The Eden Valley and Stainmore Railway - Towns and Villages

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The Eden Valley and Stainmore Railway - Towns and Villages

Warcop - Eden Valley and Stainmore Railway

Clifton - Clifton lies alongside the A6 near Penrith in the vale of Lowther. Clifton's moor is notable as the place where, in 1745, the last battle on English soil took place between Bonnie Prince Charlie's and the Duke of Cumberland's forces. In St Cuthbert's churchyard are buried ten men killed in the battle. Near the churchyard gate is a stone commemorating the event. Wetheriggs Country Pottery at nearby Clifton Dykes was founded in the 1860s. It is the only steam-powered pottery still in operation in Britain and welcomes visitors. It was at Clifton that the Eden Valley railway left the West Coast Main Line. CLICK HERE to see an excellent article that appeared in a Railway Magazine in the 1950's called the "Forgotten Junction" all about Clifton Junction.

Temple Sowerby - Temple Sowerby, at the foot of the fells, boasts the nickname the "Queen of Westmorland Villages". Its actual name came from the Knights Templar when they were granted the manor of Temple Sowerby c1228. Passing to the Knights Hospitaller in 1308, it was then seized in 1545 by Henry VIII, who granted the manor of Temple Sowerby to Thomas Dalton. The red sandstone manor house, built partly in the 16th century, then added to in the 18th century, belongs to the National Trust. It is now known as Acorn Bank. The village, sited on a former important Roman road, has a small sloping green with streets and houses around it. Look for the Roman milestone ½ mile southeast of the village. Mid-16th century rubble-and-thatch buildings intermingle with 18th and 19th century buildings. A hotel, with the same name as the village, was built in 1727 as a farmhouse that was later married to a 19th century wing.

Kirkby Thore - Kirkby Thore lies in the Eden valley near Appleby-in-Westmorland. The name ‘Kirkby’ mean ‘village by a church’. Thore is a Viking name, Thor being the god of thunder. A Roman calvary camp, Bravoniacum, was situated at this spot. It guarded the Stainmore gap and was on the Maiden Way Roman road that lead to Carvoran (Magna) just south of Hadrian’s Wall. Thirteen inscribed Roman stones, thought to be altar stones, were found here as well as three Roman tombstones. Urns, earthen vessels, the cusp of a spear, and sandals were found in an ancient well. In the building of a bridge in 1838 Roman coins were unearthed. The long established British Gypsum plant has manufactured Thistle plasters continuously since 1910. The production of plasterboard is a comparatively recent development, the first line being installed during the 1960's.

Appleby - Appleby, once the county town of Westmoreland, sits in a great setting in a loop of the tree lined river Eden overshadowed in the eastern distance by the Pennines. At either end of it's attractive, wide main street, Boroughgate, the High Cross and Low Cross mark what were the boundaries of the old Appleby market. The town had been given a royal charter in 1174. The High Cross bears the inscription 'Retain your loyalty, preserve your rights', and dates from the 17th Century. It was once the site of a cheese market. The Low Cross is an 18th Century copy. Boroughgate is the heart of the town, sweeping down the hill from the castle to the parish church. This Eden Valley beauty spot is also conveniently a stop on the famous Settle to Carlisle Railway and until 20th January 1962 was also a stop on the Eden Valley Railway which stopped at Appleby East some 100 yards from the present Appleby station of the Settle to Carlisle railway.

