Kirkby Stephen Poetry Path
Location : Kirkby Stephen – Grid Ref : NY 775088
Kirkby Stephen has a Poetry Path – on the theme of ‘A year in the life of a fellside farmer’. The Path was first suggested by Dick Capel of East Cumbria Countryside Project as a way of celebrating the landscape of the Eden Valley, after the Foot & Mouth epidemic highlighted the relationship between traditional farming with the familiar landscape and its wildlife.
Poet Meg Peacocke was asked to write a series of twelve poems, which resonate with sense of place and reflect the farming calendar – hay-making, harvest, hedgelaying and lambing time: “Twin lambs race to the mother, baby-cries Mam! Mam! jolt out of them, and now they jostle the ragged ewe for milk…”
The poems have been carved into a series of stones by letter-cutter Pip Hall, each verse interpreted in ways which add to the impact of the words, and incorporated into walls and stiles, or planted like milestones along the route of the path. Through the stones walkers will be able to trace the course of a farmer’s year simply by following the route, which loops from Stenkrith near Kirkby Stephen to Hartley and back.