Walkers from across the UK and all over the world are being invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Pennine Way – Britain’s first National Trail – throughout 2015.
Friday April 24 marks 50 years since it was launched – 30 years after walker and writer Tom Stephenson first came up with the idea in his article ‘Wanted: A Long Green Trail’, published in the Daily Herald in 1935.
The Trail passes through three National Parks, The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, two National Nature Reserves and 20 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, all helping to make it one of the most spectacular walks in the UK.
The Pennine Way begins its 268 mile (429 km) journey along the country’s upland backbone at Edale in the Peak District and Derbyshire. Starting with a scenic climb up Jacob’s Ladder, it then crosses Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District, at 2088 feet (636 metres). Ramblers involved in the pioneering Kinder Mass Trespass – pivotal in the creation of Britain’s national parks and the universal ‘right to roam’ its countryside – changed the course of history here in 1932.
The Yorkshire stretch drops you straight into the atmospheric moorland of West Yorkshire, before bisecting the stunning Yorkshire Dales National Park as the route makes its way northwards. Along the way you can take in the imposing form of Malham Cove, a 260 foot tall amphitheatre-shaped cliff formation and an amazing feat of human endeavour, the Ribblehead Viaduct carrying the famous Settle-Carlisle railway.
The Durham leg sees you wander from Middleton-in-Teesdale along the valley of the River Tees, taking in the gentle cascades of Low Force, the thunderous High Force with its peat stained waters tumbling down into a naturally wooded vale below and then onwards towards the 200ft long churning cascade of Cauldron Snout.
Cumbria’s section takes you through the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, calling at High Cup Nick, a deep chasm in the Pennine fellside, with High Cup Gill winding hundreds of feet below, known as England’s Grand Canyon. After a brief respite in the ancient village of Dufton, the serious climbing begins up all as you 2,930 feet of Cross Fell, the highest point on the entire route and in the Pennines!
As you cross into Northumberland you will follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans and follow the line of Hadrian’s Wall, taking in the iconic Sycamore Gap, immortalised in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Towards journeys end you will enter Byrness, in the Rede Valley, the last village in England before the climb into the Cheviot Hills to cross Carter Bar into Scotland and the finish of the Pennine Way in the border village of Kirk Yetholm.
TV Broadcaster, Julia Bradbury, said: ‘’The Pennine Way, the longest and oldest National Trail, chases the mountain tops along the rugged backbone of England and offers 268 miles of some of the finest upland walking in England. The route is steeped in history and packed with dramatic spots, like Kinder Scout, Ribblehead, Cauldron Snout, High Cup Nick and Hadrian’s Wall, as the route weaves its way through five of my favourite places, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, County Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland.’’
James Berresford, VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, said: “The Pennine Way is one of the country’s most treasured national trails. As Britain’s first and oldest national trail it marks a historic route through stunning landscapes, rich with stories that unfold along its path. A draw for visitors every year from both the UK and abroad, this remarkable National Trail stretches through some of the most spectacular northern landscapes this country has to offer - through the Peak District and Derbyshire, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Northumberland and County Durham, forming an important link between many towns and rural communities. This 50th anniversary year is a perfect opportunity to discover and experience the unique tourist spots it passes through, from three of our breath-taking National Park’s, to the wonders of the Northern Pennines or along Hadrian’s Wall, to name but a few.”
To find out more about the Pennine Way Trail, visit: www.nationaltrail.co.uk/pennine-way For further details of attractions and accommodation on the route please visit the following: visitpeakdistrict.com, yorkshire.com, thisisdurham.com, golakes.co.uk and visitnorthumberland.com.