From Panopticon To Pike: Something for everyone in South Pennines Walk & Ride Festival

Posted: 21.07.08

The 80 events scheduled for the second South Pennines Walk & Ride Festival from September 13-28 promise to have something for everyone.

Organised by former TGO deputy editor and South Pennine native John Manning, the 16-day festival features walks and rides ranging from gentle one or two mile nature trails to a marathon 47-mile mountain bike ride on the Mary Towneley Loop of the Pennine Bridleway on September 14, which will raise funds for the Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue Team.

John commented: “We have had fantastic co-operation from local walking and cycling groups, including people like the Cylists’ Touring Club and the Peak & Northern Footpath Society. It’s given us a wonderfully varied and interesting programme of events throughout the 16-day festival.”

Graham Joyce, Development Manager of Pennine Prospects, said: “This year’s festival promises to be better than ever, with a varied programme of events covering the best of the South Pennines. And with rising fuel costs, we’ve made it easy for people to use our superb public transport network, or to get out on their bikes and enjoy our wonderful countryside.

“This year’s festival promises to be better than ever, with a varied programme of events covering the best of the South Pennines.”

“Our sponsors, Metro, and the other transport operators have been keen to support our programme which gets people out into the countryside while reducing their carbon footprint.”

Most of the walks during the festival are accessible by public transport, including the seven-mile riverside stroll from Winewall to Wycoller, passing the striking cave-like hill-top shelter known as the Panopticon above the Wycoller Country Park on September 16, which is also visited on the nine-mile walk from Laneshaw Bridge to Oakworth on September 23.

Another prominent South Pennines monument visited by a walk is the iconic Stoodley Pike on a nine-mile circular stroll from Mytholmroyd on September 25. This walk has an amusing title taken from TV’s Dads’ Army; “Don’t Tell ‘em, Pike!” There’s also an intriguing “Stone Puzzles” walk on September 14, in which the guides, known only as “The Three Plausible Duffers”, promise to unravel some stories in stone in the hills above the Clowbridge Reservoir, Dunnockshaw; and a strenuous two-part exploration of the Todmorden Centenary Way, on September 27-28.

Beginners will be catered for in an “Understanding Map & Compass” day at the Ogden Water Country Park on September 13, while on Thursday, September 18, a “Help Conserve the Reserve” event will help to enable people to put something back into the beautiful South Pennine landscape.

On the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, September 13-14; on Wednesday September 17; and the weekend of September 20 and 21, a photographic exhibition by leading photographer David Tarn will be staged at the National Trust’s Gibson Mill, at Hardcastle Crags.

Last year’s festival was notable for the fact that well over half the people taking part in the events used public transport to get there, emphasising the sustainability message of leaving the car behind. Around 1,500 people attended the 75 events in last year’s “Tracks ‘n Trails” Heritage Festival. Programmes for this year’s festival will be available from Tourist Information Centres, bus and rail stations and other local outlets from mid July. It can also be accessed via

For more information: contact John Manning, festival organiser, on 01729 822547; Graham Joyce, Development Manager of Pennine Prospects on 01274 431019, or Roly Smith, media consultant on 01629 812034.

Click Here to download the festival brochure in PDF format.

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