Visitors will need headtorches for the walk to Top Withins, inspiration for Wuthering Heights. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Visitors will need headtorches for the walk to Top Withins, inspiration for Wuthering Heights. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

A fortnight-long outdoor festival kicks off this weekend in the South Pennines.

Radical history and a literary sunset are among themes for walks during the Walk and Ride Festival, which begins on Saturday.

The festival, run by rural regeneration company Pennine Prospects, has almost 150 events taking place, including location spotting trips in the area featured in acclaimed writer and director Sally Wainwright’s television series Happy Valley.

Adele Adams, Walk and Ride Festival co-ordinator, said: “We have something for everyone.

“Whether you’re a seasoned walker, a keen cyclist or someone wanting to try a new activity or sport we’ll have an event for you. Why not start this weekend by coming along to the launch of the Celebrating our Woodland Heritage project, at Towneley Hall on Sunday.

“There’ll be activities, entertainment and displays for everyone, especially families, on the day. Come along; it’s a free event.

“Again walkers have a fantastic choice. For example, experienced walkers can join Mick Chatham on the Calderdale Way. Mick will guide people on six circular walks, each including a section of the Calderdale Way over six non-consecutive days, starting on Monday, 12 September.

“For some people the breathtaking South Pennines landscape would be enough but others also enjoy delving into the area’s rich history; for them we also have plenty on offer.”

Historical walks include Riots and Protests, the Radical History of Todmorden on Sunday, 11 September, which will visit the Basin Stones where Chartists demanded the right to vote, where the Plug Riots and the Anti-Poor Riots took place, and the site of the much resisted workhouse.

Walkers will be able to search out locations from Sally Wainwright's Happy Valley. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Walkers will be able to search out locations from Sally Wainwright's Happy Valley. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

The hidden gems of the ancient woods and moors of Hebden Dale will be revealed by local author Chris Goddard, also this Sunday. And a gentle nature walk from Craggies, at Cragg Vale, which includes a visit to the Little Valley Brewery off-licence, will combine nature observation and local delights, on Friday, 16 September.

Cyclists are invited to raise money for Sue Ryder whilst taking part in the Brontë Mountain Bike Challenge from Oxenhope on Sunday, 18 September. There are three routes to choose from: Emily (23.4 miles), Charlotte (27.6 miles) and Anne (13 or 15 miles). The routes are suitable for all standards of mountain or cyclo-cross rider. All participants will receive a medal and hot meal at the finish.

On Sunday, 18 September there’s the opportunity to join MTB Whoosh for a two-part Hebden Descents ride. The first is a 13-mile loop that includes some of the area’s famous descents, after the long steady climb out of town, starting at 10am. The second part is an 11-mile loop cycle starting at 2.30pm, after lunch, for those wanting to make a day of it. Both will offer fantastic cycling and stunning views.

Ms Adams said: “Walkers can join the Brontës by Dark this Saturday, 10 September to travel along parts of the Bronte Way reaching Top Withins at sunset for a reading from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. That will be really atmospheric but you’ll need your head-torch for the return journey in the dark.”

There’s also a walk that will follow in the footsteps of the Railway Children, passing many of the locations used in the 1970 film. Walkers will be able to see the Doctor’s House, the Butcher’s Shop, Oakworth Station, Haworth Station, the Railway Cottage and the house where the children lived, the Three Chimneys, on the walk on Tuesday, 20 September.

For those who enjoy a challenge there’s the Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Ramble this Saturday. The fundraiser starts from Marsden and includes routes of eight, 16 and 25 miles.

For those who prefer two wheels there’s the Holme Valley Cycle Challenge on Sunday, 11 September. Setting off from Hade Edge Recreation Ground, Holmfirth, cyclists can take part in the 30-, 20- or 15-mile rides but they’ll need their own insurance.

Ms Adams added: “We also have a Yorkshire Wineathlon from Thurstonland Cricket Club on Saturday, 17 September; a nine-mile run with wine stations every two miles, complete with samples. That’s going to be a popular event.”

More details are on the Walk and Ride Festival website.

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