Walk and Ride Festival a great success

Posted: 14.10.11

With more events, more participants and even more opportunities to get involved this year’s South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival has proved a fantastic success thanks to the dedication of over 200 volunteers.

The fourth annual Walk and Ride Festival, organised by the South Pennines rural regeneration company Pennine Prospects and launched in partnership with Marsden Walkers Are Welcome group, saw more than 2,000 people enjoy in excess of 130 events over the festival fortnight in September.

Sue Leffman, Walk, Cycle, Ride project officer, thanked everyone who had made the festival possible. “It’s been a fantastic success with numbers up on last year and new events included in the schedule, such as story-telling in Marsden, which attracted more than 60 people, and the gruelling hill climb for cyclists, Up the Buttress event, in Hebden Bridge that not only had 37 entrants of all ages from 10 years upwards but also several hundred spectators over the afternoon,” said Sue.

“The festival wouldn’t be possible without the help of all our volunteers; people who organise walks, long and short, and cycle and horse rides. We have such a variety of events, each with a volunteer leader and back-up, all keen to make their event a success. Some take this to extraordinary lengths, even dressing as Roman soldiers to bring the history of the South Pennines alive.”

Each year the South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival aims to introduce anyone interested in the outdoors, from those wanting a challenging ten hour hike to those wishing to explore the area’s wildlife and heritage while enjoying a gentle stroll, to the South Pennines area. This year the festival was even bigger and better than last with more than 130 guided walks, cycle tours, mountain bike rides and horse riding events.

“We will be making an Olympian effort to make next year’s festival even better,” added Sue. “If anyone has been inspired to organise their own walk or ride for next year’s festival we’d love to hear from them. Please get in touch.”

The South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival 2012 will take place between September 8 and 23 and the launch will be held in one of the Saddleworth villages and the festival will feature events throughout the South Pennines area.

On the Yorkshire/Lancashire border, the South Pennines is an exhilarating area of upland gritstone and heather moor, cut by tranquil wooded valleys, and offers some of the finest walking, cycling and riding opportunities in England. The area encompasses rural communities such as Marsden and Holmfirth, Todmorden and Hebden Bridge, Ilkley and Haworth on the Yorkshire side; Burnley and Bacup, Whitworth and Ramsbottom, Rawtenstall and Haslingden in Lancashire.

To find walks or rides to enjoy throughout the year visit the South Pennines Walk, Cycle, Ride website.

Below: The “Boat Lane Walk” from Tunnel End, Marsden to Diggle on Sunday, September 11. Far left: Nigel Dix holding the boat horse, Bilbo. Centre: Alan Schofield talks about the history of the boat lane route.

Below: CTC Huddersfield, “Roughlee Cycle Ride”, Sunday September 11. Pictured: members of Huddersfield Cycle Touring Club.

Below: The “Walk Up An Appetite for a Jubilee Tea” event, Thursday September 15. Pictured: participants at the back of the Jubilee Tea Rooms, Sowerby Bridge.

Below: The “Via Romanus” walk, led by Nigel Dix, aka roman soldier Helveticus. Second-from-left: Joe Hair and next to him John Manning.

Below: “The Storytelling Walk”, Saturday September 10, at Marsden from Tunnel End. Pictured: Storyteller, Peter Findlay

Below: “Scenic Off-Road Cycle”, Wednesday September 21. Pictured: Members of the Rough Stuff Fellowship, Northern Peak and South Pennine Group, and guests.

Below: “Up the Buttress”, Saturday September 10, Hebden Bridge. Pictured: Competitor, Sol Muldoon.

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