The South Pennines and Pennine Prospects to Feature on BBC’s Countryfile

Posted: 11.04.13

The South Pennines and all it has to offer, from its water-shaped landscape to the success of Incredible Edible Todmorden, will be showcased on the BBC Countryfile programme next Sunday.

Robin Gray, of Pennine Prospects, told Countryfile presenter, Helen Skelton, about the importance and history of water to the South Pennines in the programme to be aired on Sunday, April 21.

“Water has shaped this landscape. The history of drinking water supply is a story of conflict between the owners of land and those who wanted water whether for our canals, mills or to sustain growing urban populations,” said Robin. “Today much of this land is owned by United Utilities; supplying water to our taps while working with tenants and neighbours to manage the land for recreation and wider environmental benefits.”

The importance and beauty of the landscape is captured in the Reservoir Trails; a joint initiative between Pennine Prospects, United Utilities and Rochdale and Oldham councils, as part of the Watershed Landscape project. Eight Reservoir Trails feature in a guide book and leaflet, which is being developed into a new phone app.

The Reservoir Trails bring together new walking routes, based on existing rights of way, in the uplands of the South Pennines and currently include the upland reservoir network stretching from Warland and Light Hazzles through Blackstone Edge and Hollingworth Lake to the Piethorne Valley and beyond to include Denshaw and Castleshaw Valleys in Saddleworth. Each of the eight circular trails, around or near reservoirs, can be walked as an independent route or linked together via the Pennine Bridleway for more challenging long distance walking.

Rochdale Councillor Aftab Hussain said: “Reservoirs in the South Pennines provide not just our drinking water but also a fascinating and special landscape, which is full of wildlife, history and panoramic views. These trails will provide enjoyable way-marked routes to help people find out about what makes these reservoirs and the landscape they have helped to create special.”

The South Pennines has a lot to offer residents and visitors alike and while in the area Countryfile also visited Todmorden’s Incredible Edible project, an internationally recognised local food initiative, and Helen Skelton ventured onto Hollingworth Lake, Littleborough to enjoy a spot of wind-surfing.

The Reservoir Trails guide book and leaflet are available from Hollingworth Lake centre and the Saddleworth Museum and more information is available from Watershed Landscape website.

Funding for the Watershed Landscape project is provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the South Pennines LEADER programme (the Rural Development Programme for England), which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union, and managed by Pennine Prospects.

Photograph: Piethorne Valley Reservoirs

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