MODERN technology is opening up the delights of the South Pennines to a new generation as walkers and families explore the uplands using podscrolls, audio guides and GPS.

The secrets of the prehistoric carved rocks scattered across Ilkley Moor are investigated in the latest podscroll to be launched by rural regeneration company, Pennine Prospects, as part of the Watershed Landscape project.

Using twenty-first century technology, the Ilkley Moor Podscroll, links walkers with their prehistoric ancestors, who through evolving farming methods changed the South Pennines landscape forever; from densely wooded hills and valleys to the open moorland seen today. Available for free download onto colour iPods, media players and smart-phones, the podscroll uses over 60 images to guide walkers on a route just short of three miles across Ilkley Moor to iconic carved rocks, some of which are thought to be 4,000 years old.

“We have several new resources that people can use to explore the upland landscape in the South Pennines,” explained Anna Carter, Watershed Landscape interpretation officer.

“The podscrolls allow anyone with a smart phone to download guides that act as a visual aid alongside a traditional map. They offer an interesting way to interpret the landscape, bringing it to life for a new audience.”

The limestone hushings on the moors above Burnley, are explored in the Sheddon Clough podscroll, developed by Audio Trails which also highlights the wildlife, bio-diversity and industrial heritage of the area in a short guided walk starting from Maiden’s Cross car park off the Long Causeway. The close relationship between the wilds of the uplands and the lives of those living in the valleys is still relevant today as Hurstwood and Cant Clough Reservoirs, seen along the route, provide Burnley with 21 million litres of clean drinking water every day.

Carved out of the landscape by hundreds of navvies using only picks and shovels the creation of the many reservoirs above Rochdale and Oldham are a testament to the ingenuity and drive of the industrial age. To help explore the landscape and unusual architecture of these reservoirs, Pennine Prospects and Rochdale Countryside team have developed a Reservoir Spotter’s Guide podscroll.

The Piethorne Reservoir Audio Trail is another type of walking guide available for free download onto MP3 players and mobile phones. This resource has been brought together by the Watershed Landscape project team with the help of experts from United Utilities and the Rochdale Countryside team.  The audio trail helps walkers explore the heritage, wildlife and biodiversity of the uplands above Newhey in Rochdale.

All the podscrolls and the audio trail are available to download free from the website, which also features easy to follow instructions. Funding is being made available through the Watershed Landscape project, supported 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.

And for those wishing to take part in a modern treasure hunt geocaching is also available in the South Pennines. By using the global positioning system, GPS, through a specialised unit or mobile phone, walkers can use longitude and latitude coordinates to hunt for geocaches, carefully hidden containers that hold a logbook and small trinkets and trade items, some of which have been created by the Watershed Landscape artists and writers in residence. Three Watershed Landscape caches can be found in the landscape above the reservoirs of Widdop and Gorple.

“Geocaching is very popular here and all over the world. It’s a great way for people to explore the uplands in a family friendly way,” explained Anna.

For details on all the ways in which to explore the Watershed Landscape and for many other resources for families and schools, from videos to activity packs, visit the project’s website at www.watershedlandscape.co.uk  and for regular updates follow the project team on Twitter @tweetingtwite

Everyone venturing onto the uplands is reminded to dress appropriately, in waterproofs and walking boots, and to be prepared for the weather to change quickly and without warning.



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