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These five guides, published to coincide with the Right to Roam legislation now coming into effect, cover areas newly opened up to walkers as a result of the legislation. The five areas are the South Pennines & Brontë Moors (including Ilkley Moor), the Forest of Bowland, the Pennine Divide between Greater Manchester and Yorkshire, and two books on the Peak District covering the Northern & Western and the Eastern & Southern Moors respectively. The Northern Moors of the Peak District were, of course, both the cockpit and the catalyst for the Freedom to Roam movement.
I was particularly interested in this series because the first of the five books covers my local area. After reading the book for half an hour or so, I discovered that I, and several groups of Scouts I had been walking with, had been unknowingly trespassing on Ilkley and Rombalds Moors. Similarly, when I was reading Book 3, I also found that my aunts and uncles, who lived in Holmfirth, had taken me during the 1960s to walk in places which, again, were not public rights of way at the time. It is a good job, therefore, that sense has prevailed and that these areas of open moorland have now become accessible to the public as a result of the Right to Roam legislation.
Each guide includes an introduction to the area, its landscape, history and wildlife, along with between twelve and fourteen walks, each of which is graded for difficulty. In addition, there are a number of features, each a single page in length, relating to a topical event or personality that has a connection with the walks in question. Each walk is shown on a full colour Ordnance Survey map; special features and points of interest have been chosen to add to the walker’s enjoyment of the countryside and, of course, information on public rights of way and access are included.
The five areas covered by the guides contain some magnificent scenery, which, with the improved access for walkers, will enable more people to enjoy the beauty detailed in these guides. They are certainly worth discovering.
Freedom to Roam guide: Forest of Bowland with Pendle Hill and the West Pennine Moors by Andrew Bibby
ISBN 0 7112 2502 8
Freedom to Roam guide: Peak District Eastern Moors and the South by Roly Smith
ISBN 0 7112 2498 6
Freedom to Roam guide: Peak District Northern and Western Moors by Roly Smith
ISBN 0 7112 2499 4
Freedom to Roam guide: The Pennine Divide - walking the moors between Greater Manchester and Yorkshire
by Andrew Bibby
ISBN 0 7112 2500 1
Freedom to Roam guide: South Pennine and the Bronte Moors including Ilkley Moor by Andrew Bibby
ISBN 0 7112 2501 X
reviewed by John Burland - Member No. 2