A historic packhorse trail has been resurrected.
The £50,000 ITV People’s Millions-funded Crossing the Pennines Heritage Trail was officially opened by the National Milestone Society in Slaithwaite and Marsden, after one year of hard work.
Some 200 spectators watched David Pearson, Deputy Lieutenant for West Yorkshire, cut the ribbon on the trail at Slaithwaite Old Bank Car Park which includes a 220m stretch used in the Middle Ages by workers, who transported heavy bags of goods on ponies from a family company in Jagger Green to the industrial hub of Rochdale.
Following the winning of the grant by public vote last October, The Milestone Society has been working with dozens of community and environmental groups to revive the trail, which goes from Netherwood Lane to Crow Trees Road (part of the Colne Valley Footpath 180) and had fallen into ‘terrible disrepair’ and make it part of a five to eight mile circular route.
Renovations took place on the walk way on the 180 footpath to make it more accessible and the placement of way stones and other stone art pieces along the route, created by local artists and members of the community.
Jan Scrine, organiser of the Milestone Society, said: “We are just thrilled to bits.
“It’s wonderful that our plan has come to fruitiion with the help of all our volunteers and other community groups such as the National Trust, that have helped ensure the route can be opened.
“We hope that this historically fascinating route will bring in people to visit the two villages, thereby making them more prosperous and also highlighting the great scenery of the area.”
Ponies and actors in period dress were present at Slaithwaite to help people understand what life was like for the goods travellers.
The celebration moved to Marsden later on in the day, where Friends of Marsden Park hosted a picnic soundtracked by Hope Bank Jazz Band and MCs Julian Jordan of the performance poetry group WriteOutLoud and Swift Nicks.
An afternoon tea was also held in the Band Room, hosted by Marsden Silver Band.
Booklets with details about the Heritage Trail can be found in libraries across Kirkleees.