A CHANCE to tap hidden artistic talent in Bronte country and pulling on your walking boots to rediscover the area's forgotten history are part of a new festival.

Explore! The South Pennines Park Walk and Ride Festival 2019 takes place from September 7-22.

The festival is co-ordinated by rural regeneration agency Pennine Prospects with over 100 walks, bike and horse rides planned, many free of charge.


“The event is one of the biggest of its kind in northern England,” explained Adele Adams, Business and Development Manager with Pennine Prospects. “It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the unspoilt beauty of the market towns, moors, valleys and canals, plus extraordinary wildlife and industrial heritage.”

Festival highlights include:

• Saddle up for the Bronte MTB Challenge to Oxenhope, near Keighley, with four off road bike routes of varying difficulties (September 22, in aid of Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice) and join an artefact hunt at 19th century Cliffe Castle in Keighley (September 8, drop in 11am to 4pm).

• Meet a Roman legionnaire in uniform to discover the history of Harden Moor, near Keighley, with a family friendly walk led by Pennine Prospects' archaeologist Chris Atkinson (September 15, 10am).

• Explore the historic mining bell pits of Judy Wood in Wyke (September 10, 10am to 3pm).

• Enjoy a stunning walk from the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth and sketch or painting the iconic local countryside – materials provided and all abilities welcomed (September 12, 10am to 1pm).

The South Pennines spans 460 square miles of spectacular upland country, bounded by the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale and the Forest of Bowland. Embracing parts of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester, plans are afoot to create a South Pennine Park to protect and promote it in the future.

“The Walk and Ride Festival is a brilliant chance to get to know the area a bit better,” adds Pam Warhurst, Chair of Pennine Prospects.

“The South Pennines has always had it its admirers, but now we have noisier champions, who want to share their love of its culture, heritage and landscape.”

A pocket guide listing events is available from community hubs, tourist information centres and other outlets across the region.

Online listings can also be found at https://simplebooklet.com/explorewrf2019.

Full details of booking procedures and charges (where applicable) are included.

Organisations taking part include the National Trust, Ramblers, Rough Stuff Fellowship, SPLAT! Training and an amazing team of volunteers and guides. The National Lottery has provided £10,000 of funding, with further backing from Sport England, Tesco Bags of Help and local parish and ward councils.