50 years of the Pennine Way

This is an archived press release

Tuesday 14 April 2015

New Pennine Way starting point at EdaleThe Peak District village of Edale is at the heart of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Pennine Way.

Britain’s first National Trail opened on 24 April 1965, with the official starting point in Edale.

To mark the 50th anniversary of that day, a new starting point has been created and children from the local school have contributed to a time capsule.

The Moorland Visitor Centre in the village will be the focal point for community celebrations over the weekend, with talks and displays, demonstrations of local crafts and folk music. Sunday 26 April will see up to three guided walks of varying lengths and difficulty, depending on demand.

The Pennine Way originally began at the The Old Nag’s Head pub and climbed Grindsbrook, but erosion issues mean the route now promoted ascends Jacob’s Ladder.

Martyn Sharp, The Peak District National Park Authority's Pennine Way Ranger, said: "The anniversary seemed the perfect time to do something about a new formal starting point.

"The dry stone wall has been rebuilt by myself and another ranger, Terry Page, and we have had a one-off oak gate made by Andy Bentham, from our countryside maintenance team, with the central panel showing the route. Mark Priestley from the team has also been a big help in getting everything in place.

"The children and staff from Edale Primary School really got behind the project and they have had great fun putting the time capsule together.''

One man with a special interest in the celebrations is Mark Reeves, who runs the Authority's Fieldhead campsite at Edale with wife Samantha.

Mark, already a keen hill walker when he moved to the village at the end of 1999, completed the Pennine Way in 2006, along with dog, Ziggy, and two other Edale residents, father and son Geoff and Shane Townsend.

They did the walk the other way round, starting at Kirk Yetholm and camping along the way, arriving home about three weeks later.

Mark said: "We called it the Long Walk Home. It was a bit different because we had about 100 people on the site every year intending to do the walk from Edale.

"We walked for 18 days, stopping at just about every place of interest along the way, and we got a really warm welcome when we walked back into the village.’’

Pennine Way facts

  • Originally inspired by an article, Wanted: A Long Green Trail, by walker and writer Tom Stephenson, published in the Daily Herald in 1935.
  • Starts at Edale, ends at Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders
  • The Pennine Way stretches for 268 miles (429km) and most full-length walkers allow between 16-19 days
  • The record is held by Mike Hartley. In 1989 he completed the Pennine Way in two days, 17 hours, 20 minutes and 15 seconds. He did it without sleep and only stopped twice, each time for 18 minutes, and enjoyed fish and chips on the second stop!
  • An estimated 1,500-1,700 people complete the full distance each year, with more than 200,000 using the trail in total
  • Most people walk south to north, as the wind is usually behind them and the most guidebooks are written that way, so Edale is widely regarded as the starting point

Celebration events
Friday 24 April
from 6.30pm at Edale Moorland visitor centre Come along and share Pennine Way experiences with Pennine Wayers and rangers. Food available to buy from Edale Wood Fired Pizza Company.
7pm speakers:
* Mark Wallington ‘Walkies with Boogie’, local author and Pennine Wayer
* Ben Kent ‘My Pennine Way – Why?’, local Pennine Wayer
* Ian Laing ‘The Pennine Way extension’
8.30pm raise a pint of Pennine Way Special beer in The Old Nag’s Head.

Saturday 25 April
10am to 4pm at Edale Moorland visitor centre Nature trail activities, local craft workshops and demos including art, felting, coppice woodwork, spinning, and flameless cooking. Find out about the community science bumblebee project. Traditional music from 2pm.

2pm at Edale village hall Join the third annual Spirit of Kinder event. Celebrate the Pennine Way, Kinder Scout and the Dark Peak moors. Traditional singing of The Manchester Rambler led by the Woodcraft Folk. Open forum on future access. Speakers:
* Chris Townsend, BMC’s hill-walking ambassador
* Ann Beedham, Sheffield author and illustrator
* Chris Sainty, former secretary of the Pennine Way Association
* Dave Morris, former director, Ramblers Scotland

Sunday 26 April
‘Up the Old and Down the New’ three guided walks with rangers (5 miles, 9 miles and 11 miles).
Booking essential on 01629 816270.

This is an archived press release

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