A flavour of the Pennines

Walkers on Ilkely Moor, at the South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival 2010 visitthe famous ancient rock carving known as the Swastika Stone
Walkers on Ilkely Moor, at the South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival 2010 visitthe famous ancient rock carving known as the Swastika Stone

THE South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival, which starts on Saturday, will dish up a real flavour of one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

Many of the festival’s 130 guided walks, cycle tours, mountain bike rides and horse-riding events have been designed to highlight the wide range of wonderful food and drink available from the area’s outstanding bakeries, breweries, cafes and pubs.

Featured establishments include the Little Valley Brewery from Calderdale, Compo’s Cafe in Holmfirth and a Camra-recommended pub in Greenfield.

The festival will run until September 25 and the programme has been put together by Pennine Prospects, the area’s rural development company. It aims to boost the local economy, promote sustainable tourism and the use of public transport and encourage people to take outdoor exercise for improved health and well-being.

Special guided walks will mark the launch of the festival in Marsden this weekend. They will include a walk with Roman soldiers, a story-telling walk for the family and a National Trust-led walk on Marsden Moor.

One of the highlights of the festival will be the Brighouse Boundary Walk, led by Brighouse Civic Trust footpaths officer Peter Davies and starting in Thornhill Briggs Lane, on September 24 and 25 and in Calderdale there are also walks in and around Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Sowerby Bridge.

The South Pennines is an exhilarating area of upland gritstone and heather moor with tranquil wooded valleys, offering some of the finest walking, cycling and riding opportunities in England.

Festival programmes are now available from tourist information centres, libraries, council offices, railway stations and other outlets. They are also available from Pennine Prospects on 01422 846049.