Run to the Hills: A Go Cheapway… Special

Hillside views east of the M60 motorway, a bus, train or tram ride, or quick walk away

Buckton Castle, Carrbrook
I know I’ve used this picture of Buckton Castle (seen from Harridge Pike) before, but it’s a lovely view which I have photographed with my Holga toy camera. Oh, and it also best illustrates the content of this piece.

Oh, the weather we have enjoyed in the last month has been nothing short of incredible. A fantastic month for picnicking, hosting a barbecue, or admiring rural views. In other words, a great time to explore our rural surroundings, and take some time out from the office, school, house or shopping centre.

How else should one deign to ‘run to the hills’ in a carefree fashion? Either on public transport or, if its not too busy, by car. If part of your journey involves a double decker bus, you are in luck! Especially on the 184 service to Huddersfield, or on some occasions, the 350 to Mossley and Saddleworth (both available from Oldham).

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Our Hills

The area east of the M60 motorway is framed by the Pennine foothills. At our area’s most southerly point, Kinder Scout is a short walk from Hayfield. To the north of our area is (as seen on TV) Blackstone Edge. There is two bus routes in our area which connect with the Pennine Way. The Yorkshire Tiger 528 service from Rochdale to Halifax, and First Greater Manchester’s 184 service’s journeys to Huddersfield.

If you’re feeling energetic, you could walk along part of the path and still remain inside the Transport for Greater Manchester boundary. The walk along the Pennine Way, from The White House public house (Blackstone Edge) to the Great Western Hotel (Marsden) is 8.3 miles. It takes in the moorland scenery, crosses two ‘A’ roads (the A640 and the A62, both in Denshaw), and a footbridge over the M62 motorway. 2 hours and 45 minutes is recommended for the walk, but it may be a good idea to pause halfway for dinner.

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Rochdale

1. Blackstone Edge:

What? A gritstone encampment just off the A58 into Littleborough and Halifax, at 1,549 feet above sea level. Encampment short distance from the Blackstone Edge Long Causeway, reputed to be a Roman Road, though considered to be a 1735 turnpike or packhorse route.

Where? 2.6 miles north east of Littleborough.

Views: Manchester city centre, Winter Hill, Rochdale.

By Bus: Yorkshire Tiger’s 528 service from Rochdale, Ripponden, Sowerby Bridge and Halifax.

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2. Benny Hill:

What? A hill close to Syke Farm, off Syke Road, overlooking Hollingworth Lake.

Where? 1.2 miles east of The Wine Press public house facing Hollingworth Lake, via Syke Road.

Views: Littleborough, Hollingworth Lake, Rochdale, the M62 motorway.

By Bus: S&S Travel Services’ 455 service from Rochdale, Littleborough and Stansfield (evenings, Sundays and Bank Holidays). Also First Greater Manchester’s 456 service from Stubley, Littleborough, Wardle and Rochdale.

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References:

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Oldham

1. Tandle Hill:

What? Hill close to the border of the Rochdale and Oldham boundaries, one time favoured meeting place of the Chartist Movement. Trees planted atop hill to stop ‘subversive elements’ encroaching on the hill.

Where? 1.3 miles north west of Royton.

Views: Oldham town centre, Middleton, Manchester, the A627(M) motorway.

By Bus: First Greater Manchester’s 409 service for Oldham, Rochdale and Ashton-under-Lyne. Also the 24 service from Manchester (First Greater Manchester). Alight at Oozewood stop, before Rochdale Road/Tandle Hill Road.

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2. Oldham Edge:

What? Hill close to Oldham town centre, part of which historically used as a rifle range for the Oldham Rifle Brigade. Mainly used for recreational purposes like rugby and football.

Where? 0.6 miles north of Oldham town centre. Also walkable from there via Henshaw Street.

Views: Oldham town centre, Tandle Hill Country Park, Manchester, Chadderton.

By Bus: First Greater Manchester’s 410 and 411 Oldham Circular services (please note, no evening service). Plus the 58 from Rochdale, Shaw, Oldham, Chadderton and Middleton, also the 59 from Manchester, Heaton Park and Middleton, as well as up to Shaw.

