Walkers around Saddleworth can follow in the footsteps of Romans, monks and poets in the 2014 South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival this September.
One of the best ways to experience any landscape is on foot, which makes this year’s festival the perfect place for anyone wishing to explore the hidden gems of Oldham. Taking place between Saturday, September 6 and Sunday, September 21, the festival has over 140 events across the South Pennines, with Oldham hosting several walks and cycle rides. Details of the all the events taking place can be found on the festival website at www.walkandridefestival.co.uk
All the festival walks are led by experienced volunteer guides, who have a passion for their area. Each year they create routes that encompass points of interest, whether historical, artistic or visual. Many walks will include the best local viewpoints and opportunities to see wildlife with guides keen to share their knowledge and expertise.
The stunning landscape brought to life by the 19th century poet, Ammon Wrigley, can be explored in Tramping with Ammon, a five mile walk from Delph Bridge, Saddleworth, on Sunday, September 7. Walkers will be able to explore the edge of Friarmere Moor and listen to Ammon Wrigley’s poetry and prose amid the landscape that inspired him.
There will be a guided walk of Castleshaw Valley looking at the many sites of historical interest in this rich area, including the Roman fort, medieval grange, domestic textile manufacturing and water powered mills. The Romans, Monks and Weavers walk is a 4.5 mile medium-graded local history guided walk on Wednesday, September 10, from Delph Bridge.
On September 17 walkers are invited to join the Wednesday Walkers on one of their regular walks exploring Oldham’s countryside. There are three options. The first is a six mile walk graded as easy and sets off from Trinity Methodist’s Church, Royton. The medium-graded walk is eight miles and starts at the Wren’s Nest, Shaw and the hard-graded walk is nine miles and sets off from Brun Clough car park, Standedge.
To enjoy good views from the high ground at Whitfield walkers are invited to join the Shaw and Crompton Circular. The eight-mile, medium-graded walk will start and finish at the Shaw and Crompton Metro tram stop on Thursday, September 18. It will follow the Beal Valley to Sholver Nature Reserve.
The South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival is managed by Pennine Prospects, a rural regeneration company set up to champion the South Pennines; an area renowned for its natural beauty and wildlife, great people, quirky traditions and independent businesses.
With so much to offer the festival is the ideal way of exploring this beautiful region, as Pennine Prospects operations director, Mark Turner, explained: “The South Pennines is a stunning landscape, often overlooked or taken for granted by those of us who live and work here. The South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival gives everyone, residents and visitors alike, opportunities to explore this rich and diverse area in new and different ways.”
The South Pennines is criss-crossed by rail links making the events easily accessible from surrounding urban areas. Northern Rail has always been a keen supporter of the festival and this year is the official sponsor.