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The Pennine Bridleway is the country's first National Trail for horse riders, mountain bikers, and walkers, and it passes through the rugged Pennine hills near Littleborough. It will eventually run from Middleton Top in Derbyshire to Ravenstonedale in Cumbria - a distance of around 200 miles/300km. Passing through the Peak District, the South Pennines and into North Yorkshire and Cumbria it will be a landmark national long distance route for walkers, horse riders and cyclists from all over the region and beyond.
Well maintained and well signposted tracks, many on old packhorse routes from the days before railways and tarred roads, give a great traffic-free route through this rugged part of Rochdale borough. There are link routes which can be joined together to make circular rides for a day or half a day, or you can follow the Mary Towneley Loop, a 47 mile circular section of the Bridleway, for a three day adventure.
The Loop can be joined at Watergrove Reservoir above Wardle, near Littleborough. As with all reservoirs in Rochdale, Watergrove was built high in the hills and gives spectacular views across the whole area, from the Yorkshire border to the centre of Manchester and the Cheshire Plain.