Book Review // Day walks in the South Pennines

I wouldn’t normally use a guidebook for day walks and definitely not for the area in which I live. But given the chance to review this guide I thought I’d see if it would still impress me, given the amount of walking I’ve done in the South Pennines.

The ‘Day Walks in…’ guides produced by Vertebrate Publishing now cover almost all of the National Parks and some extra areas too, as with the South Pennines. The same format is also used for their mountain biking guides, which I’ve used a lot since taking up mountain biking last summer. (who didn’t get on a bike in lockdown 1?)

Day walks in the South Pennines covers 20 walks around West Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester, all between 8 and 29km (5 and 18 miles).

Each route has stunning photos, an overview of the walk with a clear OS map route image and detailed written walking guide.

Each route also has a really clear overview panel covering the total distance of the route, ascent, grid reference for the start, parking suggestions and which OS map you will need.

The books covers a lot of classic walks in the area, so is a great introduction to the South Pennines for visitors. You’ll find walks around Dove Stone Reservoir, Bridestones and Stoodley Pike, Hollingworth Lake and Blackstone Edge.

Some of the routes covered require good navigation skills – for example the first route in the guide of Holme to Black Hill and while it says as such in the written text its surprising for a guide book of this nature to suggest a route which requires walking on a bearing across open moorland which is a hotspot for mountain rescue locally.

The South Pennines isn’t a designated national park or even an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so many people don’t necessarily associate the term with a specific bounded area. So the inclusion of the area in the ‘Day Walks’ series is fantastic to encourage more people to visit the towns and villages in this area that is between two National Parks.

The guidebook does sneak in some routes outside of the rough geography of the South Pennines though with the inclusion of Pendle Hill (in the Trough of Bowland), Rivington Pike (in the Western Pennines) and Goodshaw and Hamilton Hill (in the Western Pennines). These are great routes, but its a shame as there could have easily been 3 more routes on the South Pennines Moors included in this guide. And surely there’s enough great walks in both the Western Pennines and Trough of Bowland for a separate guide too?

That said this is a great introduction to the area and some of its classic walks.

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