Crossing the Pennines

Even today, with the M62, there aren’t many routes across the spectacular landscapes of the South Pennines. One of the earliest was the Roman road from Chester to York and Ilkley, through the Yorkshire Colne Valley, probably following an old droveway.

In the Middle Ages, the packhorse drivers carried commercial goods and domestic products, the routes from Wakefield and Halifax towards Oldham and Manchester crossing at Marsden.

Standedge crossingsThen came the Turnpike roads of the 1700s and early 1800s, improving the surfaces and gradients for wheeled vehicles, followed by the canal and then the railway.

Working with other community groups, Milestone Society members have set up a travel heritage trail, “Crossing the Pennines”, showcasing fascinating aspects of this route and the people who used them.

And in 2014, we entered the Big Lottery’s People’s Millions competition; with 1555 votes from our communities, we won £49200 to refurbish authentically a footpath that was part of the original packhorse way.

Find out more about the project on this website: watch our Youtube films about what happened, about the Grand Opening, and about the sculptures we commissioned.

The restoration work was carried out by Terra Firma Environmental Ltd during April and May this year, under the supervision of Kirklees Council’s Public Rights of Way Projects Officer.

The Heritage Trail is a circular walk from Slaithwaite towards Marsden (or the other way round!) with variations of distance/direction from 4.5 miles to 8 miles. You can find details of the Trail Route to download; there’s also an App for smartphones.

You will also discover lots of intriguing information about the ways, the people who made them and the people who used them – look under ‘Location and History’.

We’ve added details of other walks around this spectacular, varied countryside, too.

Whether you are exploring the route on foot, by car or from your armchair, we hope you will enjoy it…

And please tell your friends – like us on facebook crossing the pennines and follow us on twitter @storiesinstone