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3. Pots and Pans:

What? Also known as Alderman’s Hill, Pots and Pans looks out to the Saddleworth villages, Oldham and Manchester. Greenfield’s war memorial marks the summit. Legend has it that there was two giants called Alderman and Alphin who threw boulders at each other, to win the affection of Rimmon, a water nymph. Following Alphin’s death, Rimmon took her life, throwing herself from the crags which overlook the Chew Valley.

Where? 1 mile north east of The Clarence Hotel public house.

Views: Oldham town centre, Greenfield, Uppermill, Dovestones Reservoir, Manchester.

By Bus: X80 (new limited stop service from 31 August 2014)/180 services from Greenfield, Lees, Oldham, Hollinwood and Manchester. 350 service from Ashton-under-Lyne, Mossley, Greenfield, Uppermill, Dobcross, Delph, Scouthead and Oldham. Also less frequent (every 2 hours) 354 service from Ashton-under-Lyne, Uppermill, Dobcross, Delph and Denshaw. All services operated by First Greater Manchester. Alight at The Clarence Hotel.

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4. Alphin Pike/Indian’s Head:

What? Alphin Pike, named after our victor of the mythical story stated above, is also known as Indian’s Head (the nickname acquired owing to the shape of this hill). It frames the lower part of Saddleworth and parts of Mossley hitherto in the West Riding of Yorkshire and Cheshire. It is possible to approach Alphin Pike from either Friezland or Carrbrook, though easier to walk towards Chew Reservoir along Chew Road.

Where? 3.1 miles east of The Clarence Hotel public house (via Chew Road up to Chew Reservoir). Or 1 mile east of Huddersfield Road via The Oldham Way and Tameside Trail long distance paths.

Views: Alderman’s Hill, Greenfield, Uppermill, Dovestones and Chew Reservoirs, Mossley, Stalybridge, Dukinfield.

By Bus: See details for Pots and Pans entry. If approaching via Huddersfield Road, the 350 and 354 will also suffice. Monday to Saturday daytime journeys of the 343 from Oldham, Stalybridge, Mossley, Dukinfield and Hyde (operated by Stott’s Tours and Stagecoach Manchester (former JPT journeys, Saturdays only)) also stop nearby. Alight at the stop nearest The George Hotel and follow The Oldham Way.

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References:

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Tameside

1.  Hough Hill:

What? Hough Hill is the highest point of Dukinfield, and it borders onto Stalybridge. Close by is Gorse Hall Park, which is of great interest to those fascinated by the stabbing of George Harry Storrs, or Beatrix Potter’s formative years.

Where? 0.8 miles south of Stalybridge town centre (Armentieres Square). Or 1 mile from Tennyson Avenue, Dukinfield via Gorse Hall Park and Range Road.

Views: Ashton-under-Lyne, Mossley, Stalybridge, Dukinfield, Manchester.

By Bus: anything via Stalybridge town centre, especially the 236, 237, 343, 348, 387, 389, 408 which all stop at Armentieres Square. If you wish to go via Dukinfield, the 41 to Tennyson Avenue (First Greater Manchester) stops near the entrance to Gorse Hall Park on Macauley Close.

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2. Wild Bank/Hobson Moor:

What? Wild Bank and Hobson Moor could easily be the rooftop of Stalybridge. It is part of a range of foothills that lead to Alphin Pike in the north, and Hobson Moor and Hollingworthall Moor to its east. Since 2004, the moorland has been declared access land. From Hollingworthall Moor, it is possible to do a circular walk via Walkerwood and Swineshaw Reservoirs.

Where? 0.4 miles north of Mottram Rise, near the Waggon and Horses public house, via Gallowsclough Road.

Views: Ashton-under-Lyne, Dukinfield, Manchester, Winter Hill, the Welsh Mountains, Fiddlers’ Ferry power station. Also Werneth Low, Harrop Edge and Hough Hill.

