Walkers, cyclists and horse riders will all be able to enjoy the splendour of the South Pennines during the fifth Walk and Ride Festival this September.

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, will have something for everyone, and with such a varied programme there’s so many more ways in which to explore this diverse and stunning landscape.

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.

The festival will help to introduce people to the wealth of local businesses including the many local breweries producing prize winning real ales, superb tea-rooms and cafes offering the best in refreshments, pubs and restaurants catering for every taste and budget and fantastic places to stay. And these businesses link back to their own areas by using the best in locally produced food and goods.

Mark Turner, director of Pennine Prospects, said: “On behalf of Pennine Prospects I’d like to thank all the wonderful volunteers, who have such passion for their local area and work so hard to make this one of the best outdoor festivals in the country.”

As part of the festival there will be the chance for enthusiasts to learn new skills, from trial bike stunt riding to exploration with map and compass; and from family cycling adventures to the chance to develop mountain bike skills utilising technical trails accompanied by cycling experts. There will also be the return of the Buttress Challenge for keen cyclists willing to brave the steep cobbled road in Hebden Bridge and the crowds.

Families can explore the area using satellite technology through geocaching, find out about sustainable food production along Incredible Edible Todmorden’s green route, or discover the wildlife, birds and globally important peat-land habitat of the uplands.

Walkers will be able to stroll round Roman remains or to Lancashire’s old textile mills to discover the area’s history or take on the challenge of completing the Todmorden Boundary Walk, either over four days or in only one day. And for those keen to experience the South Pennines on horseback there’s the chance to meander to the pub for lunch or spend all day in the saddle on the Mary Towneley Loop.

Art and literature have always played an important role in the South Pennines and there are many walks and rides designed to introduce people to and deepen their understanding of the influence the area has had and continues to have on a whole range of artists, including Ted Hughes and Simon Armitage. Walkers can also make their way to the iconic and award winning panopticon sculpture, the Singing Ringing Tree in Burnley Woodlands, to see art in the landscape.

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



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