Walkers can download an audio guide before they upload their rucksack to discover that Romans tramped the very path beneath their feet as they hike the South Pennine moors.
Two new “audio trails”, delivered by the MoorLIFE project, are now free to download to smart phones and MP3 players, enabling ramblers to listen to their very own guide explaining historical facts, wildlife to look out for and important environmental restoration work going on as they explore the accessible moorlands of Turley Holes and Rishworth Common.
The Turley Holes audio trail narrates an eight-mile walk around environmentally protected moorland just south of the historic town of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.
Here, close to United Utilities’ reservoirs and Yorkshire Water land, the audio guide explains 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.
Following part of the Pennine Way, the audio guide takes in prominent landmarks such as Stoodley Pike, built to mark the end of the Crimean War.
And it explains how the MoorLIFE project is restoring degraded moorland much like a gardener treats a tired lawn but on a huge scale, using helicopters to ferry seed, cuttings, lime and fertiliser to these remote spots. It points out new growth of native plants like heather, bilberry and sphagnum moss which are taking hold to halt erosion, stop peat from staining our drinking water and retain carbon to help combat climate change.
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 thousands of vehicles passing every day on the nearby M62 motorway between Lancashire and Yorkshire
The audio guide takes people along routes trodden by Roman soldiers, through to the 1840s when 30,000 Chartists gathered to call for parliamentary reform, right up to the present day of the motorway and moorland restoration.
MoorLIFE staff explain how they are returning bare, degraded stretches of this nationally protected wildlife area into healthy habitats once more. They describe the effects of fire on the moors including a 2013 wildfire caused accidentally by someone making a cup of tea on a camping-stove. And they urge walkers to look out for the rare twite – or Pennine finch – whose prospects are reviving with a special RSPB recovery project to restore their habitats.
Debra Wilson, MoorLIFE communications officer, said: “The Turley Holes and Rishworth Common walks are a great way to combine healthy walking with discovering facts that you never knew. They are pretty strenuous and we’d advise you to go out well-prepared for changes in the weather, but we have another 15 Peak District audio trails suitable for a range of abilities, each with their own fascinating story.
“Some are short and easy-going, some more challenging, covering sites from Black Hill to Win Hill, Bleaklow, Edale, Surprise View, Hathersage, Stanton Moor, Kinder Scout, and more – so there should be something for everyone to enjoy.”
Download the free audio trails:
- Turley Holes
- Rishworth Common
Discover more trails