Kirkby Stephen is a civil parish and small market town in Cumbria, in North West England which historically, is part of Westmorland. The town is located on the A685, surrounded by sparsely populated hill country, and about from the nearest larger towns, Kendal and Penrith. The River Eden rises away in the peat bogs below Hugh Seat and passes by, almost unobserved, on the eastern edge of the town.
Kirkby Stephen has a parish council and is a centre for several smaller villages and parishes in the surrounding area, including Nateby, Ravenstonedale and Mallerstang. A community and council centre in the library, provides information and services on behalf of all the local councils (county, district and parish), and general and local information and facilities.