Peak & Northern Footpaths Society (est.1894)

Day Walks in the South Pennines: 20 routes in West Yorkshire and beyond by Paul Besley, published by Vertebrate Publishing

Mel Bale, Membership Secretary, Webmaster and Trustee

This article is from Signpost 65, Autumn 2020

Paul Besley’s latest book is a very welcome addition to the ever-growing range of walking titles on our bookshelves. In part, this is because of its excellent quality but also that it covers areas that are relatively new to us as walkers and probably to many of our readers as well. The author has drawn on his love of landscape and the interaction of humans with it to create a series of walks that will appeal to a broad group of walkers. Alison, his wife, and his Mountain Rescue Search Dog Scout accompanied him on many of the walks. It’s also great to see that PNFS also gets a mention in the acknowledgements.

The distances covered range from 4.8 to 17.8 miles, over half of which are under 10 miles. All but one of the walks has a common start and endpoint. The exception is the final walk, from Hebden Bridge to Marsden. They certainly take you to places that are well of the beaten track! A standard format is used throughout. There is a route description that provides an historic and cultural background to the area. This is particularly useful, pointing out places of particular interest to look out for. This is followed by one of the author's photographs and an OS map of the area. The paths to be followed are highlighted with a transparent band of green which ensures that any underlying detail is not obscured. Finally, there are the directions. These are clear and easy to follow and is linked to red route markers shown on the map. One word of caution though, many of the routes are across open moorland which can be hard work at the best of times and very challenging when the cloud comes down or in bad weather. Don’t just rely on the book, always take a compass!

Scout caving on Pule Hill

The publishers, Vertebrate Publishing are based in Sheffield. They are well known for their series of Day Walk books as well their website https://www.v-publishing.co.uk and also should be available from most good outdoor shops. Small businesses always need our support but never more so than during the present crisis. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is worth the cover price alone for the maps. These are a delight, showing not just the detail of these intriguing and demanding landscapes but also the wonderful richness the names of the places and features within them. The author's notes and directions really bring the routes to life and just make you want to get out there and explore them. What more could you want from a walking guide?

Paul has recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University and has already been commissioned to write a couple of novels. He also a regular contributor to Trail magazine and looks to have a flourishing future as a writer ahead of him. You can find examples of his more personal style of writing at https://paulbesley.blog/.


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Page title:Day Walks in the South Pennines: 20 routes in West Yorkshire and beyond by Paul Besley, published by Vertebrate Publishing
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