Walk & Ride in 2011 – hit the hills!

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The programme for the 2011 South Pennines Walk & Ride Festival is now available, as a printed leaflet, a PDF download or to view on the festival website at www.walkandridefestival.co.uk

With more than 120 events, this is our biggest annual celebration of the outdoors yet – so big, in fact, that to glean the full details of every event you’ll need to be sure to check the individual event pages on the website. In fact, there are even more events on the website than we could fit into the printed programme!

Despite our best efforts the South Pennines remains something of an undiscovered jewel in the north of England, offering cracking routes for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Perhaps it’s because two National Parks butt up to our boundary, distracting oiutdoors folks. The area might not have such a prestigious designatio, but it does have just as much to offer the discerning outdoors-goer!

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The festival will run over two weeks, between September 10 and 25. A special launch weekend in Marsden hosted by the town’s Walkers Are Welcome group will offer a feast of guided walks and other events, including a Roman soldier-led adventure on to Marsden Moor, storytelling, boatlegging, a lengthy National Trust-led walk on to the moor, cream teas, slide shows and more.

This year’s festival features a strong food an drink theme, with many walks and cycle rides visiting terrific South Pennines pubs, cafes, breweries, bakeries and more to give visitors a real taste of the area – did you know that there’s a vineyard in the Holme Valley? That you can enjoy a brew in Compo’s cafe in Summer Wine Country? And even forage for your own wild food on a couple of events.

The South Pennines is rich in industrial history – this is where the heart of the Industrial Revolution was in the 17th and 18th centuries, and secretive wooded valleys hereabouts hide the romantic ruins of long-quiet mills and ancient causeways while the high moors offer terrific riding and walking opportunities on ancient pack horse tracks.

Other key events during festival fortnight will include the first Calderdale Cycling Festival, put together by the area’s tourism unit and CTC Calderdale, and a series of fundraising events for the Sue Rider Manorlands hospice near Oxenhope.

For further information help yourself to a copy of the programme by clicking the link below:

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Copies can be found in tourist information centres, railway stations, libraries, outdoor shops, council offices and more, in and around the South Pennines.

Visit the festival website at www.walkandridefestival.co.uk

John Manning

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