Review – Pennine Bridleway from Vertebrate Publishing

Pennine Bridleway Route Guide


Hannah Collingridge has been riding bikes for over forty years and has a background in history, archaeology, landscape studies and language.

Vertebrate Publishing

I’ve been aware of their guidebooks for a long time. I’ve always liked looking at guidebooks, for inspiration and for an idea on whether something I’ve seen on a map is actually worth riding. Years ago a lot of books had hand drawn maps and almost no photos! Vertebrate were really noticeable in breaking that mold to give a feel for what the route might actually be like. All their mountain bike guidebooks can be found here.
“It’s our rule that the only books we publish are those we’d want to read ourselves…” is tucked away in the back of the book. As you’ll gather from the review I think this comes through.

Books, really?

Yep – I like books. I prefer a book to a guide online! Lots of people must be similar as there are 2 great quality MTB magazines that spring to mind that are as popular as ever.
I guess I like a book because I pre-date the internet – imagine that..! But I also like the fact that it lets me focus on one thing rather than going online and getting onto socia media etc and forgetting what I went online for!

Why not wing it?

Sometimes it’s great to just explore, but if I’m travelling to a new place some background is useful to make the most of the time.

The Route

The Pennine Bridleway runs more or less north-south. The guide book starts at the southern end in Derbyshire and has 4 long-ish stages through the Yorkshire Dales to Cumbria. Obviously there’s nothing stopping you splitting or combining the sections to suit your fitness. There are also 3 loops described which leave the main route for varying distances. One of those is the Mary Towneley Loop that some of you may have heard of. Another, Charlie’s Loop is linked to the charity Ride for Charlie which I’d encourage you to take a look at and support if it strikes a chord.

Photography & Mapping

Page from Pennine Bridleway Route Guide by Vertebrate PublishingAs it’s a decent distance you’d expect the terrain to vary and it does. The photos give a great sense of what to expect, as do the descriptions of the landscape which really inspire you to plan that trip.
It’s nice that the guide uses OS maps which some publishers avoid for cost saving. It makes it simpler if you’re used to OS paper maps. The guide includes a QR code to download the route as a GPS file.

Final Thoughts

I’m almost tempted just to leave you with the though that If a book is by this publisher then it’s going to be good. This has always been my experience! However some detail is probably needed, so some reasons in no particular order:

  • if you own a few guides by Vertebrate they’ll all have a similar layout, so you’ll find the info you need easily
  • the photography and text is top notch making it easy to get a feel for what to expect
  • the authors are always people with plenty of knowledge and experience
  • good value for what’s packed in
  • nice size to carry with you

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