Eden River Rambles

Part of project: Community

Being motivated to get outside for a walk on a damp, cloudy and drizzling winter day is often too much to ask of some people, but not our band of river ramblers.  Regardless of weather, worries about things at home or work, their physical health or the fact that they might not know everybody, they regularly joined in our fortnightly programme of rambles along Eden’s beautiful rivers.

Undertaking physical activity in the natural environment, including around water is well-documented to have positive effects on people’s wellbeing and physical health.  However, not everyone has the confidence, skills or even transport to take themselves off for a short, gentle stroll in nature.  It can also be difficult to find a walking group to join that caters for different levels of mobility.

Thanks to money raised by Lottery players across the UK, the National Lottery Heritage Fund gave us a grant of £9,900 to deliver the project which focussed on residents living in Appleby, Brough and Kirkby Stephen.

16 guided walks offered a mixture of shorter (approximately 1hour), flatter rambles with no barriers such as stiles, plus a number of slightly more adventurous, longer rambles that could include stiles, more uneven ground and some hills. We were able to cater for a wide range of abilities and, by always going at the pace of the slowest walker, no-one was left behind.

Importantly, the walks were also an opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and have that essential cuppa, piece of cake and continue nattering in a local café at the end of each ramble.

The walks enabled the ramblers to explore different aspects for the Eden catchment – the Eden, the smaller rivers feeding into it (tributaries) and even Ullswater Lake!  Each Ramble gave the opportunity to learn more about rivers such as natural river features and processes, wildlife, river conservation, flood management as well as the river’s cultural and built heritage.

We had hoped to provide walkers with two training days, one to develop their map reading and navigation skills and a Walking for Health Leader training course.  The second would have enabled our ramblers to lead their own walks, introducing a new set of people to the wonders of our rivers.  To everyone’s huge disappointment, these courses firstly had to be rescheduled and then cancelled altogether owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite not being able to deliver all parts of the project, those who participated had some amazing things to say about Eden River Rambles:

“The range of people I have met, have been an inspiration in their enthusiasm for connecting with nature in a like-minded manner. They have all had the same positive outlook when on the walks, not allowing any personal disability to hold them back in their endeavour to enjoy nature for what it is”. Anthony R

“Each walk has been meticulously planned by Jenni and her enthusiasm has had a massive effect on me. I’ve really felt energised after each walk and felt excited about the next one!”  Jo H.

“I will be able to teach my grandchildren, who live in a very urban area, more about rivers when they come up to visit”. Beryl E


If you would like to take a gentle stroll along your local river, download our Rambling about Rivers folding pocket guide for some top tips and river facts.

If you would like to find out more about walking groups in your area, please visit:

Active Cumbria who co-ordinate Cumbria’s Walking for Health programme.

The Ramblers provide different levels of walks.

Kirkby Stephen Dawdles a local group who undertake weekly walks in the Kirkby Stephen area. Find out the date of their next walk on the Walkers Are Welcome website.

Culgaith Walks for Health

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