Warcop - Warcop lies on the east side of the River Eden where two rivulets converge. The name of the area was, in ancient times, Warthecoppe or Wardecop. A 'coppe' means the 'top of a hill. A manor house, Warcop Tower, was sited overlooking the village. The Warcop family held the manor in the area from the time of King John, but over the centuries it passed to a number of other families. A 16th century bridge over the River Eden links Warcop with the tiny village of Bleatarn on the western side of the river. Byland Abbey once owned the manor at Bleatarn. Red sandstone buildings surround Warcop's green, decorated with a maypole. Warcop Army Training Area was established in 1942, as a tank gunnery range, urgently needed to prepare for the coming invasion of mainland Europe. Most of the armoured formations which took part in the D-Day landings trained here. In the ensuring years, generations of tank crews came to Warcop, and armoured vehicles are still frequently to be seen. In 1960 the area became an all arms facility, catering for artillery and infantry units as well as the ATR at Catterick. However, with the ATR’s demise in 1994, the training emphasis at Warcop changed, and about £2m was spent that year to construct 6 new ranges, and to refurbish existing range facilities, to ensure the concurrent training of 5 platoons with a total strength of up to 240. The Eden Valley Railway Trust took over the line in 1995 with the aim of reopening the remaining 6 mile Appleby to Flitholme at the time the Appleby to Warcop line had become overgrown and derelict. At both Appleby and Warcop the station building are occupied as private dwellings, the signal box at Warcop still exists and is now undergoing restoration. The yard at Warcop will provide a site for the storage and maintenance of locomotives and rolling stock, new stock is arriving all the time.

Musgrave - Great Musgrave sits atop a hill near the river Eden and Swindale Beck. Its location provides views over the vale of Eden and the nearby northern Pennines. The village name comes from the Musgrave family who lived here. The stone church of St Theobald, on the edge of the village, dates from 1845-46, but two earlier churches (the first dating back to the 12th century) stood nearby. Unfortunately they were placed too close to the river and were subject to flooding in 1822 the water was three feet deep in the church. Leading up to the present church with its slate roof is a row of horse chestnut trees. The square church tower contains two bells. The interior has one small stained glass window, a 13th century coffin lid, a brass of a priest dated 1500 and carved heads on the roof beam corbels above the windows. Musgrave Station closed in November 1952 and is now renamed "Beechings" (ironic).

Kirkby Stephen - The market town of Kirkby Stephen lies at the top of Mallerstang, at the source of the River Eden. From the square there are many narrow winding passageways, some leading down to the famous Franks Bridge, an ancient stone footbridge surrounded by a delightful picnic and recreational area. The square has a number of historic buildings, one of which is the Cloisters built in 1810 to provide shelter for market and churchgoers. The Parish Church is known locally as the Cathedral of the Dales and is home to the 8th century Loki Stone, one of the few remnants of the Vikings who settled in the area. There are many interesting antique, curio and art and craft shops, plenty of places to eat and drink and a traditional Monday market. Kirkby Stephen East Station formed a key junction with the routes westwards to Appleby and Penrith and to Tebay and eastwards via Stainmore Summit and Barnard Castle to Darlington.

Please help support The Stainmore Railway Company restore the former Kirkby Stephen East Station and to develop the site as a Heritage Centre by becoming a shareholder by Clicking Here

Barras - Barras Station was the highest mainline station in England, this record taken over by Dent station on the Settle to Carlisle line. Barras station is situated just North East of Belah Viaduct which was the highest viaduct in England. Work started on the viaduct in 1857 and it was completed in 1859 at a cost of £31,630 and was sadly demolished in June 1963. Barras station was changed to an unstaffed halt and also closed to freight traffic in December 1952 and finally closed to passenger traffic in January 1962. The station buildings still survive today with Station Masters house now being a private dwelling.

Ravenstonedale - Ravenstonedale is located between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks. It is a good location for exploring both regions. It enjoys an enviable position at the foot of the Howgills which rise from the south of the village. The Howgills can be accessed by foot from anywhere in the parish. Until 1952, however, Ravenstonedale had its own passenger station, and goods services were still available until the total closure of the line in January 1962. Although named Ravenstonedale, the station was actually on the western outskirts of Newbiggin, and the attractive building can still be easily seen from the A685 road. Indeed the straightness of the A685 road from that point to Tebay is an indication that it is mainly constructed over the trackbed of the old railway. Visit the excellent website on Ravenstonedale at

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