Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Pennine Way

Date Posted: 16/04/2015

Photo Credit: VisitEngland/VisitNorthumberland.com

Friday 24th April 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Pennine Way – a 268 mile walking route from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders.

On 22nd June 1935, Daily Herald journalist Tom Stephenson wrote Wanted: A Long Green Trail, an article which called for ‘a Pennine Way from the peak to the Cheviots.’ Thirty years later his dream became reality when the Pennine Way officially opened in 1965. To this day it is still frequented by thousands of walkers every year.

Walking the Pennine Way means visitors will pass many of Northern England’s landmarks. Here are just a few of the trail’s highlights for groups to sojourn as they ascend England’s ‘backbone.’

Clints, cliffs and coves

The Pennine Way will take visitors through the village of Malham which is surrounded by limestone and a number of beauty spots.

A short walk from the village, Malham Cove is a curving amphitheatre-shaped cliff formation of limestone rock, which famously featured in the sixth instalment of the Harry Potter film franchise. Visitors to the cove will recognise the limestone pavements which create a unique micro-climate for rare wild flowers and ferns.

Also groups should visit the Gordale Scar, a huge gorge which inspired artist John Piper and even William Wordsworth through its limestone clints and free flowing waterfall. You can then walk onwards to Malham Tarn, the highest freshwater lake in England. In the summer months wild garlic grows on mass in the woods and forms a pleasant path leading up to Janet's Foss waterfall.

God’s own county

Further north, The Yorkshire Dales National Park, is a highlight because of its idyllic countryside views, diverse wildlife and cultural heritage.

The Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes features many displays which convey the social and cultural development of the countryside over thousands of years. The current collection includes artefacts and displays relating to the Dales’ past, agriculture, medicine and rural crafts. Parties of ten or more are entitled to discounted entries.

Because the Dales are a National Park the area is brimming with wildlife. Snaizeholme Wood is home to one of only sixteen red squirrel reserves in the country and on dry, calm days there is a good chance to see grass wood butterflies. Also Strid Wood has views of waterfalls and rapids and is one of the best places in the park to see woodland birds.

Finally, there are a number of castles, abbeys and stately homes to visit. Bolton Castle is enshrouded in over 600 years of history and runs daily bird of prey displays and boar feeding sessions. Fountain Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens run guided group tours while Jacobean estate Kiplin Hall has recently opened One Thousand and One Finds, an exhibition which charts the history of Kiplin Hall from the Middle Stone Age to the Second World War.

On the trail of the Romans

Groups crossing into Northumberland will be treading Hadrian’s Wall path and in doing so be following in the footsteps of the Roman army. The surrounding area has plenty of things for groups to do besides walking all 84 miles of Hadrian’s Wall.

Chesters Roman Fort and Museum is the most complete Roman cavalry fort in Britain which offers an insight into Roman military life and the history surrounding the structure. Visitors are able to wander through the remains of the fort’s four main gates, the ruins of the commander’s quarters and the bathhouses –the social domain for Roman soldiers. There is also a museum on site full of Roman relics housing an array of altars, jewellery and religious artefacts; the result of a life time of excavations by antiquarian John Clayton. The museum has recently added a tearoom for those tired of patrolling the fort. Parties of eleven or more are entitled to a 15 per cent discount on admission to the attraction.

Furthermore, groups can amble through the remains of Corbridge Roman Town and learn how the Romans lived in the garrison. Visitors will travel through the ruins of a Roman high street and explore the markets and temples, experiencing all aspects of Roman life.

For more information visit www.visitengland.com.

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