Walk & Ride the South Pennines


The South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival opens on Saturday, with events that will enable everyone to explore the countryside of that special area between the Peak and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.

I’ve organised the festival on behalf of Pennine Prospects, and that’s me at the launch (left) with Metro chairman Councillor Ryk Downes, who formally announced the event to the press at a modest ceremony at Hebden Bridge Railway Station last week.

The festival, which is sponsored by Metro, will take place over two weeks, from Saturday, September 13, to Sunday, September 28, and comprises a wonderful blend of guided walks and cycle rides, together with a handful of other outdoor events such as conservation days, nature walks, sponsored charity events and heritage days thrown in for good measure. Virtually all the 83 events are reachable by public transport, and all but a handful are free of charge.

I’ve been working the event for the past few months on behalf of Pennine Prospects, the body which works towards the redevelopment of the South Pennine area, on behalf of the key local authorities, utility companies, government advisory bodies such as Natural England and community movements.

The individual events are being led by a wonderful cross-section of voluntary groups, recreational organisations, full-time countryside officers, wardens, charities and more.

They’ve all generously volunteered their time and expertise to ensure that visitors and South Pennine folks alike get as much as possible out of the wonderful landscape that has inspired artists, poets and authors over the centuries. This is, after all, the area that provided the muse for the Brontë sisters, for the late poet laureate Ted Hughes, the novelist Glyn Hughes, artist Peter Brooke and many others whose work has enriched Britain’s cultural heritage.

The South Pennines contains some of the finest walking and cycling country in Britain. Ancient causey paths, bridleways and packhorse trails climb quickly and steeply from wooded valley bottoms to wide open heather moors, offering a diversity of terrain that few other areas can boast within such a comparatively small geographic area.

You can download a copy of the festival programme here or you should be able to find one at railway stations and tourist information centres in and around the South Pennine region. Otherwise, please call 01274 431019 to have one mailed to you direct.

There’s a press release giving general information about the event here.



John Manning

Freelance outdoor writer John Manning and his family are based in the Yorkshire Dales