Excellent public transport links across the region open up opportunities for walkers, cyclists and families taking part in the 2014 South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival this September.

Posted: 1.09.14

Walkers and cyclists are being urged to leave their cars behind and get on a train or bus to access over 140 events and activities in this year’s festival. Taking place between Saturday, September 6 and Sunday, September 21, the festival is a great way to explore the South Pennines, which is criss-crossed by rail links making events easily accessible from surrounding urban areas. Northern Rail has always been a keen supporter of the festival and this year is the official sponsor.

In 2014 there are nearly 60 events within a reasonable distance from a railway station. And there are 16 walks and cycle rides actually starting from or finishing at a railway station. For example, the Gorple Stones Traverse on Wednesday, September 10, is a 12.5 miles, medium-graded linear ramble starting from Burnley Manchester Road railway station and ending at Hebden Bridge station; perfect for walkers exploring the uplands of the Yorkshire Lancashire border on foot and by rail. Details of the all the events taking place during this year’s festival can be found on the Walk and Ride website at www.walkandridefestival.co.uk

The wildness of the stunning and rugged South Pennine landscape has inspired writers and poets; painters and photographers for centuries. The moors have always drawn those wishing to enjoy the connection to nature and the solitude but, however remote they may seem, they are not beyond reach. The conurbations of Leeds and Manchester are only a short train journey away making this region easily accessible to millions of city dwellers.

Pete Myers from Northern Rail added: “We are lucky to be able to operate services around the region’s most beautiful countryside. Taking the train offers the freedom to explore town and villages off the beaten track and we know there are plenty of local gems around to discover.”

Within the South Pennines the towns scattered throughout the many valleys from Ilkley to Hebden Bridge and Marsden to Greenfield are all served by a comprehensive rail service giving walkers and cyclists the opportunity to explore further field by using public transport. The villages in-between are also linked by a good bus network.

“Leaving the car behind can add to the sense of freedom and adventure experienced when exploring another part of the area, even if it’s only in the next town,” explained Mark Turner, operations director of Pennine Prospects, the rural regeneration company that manages the annual South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival.

“We hope that people will discover or rediscover the South Pennines by taking part in this year’s festival. It’s here on our doorstep but we don’t always appreciate its beauty and everything it has to offer.”

The South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival is managed by Pennine Prospects, a rural regeneration company set up to champion the South Pennines; an area renowned for its natural beauty and wildlife, great people, quirky traditions and independent businesses.

Yorkshire Water United Utilities Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council National Farmers Union
South Pennines Association Lancashire County Council Pennine Heritage Kirklees Council Calderdale Council
Bradford District Council Northern Rail Natural England Environment Agency The National Trust