Special 70-mile walking route takes in beauty of our district

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A walking route covering 70 miles will showcase the countryside and history of the district.

The Wakefield Way runs from Bretton to Pontefract and South Elmsall to Kirkhamgate across fields, woodland and former pit sites.

Route for the Wakefield Way.

Route for the Wakefield Way.

Wakefield and District Rambling Group has spent almost two years mapping out the route, which will present the character of the district and has been granted Ordnance Survey recognition.

Ramblers secretary Derek Lowery, 66, said: “It will help people to see what’s on their doorstep and encourage people to visit Wakefield. We hope people will come and realise the countryside they have in quite easy reach.

“The route will change perceptions and link up Wakefield’s country parks.

“We have places that used to be coal mines and it highlights how industry has gone away and nature has taken over.”

Ramblers Christine Stack and Derek Lowery.

Ramblers Christine Stack and Derek Lowery.

The Wakefield Way is split up into 11 separate walks that range from three and a half miles to more than 11 miles.

Each section of the route is accessible by public transport and the ramblers have designed leaflets that will be handed out across the district to encourage residents to take advantage.

Former miner Mr Lowery said: “There’s so much to see, but the jewel in the crown may be the section around South Hiendley and back to Anglers Country Park because what was an industrial, coal-dominated area has changed so much. You get excellent views and it’s lovely walking there. The section from Bretton Park is great as well, taking in the mining museum.

“It’s about time and the story of the district and the walks show the former pits and old railway lines from its industrial past.”

Frickley Country Park

Frickley Country Park

The ramblers worked alongside Wakefield Council and the Walking for Health scheme to design the route.

The Ordnance Survey will update their digital maps to include the route and include it in the next updated print version.

It is based on a previous blueprint by Wakefield rambler Douglas Cossar who produced a book in the early 2000s proposing a Wakefield Way.

The updated route consists solely of public footpaths rather than any private land, which means that access is much less likely to be revoked.

Pontefract Castle . Its the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta this year, the document which basically shaped Britain's constitution.  A number of towns played a key role in its launch including Pontefract which is holding a number of celebrations throughout the year.  16 January 2015.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

Pontefract Castle . Its the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta this year, the document which basically shaped Britain's constitution. A number of towns played a key role in its launch including Pontefract which is holding a number of celebrations throughout the year. 16 January 2015. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Mr Lowery, who lived in Crigglestone, said: “We’re trying to emphasise how the district has changed and the amenities that are there for people that don’t cost anything to enjoy. As well as the obvious benefits that walking brings.

“I’d like thank Virginia Moulton, Wakefield Council’s public right of way manager – she has given us lots of help and practically and morally with the route, advising with the best paths and diversions.”

The official opening of the path will be held on Good Friday, 1.30pm, at the beginning of the Anglers Park Section of the walk.