Walkers visiting some of the Peak District’s and South Pennine’s most dramatic locations can now have their own virtual guide to bring the landscape to life thanks to a series of audio trails created by moorland restoration experts, Moors for the Future Partnership.
The four audio trails – produced by the MoorLIFE project, one of the largest moorland conservation projects in Europe – are free to download to smartphones, MP3 players or computers, along with a route map that shows where to stop and listen to each track.
Ramblers can use them as self-guided walks, packed with facts about the history of the area, wildlife to look out for and the vital conservation that has been completed on these moorlands.
There are two Peak District guides with tours of Black Hill and Bleaklow, and two more South Pennine trails at Rishworth Common and Turley Holes, just south of the historic town of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.
Debra Wilson, MoorLIFE communications officer, said: “These four trails are a fantastic way of getting close to some of the UK’s most dramatic landscapes along the Pennine Way, where conservation works to protect 2,500 hectares of moorland have just been completed – and of learning how essential these uplands are.
“Walkers should be aware that the upland terrain can be challenging, so suitable clothing, a map and compass and good navigational skills, are all essential.”
All four routes include sections of the Pennine Way, making them an excellent way to explore parts of Britain’s first national trail a few hours at a time and take in some of the locations where major landscape restoration has taken place.
The nine-mile Black Hill route takes walkers past Laddow Rocks where they can discover flora and fauna and listen to examples of birdsong.
The Bleaklow trail takes in Torside Castle and Bleaklow Head, with lively historical background about the construction of the Woodhead railway line and tunnel and their effect on the landscape.
The Turley Holes audio trail narrates an eight-mile walk around environmentally protected Yorkshire moorland. Interviews with a local ranger explain why the area is prized for its water, piped into our taps and factories, but also used to top up canals and even as a wartime defence, with barges lined up to stop sea-planes landing.
The Rishworth Common audio trail covers a seven-mile walk around the wild open expanses near Ripponden, West Yorkshire – where walkers can find isolation despite the M62 between Lancashire and Yorkshire running nearby. Interviews with a local artist, a ranger and a conservation expert detail the importance of this area, past and present.
The four trails add to Moors for the Future’s growing family of countryside guides. Some are short and easy-going, others more challenging, covering sites from Black Hill to Win Hill, Bleaklow, Edale, Surprise View, Hathersage, Stanton Moor, Kinder Scout, and more – so there is something for everyone to enjoy.
But of course, you don’t even have to be out and about to enjoy them. If you’re sitting at home in a comfortable armchair, listening to the trails can bring a taste of the wild moors directly into your sitting room…
All 17 audio trails are downloadable via the Moors for the Future Partnership website at: