With over 100 walks and rides, for both horse-riders and cyclists, the South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival, from Saturday, September 8 to Sunday, September 23, offers challenges for all, regardless of ability. However it’s not all about pushing to the limit; there are a number of events that concentrate on the many delights of the area, from poetry to wildlife and music to beer.
Simon Armitage will present an entertaining musical slide show with readings from his latest book, Walking Home, as part of the Travels with a Troubabour on the Pennine Way event. And for anyone wishing to connect with Simon’s work there is the chance to join the strenuous three-day 47-mile Stanza Stones Trail, opened this year to celebrate the Cultural Olympiad, along the length of the South Pennines visiting his water-themed carvings along the way. This event is available for people to join as a one day, two day or three day walk.
The 16 day festival, organised by the rural regeneration company Pennine Prospects, will be launched in Uppermill and Shaw over the weekend of September 8 and 9. The best place to find out what is happening each day throughout the festival is the South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival website at www.walkandridefestival.co.uk which has full details of all events or by picking up a pocket guide, which outlines each event, available from tourist information centres and other outlets.
Mark Turner, director of Pennine Prospects, encouraged everyone to find out what is available and to enjoy what the area has to offer: “All the events on the website are graded from easy to strenuous so people can choose the activities, which will suit them best. If you want to try something new we have lots of opportunities; why not go stunt bike riding or pony trekking? For those with restricted mobility we’ll have a selection of adapted cycles to test-drive at our launch event.
Mark added: “We have themed events, such as the Holme Valley Station to Station walk, which meets a specially commissioned jazz train, serving Mallison’s Beer, to travel to Sheffield and back. Or maybe the wildlife is your interest. If so, why not join Mike Denton for the Birds on the Moors walk and try to spot the elusive twite.
“As always we have many cycling events, from family cycling sessions to the Bronte Mountain Bike Challenge but for the first time this year, working in partnership with the Hebden Bridge Picture House and Singletrack magazine, we’ve organised a film event for everyone interested in mountain biking, showcasing at its UK premier, Reveal the Path, and Strength in Numbers.”
Funding for the festival 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. For more information please visit the festival website at www.walkandridefestival.co.uk