Village
All Saints Church has a mighty and beautiful 16th Century perpendicular tower with eight ringing bells. The building dates back to the 13th Century, but has had several restorations since.
Orton's Famous Farmers' Market
Orton Farmers’ Market takes place on the second Saturday of each month and is a mecca for foodies from miles around. Each stall is a specialist producer of smoked trout, organic cheese and vegetables, venison, rare breed beef, home-made puddings and biscuits and hand-made soaps.
Ancient Stone Circles in East Cumbria
One mile east of Orton and set at the base of Knott Scar is the ancient Gamelands stone circle - one of the largest in Cumbria! It has a very large diameter of 42 x 35 metres, and 35 remaining stones. Like many Cumbrian stone circles, it suffered in the past from over-zealous farmers seeking to uproot it, as it is believed it once had many more stones, and they were still standing upright in the historical period. They are now tumbled, standing to a height of a metre or so, made from pink granite from Shap. One of the stones is marbled with glittering quartz, giving a magical effect in low sun.
Take a trip to the Cumbrian market town Kirkby Stephen
Kirkby Stephen is a small and traditional market town in Cumbria full of historical buildings, cobbled streets and interesting boutiques.
This is a quieter part of Cumbria but has a lot to offer tourists. It is surrounded by fells and wild uplands, offering panoramic breathtaking views.
The village has a large, 13th century parish church most notable for the ‘Loki stone’, an 8th century carving of a bound Norse devil.
Frank’s Bridge is on the old ‘corpse road’ crossing over the River Eden and was designed with flat areas to rest coffins en route to the parish church. Perhaps it’s this association which drew ghost stories; ‘Jangling Annas’, an escaped prisoner who drowned under the bridge, haunts the bridge, still jangling her chains. Brough Castle dates back to 1100. It was destroyed by a fire in 1521, but restored to life by the local benefactress Lady Anne Clifford in the mid 17th century. It is now heavily ruined again, but is an attractive site for a picnic.
The Carlisle To Settle Railway
The famous Settle & Carlisle railway runs through the Eden Valley, with daily trains stopping at Appleby and Kirkby Stephen; the perfect opportunity to relax and view this beautiful valley at complete leisure. If you are lucky, you may even get to travel by steam train.