Walkers on packhorse bridge near Marsden Low ResWalkers can explore the South Pennines this Easter with a new series of Watershed Walks available free online.

Trails looking at the area’s heritage, archaeology and geology offer walkers different ways to experience the South Pennines, whether as a visitor to the area or as a resident seeing their own village or landscape in a new light. With downloadable podscrolls, maps and audio trails even a familiar walk can be seen in a different way.

“Walkers can download our podscrolls and print off our maps from our website, or collect a leaflet from a tourist information centre and let an expert lead them around a section of the South Pennines,” explained Sue Leffman, project co-ordinator for the South Pennines Walk, Cycle, Ride project, managed by Pennine Prospects.

“The history of this area, from the Bronze Age to the present, can be seen on the four kilometres (2.5 miles) Baildon Moor Heritage Trail,” added Sue.

“In the first section of this walk you’ll see the site of a World War Two anti-aircraft site and a Victorian rifle range; however older works can also be seen in the remains of a fireclay mine, stone quarry and Bronze Age earthworks.  You’ll know what to look for with the help of the guided walk, written by the volunteer archaeology survey team, which will soon be available to download from the resources section of the Watershed Landscape website”

Through Bronte country and the Forest of Trawden, the five and a half kilometres (3.4 miles) Oxenhope Moor Heritage Trail follows packhorse routes passing many signs of human activity along the way, from old abandoned farmsteads and hamlets to the reservoirs, catchwaters and viaducts visible in the landscape.

“For those interested in heritage but not so keen on hiking over the moors, the Passage to the Pennines podscroll offers an insight into the communities that grew out of the need to provide and maintain the essential routes across the challenging South Pennines landscape,” continued Sue.

“This two kilometres (1.2 miles) walk in Marsden uncovers the evidence for cross Pennine communications, including features of interest, such as the pack horse bridge and the old stocks and the many pubs that in earlier times provided accommodation for textile buyers, which are now reinventing themselves by selling locally brewed real ale.”

In the Castleshaw Valley three walks combine to make the Castleshaw Heritage Trails, which can be walked separately or together in an eight kilometre (five miles) route. As walkers explore this area around Diggle and Delph the fascinating history of human habitation unfolds, including evidence of pre-Roman burial mounds, as well as many weavers’ cottages from the more recent past.

Ilkley offers walkers and everyone interested in archaeology fantastic opportunities to see prehistoric rock art in their own landscape along with panoramic views. As part of the Watershed Walks series the 4.2 kilometres (2.6 miles) White Wells trail takes walkers to the Backstone Beck enclosure, where there is evidence of prehistoric settlement and some rock art, as well as to the site of stone quarrying.

To discover more prehistoric carved stones, including the Planets, Haystack Rock, Pancake Rock and the Idol Stone, routes can be followed from the Cow and Calf car park in a number of walks, which are all featured in a fully illustrated leaflet available from the Manor House Museum, in Ilkley, and the Ilkley Tourist Information Centre. Information for all the Watershed Walks can be found on the Walk and Ride website at www.walkridesouthpennines.co.uk or the Watershed Landscape website at www.watershedlandscape.co.uk under Resources.

Funding for the project, which also includes the Walk and Ride Festival from September 7 to September 22, 2013, is being made available through 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.



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