A traveller's guide to the Howgill Fells, Cumbria

A favourite with hardcore hikers, this wild region on the fringes of Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales is also fast becoming a magnet for gourmets.

By Sarah Barrell
Published 27 Apr 2019, 08:00 BST
Howgill Fells' countryside
Howgill Fells' countryside
Photograph by Alamy

Why go?

The beautiful bit of countryside where Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales overlap has long been the preserve of walkers who revel in lofty views of both the lakes and the dales. But Howgill’s new food-focused hotels are also appealing to a wider crowd, with innovative locally sourced menus. Visit in spring, when the wildflowers are in bloom in places like Great Asby Scar and there’s wild swimming to be had in the River Eden. visitcumbria.com  yorkshiredales.org

Where to eat

The Black Bull in the bucolic book town of Sedbergh serves up memorable pub grub: think Japanese-style soused mackerel, rabbit with black pudding and root vegetables, and tasty house-made gelato. 

We like

Taking in the views of Howgill Fellside with an ice cream, courtesy of the farm’s herd of Jersey and British Friesian cows. Try the Howgill Hurricane, with cinder toffee and chocolate swirls. 

Where to stay

Brownber Hall is a retreat replete with sleek mid-century furnishings and four-poster beds. Don’t miss the sourdough pizzas on Thursday to Sunday evenings. Doubles from £90 per night, B&B. 

What to do

Of all the area’s hill hikes, the 4.5-mile route along Smardale’s old North Eastern Railway line is perfect for those who don’t fancy the fells’ sharp inclines. Its highlight is a walk across the Smardale Gill Viaduct, home to countless wildflowers, birds, bees and butterflies. cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk

Don’t miss

Farfield Mill is a repository of local treasures: flat caps, woollens and felted gifts, eco-conscious smellies from Sedbergh Soap Co, local landscapes lovingly rendered in print and watercolour, and wildly creative jewellery. Recharge between walks at the terrace cafe.

Published in the May 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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