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Eden Viaducts unveils new Interpretation Panels at Stenkrith-Hartley viaduct walk

Three new Interpretation Panels have been unveiled along the Eden Viaducts walk between Stenkrith and Hartley, Kirkby Stephen.

The walk from the Eden Viaducts’ car park at Stenkrith, on the southern outskirts of Kirkby Stephen, to the small hamlet of Hartley in the north is a favourite of locals and visitors alike.

The new Interpretation Panels will help all visitors appreciate their walk along the track-bed of the South Durham & Lancashire Union Railway, now a beauty spot with red squirrels, deer, butterflies, birds and wildflowers.

The walk crosses the Millennium Bridge – an award-winning footbridge designed by Charles Blackett-Ord – which spans a dramatic gorge of the River Eden, with its rapids and whirlpools. It then winds its way through beautiful countryside and over the glorious Victorian Podgill and Merrygill viaducts.

Podgill Viaduct is a Grade II listed structure which crosses the valley of Pod Gill down which flows the Ladthwaite Beck. It has 11 arches, each of 30 feet span, giving it a total length of 466 feet, and a maximum height of 84 feet. Merrygill Viaduct spans the narrow valley of Hartley Beck which flows sharply down the western slopes of Birkett Hill and through the village whose name the beck bears. It has nine arches each of 30 feet span, with a total length 366 feet, and a height above the beck of 78 feet. Both viaducts are icons of our Victorian industrial heritage. From the viaducts spectacular views of the Eden Valley, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North Pennines AONB can be appreciated.

To accompany the new Interpretation Panels, Northern Viaduct Trust (the guardian of the viaducts) is asking walkers, visitors and lovers of heritage to send them images and footage of the Eden Viaducts and its walks as they are today and as they were when operating as a working railway. The curation of a comprehensive archive is underway. The images will be published on the Eden Viaducts website and social media and the best images of the walk as it is today and as judged by Andrew Walter, Reserves Officer for Cumbria Wildlife Trust, will feature on the front of Eden Viaducts’ new monthly on-line newsletter. Please send high res jpeg images to [email protected] with your email address, phone number and name so that you can be credited for the photo.

The preservation of Eden Viaducts requires significant funds. Please help preserve Eden Viaducts by donating on https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/13420#!/DonationDetails – the link can also be found on the website www.edenviaducts.org.uk or by swiping the QR codes on the new Interpretation Panels. Every single donation helps.

Neil Cleeveley, Chair of Northern Viaduct Trust said: “We’re really pleased with the new Interpretation Panels. They look great and I’m sure they will enhance people’s enjoyment of our viaduct walk. I hope they will encourage our visitors to share their photos for our newsletter. Visitors can show their appreciation of our magnificent viaducts by using the QR codes on the panels to donate to our fundraising campaign.”

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