Wednesday, 2 September 2009

River Eden /Hedene: Place in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series ****

The River Eden is a river that flows through Cumbria, England on its way to the Solway Firth.
Course of river
The Eden rises in Black Fell Moss, Mallerstang, on the high ground between High Seat, Yorkshire Dales and Hugh Seat.

Boundary fence (between Cumbria and North Yorkshire near the summit of Hugh Seat - photo by Ian Greig.

Here it forms the boundary between the counties of Cumbria and North Yorkshire. Two other great rivers arise in the same peat bogs here, within a kilometer of each other: the River Swale and River Ure.

River Swale

River Ure

It starts life as Red Gill Beck, then becomes Hell Gill Beck, before turning north and joining with Ais Gill Beck to become the River Eden. (Hell Gill Force, just before it meets Ais Gill Beck, is the highest waterfall along its journey to the sea).

Vale of Eden at Crossfell

The steep-sided dale of Mallerstang later opens out to become the Vale of Eden.


The river flows through Kirkby Stephen and Appleby-in-Westmorland, and receives the water of many becks flowing off the Pennines to the east, and longer rivers from the Lakes off to the west, including the River Lyvennet, River Leith and River Eamont, which arrives via Ullswater and Penrith.

Loki Stone at Kirkby Stephen

Appleby Westmorland

River Eamont at Brougham Castle

Ullswater at Glencoynesdale


Continuing north, it passes close to the ancient stone circle known as Long Meg and Her Daughters and through the sparsely populated beef and dairy farming regions of the vale of Cumbria on the Solway Plain.

Long Meg and her Daughters

Flowing through Wetheral it merges with the River Irthing from the east, followed by the River Petteril and River Caldew from the south, as it winds through Carlisle.


Its junction with the River Caldew in north Carlisle marks the point where Hadrian's Wall crosses the Eden, only five miles before both reach their end at the tidal flats.

Sycamore Gap (the "Robin Hood Tree")

It enters the Solway Firth near the mouth of the River Esk after a total distance of 90 miles (145 km).

River Esk

The river was known to the Romans as the Itouna, as recorded by the Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy) in the 2nd century AD. This name derives from the Celtic word ituna, meaning water or rushing

Scenery of the Pennines part of the Kingdom of Rheged
Ghyll or Gill is used for a stream or narrow valley in the North of England and other parts of the United Kingdom. The word originates from the Old Norse Gil. Examples include:
Dufton Ghyll Wood Dungeon Ghyll Gaping Gill Trow Ghyll Where the word Ghyll refers to a valley, the stream flowing through it is often referred to as a Beck for example in Swaledale, Gunnerside Beck flows through Gunnerside Ghyll. Beck is also used as a more general term for streams in the north of England. Since 1369, Beck is also used as Becks, East of York, England, as discribtion boundaries are larely formed by the Becks
The Eden Valley is thought to have been the heartland of the kingdom of Rheged

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