12th October 2021

The Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership New to Walking Festival - Together for Our Landmark – took place between Saturday 18th to Sunday 26th September.

The 'New to Walking' Festival was a one-off festival organised last month over 9 days and included 16 free events.  The festival provided a fantastic opportunity for people to join knowledgeable guides and to learn more about the area's fascinating natural and cultural heritage as well as building confidence to venture out on self-guided walks in the future.

Family Walk at the Milking Parlour, Sabden – Image Credit: Mark Harder

One of the aims of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership Scheme supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, has been to look at spreading some of that visitor pressure from the same 'honeypot' sites on and around Pendle Hill, and encouraging people to seek out all the opportunities that the area has to offer. 

Hetty Byrne, Forest of Bowland Sustainable Tourism Officer said: 'We wanted to build on the connections to the outdoors and regular walks from home that people had enjoyed during Covid lockdowns.  The guided walks were an opportunity for people to continue with the regular walks they had enjoyed and to develop their confidence to explore new walks, as well as learning more about the natural and cultural heritage of the Pendle Hill area.'

Mind, Body, Connection Walk – Image Credit: Mark Harder

The 9-day festival offered a whole variety of walks from archaeology to herbal medicine, mindfulness to traditional boundaries and family-friendly walks.  The guided walks started from locations all around the foot of Pendle Hill including Nelson, Barrowford, Sabden, Roughlee and Downham and were all under 6 miles.

Hetty said: 'We were delighted by the number of people who came along and enjoyed the walks, some of which had only been enjoying regular walks for a short amount of time.  The feedback we received from participants was very encouraging and many reported that they had enjoyed the variety as well as gaining ideas of where to venture out in the future, along more peaceful paths at the foot of the hill.  It also provided an opportunity for people to walk and talk and make new friends and connections.'

Canals, Locks and Reservoirs Walk, Barrowford – Image Credit: Forest of Bowland

Here are just a few things that people had to say about the events:

'Just a quick thank you for arranging these walks, the ones I attended were all interesting in their own way and always with beautiful photogenic scenery. The guides and helpers all did a brilliant job leading us and giving historical insights.'

'Thank you so much for today. I can honestly say it was a life changing experience. It tied together so many thoughts I’ve had about using the outdoors as a healing place.'

Cathy Hopley, programme manager for the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership Scheme said: 'We would like to say a big thank you to all the walk leaders and volunteers who provided expert knowledge and guidance at the events, it is much appreciated and helped to make the festival very memorable and enjoyable to all who took part.' 

You can view a selection of images from the different events here: https://www.forestofbowland.com/new-walking-festival-photos