Above is a hand drawn map of the Mary Towneley Loop. The original was drawn by John Taylor, a local historian and given to Princess Anne when she came up to ride with us in 2000.
Lady Towneley set off to ride the length of the Pennines on horseback with three friends in 1986. Two years of planning had enabled her to trace many of the old bridleways and packhorse trails that are such a feature of this historic landscape. It was Mary's vison that a permanant bridleway should be opened up running the length of the Pennines. She set about vigorously persuading land owners to allow riders onto their land in pursuit of her dream. Sadly she died in February 2001, before her vision could be fully realised. Since then the first stage of the Pennine Bridleway was opened in 2002 and appropriately named The Mary Towneley Loop. The southern section from Calderbrook on the Loop to Carsington in Derbyshire was opened in 2005. The Northern section is due to be opened in about a year's time. Three feeder routes to the Pennine Bridleway are either open or due to open shortly.
The 2nd edition of the Mary Towneley Loop Guide is now available. Further details are on the "Resources" page.
The inscription on Mary's Memorial stone reads:
The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears.
Lady Towneley MBE
Pause awhile beside this monument and remember Mary whose vision opened up once more these ancient routes so that you too can refresh your spirit as the wild and romantic terrain of the Pennine Bridleway unfolds before you.