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The Pennine Way was Britain’s first National Trail and, since 1965, people have been walking its distance year on year.
The Pennine Way is one of Britain’s most challenging long-distance trails and this splendid walking route is enjoyed by 15,000 long-distance walkers and more than 250,000 day walkers every year. It is an arduous but picture-perfect 268 miles along the rugged backbone of England, from Edale in the Peak District through the Yorkshire Dales and over Hadrian’s Wall and up to the Cheviots. Along the way, it offers some of the finest upland walking in the UK.
Peak District sections of the walk can be accessed in the south at Edale or from the Longdendale valley further north. The walking is demanding, crossing very harsh terrain of peat bog and moorland, and should not be attempted without good clothing and forward planning. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun, though!
History of the Pennine Way
Here’s a bit of history about the Pennine Way for you. The original idea for the trail was first considered by walker and journalist Tom Stephenson in a 1935 article for the Daily Herald. The official Pennine Way opening ceremony took place at Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales on 24th April 1965, and was attended by hundreds of walkers. This makes it the UK’s oldest official walking route.
During the 1970s and 80s, erosion caused by constant foot traffic meant that walkers on the Pennine Way frequently had to wade through deep bogs. Several sections of the trail were completely rebuilt, and regular work is now necessary to keep the Pennine Way fully accessible. It celebrated its 50th birthday in 2015 with a televised walk on the BBC.
Enjoy these 10 fun facts about the Pennine Way
- The record for the fastest completion of the Pennine Way was set by Mike Hartley in July 1989. Mike ran the route in 2 days, 17 hours, 20 minutes and 15 seconds without stopping for sleep.
- Poet Simon Armitage walked the Way as a ‘wandering troubadour’ in 2010, funding his adventure by doing poetry readings in village halls, pubs and homes.
- Alfred Wainwright offered to buy half a pint of beer for any walker who completed the full trail. The promise apparently cost him nearly £15,000 by his death in 1991.
- The trail is used by 15,000 long- distance walkers and more than 250,000 day walkers every year.
- Some parts of the Way receive up to 2.5 metres of rain per year.
- The full route navigates 249 stiles, 204 bridges and 287 gates.
- There are 458 signs marking the route, so you shouldn’t struggle to find your way.
- Most people walk the Pennine Way from south to north; partly because of the direction of the wind, but mostly because the official guidebook is written in this direction.
- A walker completing the full route will climb a total of 12,000 metres.
- The full route passes through three national parks: the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Park.
The walker's kit list
Whether you are planning to walk the whole route or just sections of the route, you should always be prepared with comfortable footwear, warm clothing and plenty of snacks.
Here is a kit list which might help you prepare for your next adventure…
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket and trousers (depending on time of year)
- Breathable base layers and light clothing
- Hats, gloves and buffs
- Map and compass
- First aid kit, whistle and torch
- Food and snacks – high protein, carbohydrates and sugary treats
- Hydration – plenty of water
- Eye protection and suncream
- Walking poles
It is really important to be fully equipped with everything you need so you can have full days out without worrying. A GPS mapping device is also useful to have on you, especially if you are covering a longer length of time, and it is always sensible to tell someone you know where you are going in case of an emergency.
The Pennine Way start point: Edale in the Peak District
Edale is the village in which the Pennine Way starts and can be the perfect base for any holiday in the Peak District. What Edale lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in character, with the friendly community welcoming outdoorsy visitors all year round. There are lots of opportunities for outdoor pursuits in and around Edale which makes it a desirable spot for those who are into walking, hiking, cycling, water sports and fell running. The village is small and friendly and made up of a collection of small hamlets which used to be tiny settlements.
After days out exploring, there is nothing better than to settle down in a traditional pub to enjoy some delicious grub and a refreshing pint whilst warming your toes by a crackling fire. Here are some Edale pubs to catch a breath in…
Stay in some Pennine Way accommodation in Edale
Whether you are planning on walking as a couple, a family or a group, we have lots of accommodation in the Edale area which can offer the perfect base to come back to. Browse our full collection of Edale cottages today and plan your next trip to take on some of the Pennine Way today.
We have a large selection of holiday cottages throughout the Peak District including luxury cotttages, hot tub cottages and dog-friendly cottages. Browse our full collection today.