Wainwright walk to be commemorated with plaque unveiling

Posted: 18/09/2011 13:01:40 by Nigel Nixon

A 250-mile walk between Settle and Hadrian’s Wall could become as popular as the Coast-to-Coast, enthusiasts believe.

The circular route is one of Alfred Wainwright’s earliest walks and a campaign is gathering pace to have it included on Ordnance Survey maps.

Later this month, a plaque will be unveiled at Settle Railway Station, identifying the site as the start of the trek.

In 1938, a 31-year-old Wainwright caught a train from Blackburn to Settle, before embarking on the walk, which took about 11 days.

From the detailed notes from his 210-mile hike, he wrote a book, called A Pennine Journey – The Story of a Long Walk, which lay unpublished until 1988, shortly before his death.

The book is widely regarded as the work that gave Wainwright the confidence to go on and produce another 59 illustrated books and guides for walkers.

Now the Wainwright Society wants to make the route as well-known and well-used as the Coast-to-Coast, which was devised by the author in 1973.

Derek Cockell, from the group, said: “Apart from trying to enhance the work of Alfred Wainwright, another of our aims is to bring some economic benefits to the communities which lie along his routes, and getting this route recognised would certainly do that.

“This part of the country is such wonderful walking country and it is not as well-known as other areas, but it should be. This route could quite easily be as significant as the Coast-to-Coast or the Pennine Way.”

When Wainwright’s book was published in 1988, society member David Pitt altered the walk slightly to ensure it was entirely on public footpaths. The amended route, which is 247 miles long, takes in North Yorkshire, County Durham and Cumbria.

“Our first objective is to get the entirety of the route waymarked on the ground,” said Mr Cockell. “The second objective would be to have the route marked on Ordnance Survey maps, because that really would pull people in.”

The group is working with local authorities, land-owners and other groups to move the project forward.

The commemorative plaque will be unveiled on Saturday, September 24, the same date that Wainwright arrived in Settle to begin his Pennine Journey.

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