The Trans Pennine Trail spans the north of England, meandering through cities, countryside and of course the Pennines – the mountain range that divides the North East from the North West and is commonly nicknamed ‘the backbone of England’.
The coast-to-coast section of the Trail – from Southport to Hornsea – stretches about 215 miles. An intersecting north-south route from Leeds to Chesterfield, with an additional link up to York, brings the total Trail to around 350 miles.
Every year around 700,000 people come to the Trans Pennine Trail – and here are five reasons why:
1. The Scenery is Stunning
The Trail meanders through breathtaking countryside following canal towpaths, disused railway lines and riverside pathways, connecting the dots between picturesque historic towns and some of the North’s most vibrant cities. See abbeys, castles, industrial heritage sites and more, all the while surrounded by green fields and rolling hills.
2. Go by Foot, Bike or Horseback
The Trans Pennine Trail is designed specifically for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. As such, almost 70% of the Trail is traffic-free – and the bits that aren’t only go along minor country roads. What’s more, it’s well paved and comprehensively signposted, not to mention relatively flat for all but the most extreme points in the Pennines. All in all, the Trans Pennine Trail is a dream destination for walkers, cyclists and horse riders alike.
3. It’s Easy to Get to
Another of the Trans Pennine Trail’s big selling points is its accessibility. Unlike a lot of other routes, the Trail regularly passes through city centres and urban areas – so you can get out into the countryside without having to trek to the back of beyond first. The Trans Pennine Trail is easily accessed from major cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York and Sheffield, as well as from popular destinations like the Peak District.
4. Do a Little or a Lot
Because the Trans Pennine Trail is never more than a metaphorical stone’s throw away from a town or city, you don’t need to commit to completing the entire route – you can easily do a day’s walking then pop onto a bus and return to your nice warm bed. How much or how little you do is up to you.
Day trips, or shorter routes, are easy to find – you can read a few suggested short trips here. Alternatively, you can complete the entire Trail on foot or by bike. The coast-to-coast route usually takes around five days to cycle, while the north-to-south Leeds to Chesterfield route takes an additional two. Walkers can expect to take at least twice as long. (Unfortunately horse riders cannot complete the entire trail on horseback, although about two-thirds of the route is open to them.)
5. Stamps and Certificates!
Sure, you could complete the Trans Pennine Trail for the fun of it – but who doesn’t love a stamping scheme? Walkers and cyclists simply pick up, order or download a Trans Pennine Trail Stamping Card before their trip, and then have it stamped en route as they go through checkpoints. Visitors who’ve collected all the stamps can collect a certificate at the finishing point. Now that’s a motivator!
Tips for the Trans Pennine Trail:
- Dress appropriately: sturdy shoes, warm layers and waterproofs, even in summer. This is England, after all.
- Even though the Trail regularly passes through towns and cities, carry spare food and drink at all times. It might take longer than you think.
- Always carry a map. It’s well signposted, but still, accidents can happen.
- Good weather in England is never guaranteed, but summer is your best bet.
Have you visited the Trans Pennine Trail? Let us know what you thought below.