Keswick Railway Footpath

Keswick Railway Footpath

Location : Keswick / Threlkeld  –  Grid Ref: NY 270239

Three bridges on the railway footpath were damaged or destroyed in the winter 2015 floods, so there is no longer a through route from Keswick to Threlkeld.


The old Keswick Railway Station, now part of the Hotel nearby. Photo by David Hall

The four mile long footpath was created by the Lake District National Park Authority following acquisition of part of the former Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway, which had closed to traffic in 1972. The 18 miles of the route between Penrith and Keswick included 78 bridges, of which 8 cross the River Greta over the railway’s 3 mile length between Threlkeld and Keswick.
Though much of the track between Keswick and Workington was obliterated by improvements to the A66, the section between Keswick and Threlkeld through the Greta Gorge remains largely untouched by roadworks, leaving a series of impressive bridges to provide the framework for a scenic footpath.
Well maintained and mostly level, apart from a short stretch underneath the A66 viaduct where the line used to go through a tunnel, this easy trail through lovely countryside combines a wide variety of natural and man-made features into an attractive and stimulating walk with something of interest for everyone.

Photo by David Hall

At various points along the path are information plaques by the Lake District National Park authority telling about the railway’s history, the River Greta, the bobbin industry at Low Briery, and the natural history of the area.
Hunter Davies has written the book ‘A Walk Along the Tracks’, in which one chapter covers the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway. It tells of the author’s explorations, the people he met and the places he passed through. The definitive history of the line is ‘Rails through Lakeland’ by H.D. Bowtell, published 1989 by Silver Link Publishing Ltd.

There are plans to re-open the railway between Keswick and Penrith – see link below. Between Keswick and Penrith the A66 was built around the Railway, and there are only 3 locations between Keswick and Penrith where the A66 and the railway trackbed cross – Greta Viaduct (tunnel still exists but hidden), Threlkeld (road embankment built across trackbed but could be opened out as a bridge) and Beckses near Penruddock where a bridge could be built over the A66. The rest of the trackbed is largely untouched.

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