Calderdale Ramblers and other local walking groups got together last May to look at how they could promote their area to walkers from other parts of the country. The new initiative covers the stunning countryside in the Calder Valley stretching from the Lancashire border near Todmorden, to Hebden Bridge, Luddenden and Warley. It’s a countryside that is justly popular with walkers in West Yorkshire, but walkers further afield are unaware of its potential.

The groups in the initiative agreed to promote the area as “Walkers are Welcome in the Heart of the Pennines”. Their work so far includes Northern Rail distributing 20,000 leaflets throughout their network; 10,000 postcards being sent out through on-line clothing stores; over 60 walking guides now available for the first time at Todmorden and Hebden Bridge visitor centres and on-line from their website; a year’s work on path upgrades and waymarking focussed on the three long distance walks and other published routes.

The attractively produced leaflets contain photos of Stoodley Pike, the Luddenden valley, Widdop Reservoir, the Rochdale Canal, and the extraordinary Bridestones, and with links to further information on accommodation, pubs and cafes, local bus and train services, and visitor centres.

Future plans include work on self-guided and guided walks, and coverage in the walking press. For more details about the Heart of the Pennines project and to browse the on-line shop, visit the website at www.heartofthepennines.org.uk

Richard Peters