The 2010 South Pennines Outdoor Walk & Ride Festival starts this Saturday, September 11, and includes more than 100 guided walks, cycle rides, horse rides and other outdoor activities.
“The emphasis is on encouraging people to benefit from a little gentle exercise and fresh air, while getting to know the countryside on their own doorsteps,” says festival coordinator and TGO stalwart John Manning.
“There are walks and rides of all lengths and durations so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. As well as plenty of shorter, gentle strolls that examine nature and local history, there are challenging hikes of up to 20 miles, and walks of all distances in between. Those who have never been for a walk in the South Pennines before can chose an activity they’re comfortable with and enjoy it in the company of expert guides who will open their eyes to what a wonderful area they live in.”
There are also cycles of varying distances, on- and off-road – exploring the South Pennines’ wealth of bridleways, canals, moors and valleys – plus a number of equestrian events.
“The festival is a great opportunity for people to explore the landscape and perhaps try activities they’ve never experienced before, such as riding or orienteering. As well as daytime activities there are also evening talks and walks,” added John. “Most events start near bus stops or rail stations, so it’s a good time to leave the car at home and make the most of the fine transport links we have throughout the South Pennines area.”
The South Pennines Walk & Ride Festival will be held between September 11 and 26 and has been organised by regional rural regeneration champion Pennine Prospects. The launch, in Ilkley on September 11, will be hosted by the town’s Walkers Are Welcome group and will take place at 9.45am at Riddings Hall. It will be marked by several guided walks from the town taking in the famous moor and its mysterious prehistoric landmarks. The opening will also see the launch of the South Pennines Walk, Cycle, Ride project (www.walkridesouthpennines.co.uk), an online initiative to provide visitors with all the information they need to explore the area.
The festival will be opened by Kate Ashbrook, national patron of the Walkers Are Welcome movement. Kate, also a trustee of The Ramblers and general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, is a widely respected access campaigner who lists her hobbies as “walking, bird-watching and finding illegally blocked paths!”
Programmes detailing all 100-plus events are available from information centres, libraries and other outlets, or direct from Pennine Prospects on 01274 433536 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Programmes can also be downloaded from the festival’s website at www.southpenninesfestival.co.uk, where all events are also listed.