Exploring the South Pennines has never been so much fun

Posted: 7.08.14

There are so many ways in which to explore the South Pennines and this year’s Walk and Ride Festival brings them all together.

Riding a horse cowboy-style, scaling natural rock formations or using map and compass to navigate across moorland, the South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival has it all. Taking place between Saturday, September 6 and Sunday, September 21 the festival has over 140 events to choose from making exploring this beautiful region even easier. Details of the all the events taking place can be found on the festival website at www.walkandridefestival.co.uk

Horses used to be one of the only ways to traverse the South Pennines with packhorse trains snaking across the moors linking isolated settlements. Now it is possible to revisit this historic method of travel and enjoy the scenic fells riding locally bred Fell ponies from Peers Clough, in Rossendale. The centre is holding three open days during the festival on Saturday, September 6; Saturday, September 13 and Saturday, September 20.

For anyone who may have fancied themselves as a cowboy or cowgirl there’s an opportunity to ride Western horses with Western saddles from Higher Oxhey Farm, Denshaw, Saddleworth. On Wednesday, September 10 beginners will be able to cover parts of the Saddleworth and Pennine Bridleways and on Wednesday, September 17 there will be an event for novice or advanced riders. Booking is required and there is a price of £25 per person.

A 14.5 mile guided ride by the West Pennine Bridleways Association will follow the packhorse trail from Denshaw to Marsden and back through Castleshaw to Denshaw on Sunday, September 14. Experienced riders without a horse can hire one from Oxhey Western Trail Rides for the day if required.

Horses and dogs, with their owners, are invited to take part in the five to six miles Craven Country Ride at Coniston Cold, Skipton on Sunday, September 14 to raise money for the Haworth Riding for the Disabled group. The event is open to horses at £15, walkers at £5 with £1 extra for a dog. There will also be handy pony games and a treasure hunt for the younger participants.

A fun informal session of camp craft and forest skills for adults will take place at Tanner’s Mill, Greenfield, Oldham on Wednesday, September 10. Participants will learn about knots, lashings, tarps, making pegs, fire lighting, as well as how to make a rocket stove, tandori oven, Swedish torch and Kelly kettle. All equipment will be provided and participants will be given a booklet. Booking is essential and there is a charge of £25 per person.

The challenges and joys of rock climbing can be experienced through the Rock Climbing Adventure Day on Sunday, September 7. Participants will be able to tackle a small friendly single pitch (25-85 ft), at Cadshaw Rocks, Blackburn. This fun, informative and safe course is delivered by members of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors and costs £65 per person. Booking is essential.

There is also a rock climbing introduction at Tanner’s Mill, Greenfield, Oldham, on Tuesday, September 16. Experience is not necessary and all equipment will be provided. Participants will learn about basics around safety on the rock, climbing techniques, bouldering and traversing, belaying and climbing on a top rope. Again booking is essential and there is a fee of £30 per person.

For anyone wishing to improve their navigation skills there are two courses on offer. On Saturday, September 6, First Steps to Navigation offers basic map and compass skills training through practical navigation exercises above Hebden Bridge in sight of Stoodley Pike.

On Sunday, September 21 there is a full day introduction to navigation, again from Hebden Bridge, following which participants, who may not have any prior experience, will be able to confidently use a map and compass to navigate their way using rights of way across straightforward terrain. There is a cost of £35 per person and booking is essential.

The South Pennines is criss-crossed by rail links making the 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.

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