12/18/2012 07:21 am ET Updated Feb 17, 2013

The Eden Valley: There's More to Cumbria Than the Lake District (PHOTOS)

I must admit that I have been very nomadic in my life. Coming from Oldham in northwest England, I had a natural start with hills and mountains, but, due to both work and pleasure, I have found myself moving around. Lately, however, I have found myself more static -- well, during the times that I am not travelling or adventuring away. And it's because I have planted myself in the heart of all the places I go to in this corner of England: the Eden Valley, Cumbria. It's an absolute natural gem in its own right, but it's also on the doorstep of wonders galore.

Many travel to Cumbria for the Lake District. Of course, it is beautiful and the mountains and lakes are a huge pull. I have spend many days climbing and wandering there. But, on the other, eastern side of the M6 motorway sits this beautiful wide open valley with its hidden treasures and stunning backdrops. It is far removed from the tourist-packed Lake District, but is also being enjoyed immensely by all who have ventured there and discovered it.

Trapped between the highest points on the Pennines and the Eastern fells of the Lake District, the backdrops could not get any better no matter what season. Cross Fell gives panoramas for miles in all directions. Just to the South, there is also the Yorkshire Dales National Park, open fields mixed with little woodlands, streams and untouched villages each with a tale to tell. For larger places, there is the market town Appleby-in-Westmorland, which is one of the prettiest in the North and has a church with foundations dating back to the 12th century. Further north up the larger valley towns with infamous names like, for example, Penrith and Carlisle -- the latter from the times of the Roman Empire and as a fort for Hadrian's Wall.

History in these parts is all easily discoverable. Castles adorn the landscapes from high to low, ruins from ancient clashes with the Scots and battles of fore.

The views below give just a small idea of the vastness and beauty of the area, from above and within. Those that have been almost always return, be it for another river walk, another climb, more open country or relaxing in a beautiful quiet area of England.

The Eden Valley