By Bus: 236/237 services (Stagecoach in Manchester) from Ashton-under-Lyne, Stalybridge town centre, Mottram-in-Longdendale, Hollingworth, Hadfield (237), Woolley Bridge (236) and Glossop. Also, First Greater Manchester’s 387 service from Hyde to Ashton-under-Lyne via Hattersley, Stalybridge and Ridge Hill estate (no Sunday, Bank Holiday and evening service).

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3. Harridge Pike:

What? In a nutshell, the continuation of Wild Bank towards Walkerwood and Swineshaw Reservoirs, albeit north of the Walkerwood reservoir via Kiln Green Road.

Where? 1 mile east of Millbrook Post Office via Besom Lane and Brushes Road.

Views: Ashton-under-Lyne, Dukinfield, Manchester, Mossley, Buckton Castle, Greenfield.

By Bus: the 343 (Stott’s Tours/First Greater Manchester/Stagecoach in Manchester) and the 348 (First Greater Manchester) stop at Millbrook Post Office and its immediate surroundings. Approach Harridge Pike via Besom Lane before the long closed Commercial public house.

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4. Hartshead Pike

What? The most famous viewpoint in the Tameside area, marked by a stone tower, rebuilt in 1863 to commemorate the marriage of HRH Albert Edward to Princess Alexandra. Tower reputed to be on the site of a Roman beacon.

Where? 0.7 mile north of Mossley Cross bus stop, on the corner of Mossley Road and Broadcarr Lane.

Views: Five different pre-1974 counties. Plus Ashton-under-Lyne, Audenshaw, Manchester, Old Trafford, Fiddlers’ Ferry Power Station and the Welsh Mountains.

By Bus: pretty straightforward: First Greater Manchester’s 350 service to Mossley [Hey Farm] and Oldham (via Uppermill).

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5. Werneth Low

What? Whereas Wild Bank dominates Stalybridge, Werneth Low looks out to Hyde and some parts of Dukinfield. It is also a physical boundary with Tameside and Stockport boroughs. The hill became part of a country park in 1980 and is dominated by its cenotaph and radio masts. Immediately south of the hill is the River Etherow in Compstall.

Where? 0.8 miles east of Gee Cross via Higham Lane. Avoid Joel Lane if you wish to avoid steep climbs!

Views: Winter Hill, Rivington Pike, Hartshead Pike, Manchester city centre, Oldham, most parts of Tameside, Jodrell Bank, Fiddlers’ Ferry Power Station and the Welsh Mountains.

By Bus: Stagecoach in Manchester’s 206 service from Manchester, Gorton, Denton and Hyde town centre (no Sunday, Bank Holiday and evening service). Alight at Stockport Road/Lilly Street stop.

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Any More Suggestions

As always, feel free to comment on the existing suggestions, or you could suggest a few others. One other thing before you venture outdoors, allow for a dinner break if necessary and, in the summer months, make sure you carry enough water for rehydration purposes.

Oh, and enjoy the views. Perhaps take a few good pictures.

S.V., 25 July 2014.

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4 thoughts on “Run to the Hills: A Go Cheapway… Special

Add yours

  1. I think Black Chew Head, which is Greater Manchester’s largest summit and county top, is worth a mention although it’s a struggle to access! Then again, after Chew Res there is a small path that leads to the trig point. From this trig point, how many counties and traditional counties are in view? Greater Manchester (Current), West Yorkshire (Holme, current), Derbyshire (Woodhead, current), Lancashire (Oldham, traditional), Cheshire (Stalybridge, Mossley/Micklehurst, traditional in fact I’m led to believe Cheshire came as far up as Woodhead?!) Not many places in the UK have this form of cross-county and historic cross-county boundaries!

    In fact, the whole summit lays in a bit of a ‘pegged back’ section of Greater Manchester, where the otherwise straight Derbyshire boundary kicks away to the right and allows for this summit to indeed lie in Greater Manchester before the boundary kicks back to the left again (and of course, ends towards the A635)

    Of course though, Black Chew Head offers little views as opposed to it’s neighbours, all you can see is bleak flat moorland (although I think Bleaklow and Kinder Scout summits can be seen to the South).

    Despite being a long walk to get to, of course, the various entries are vast, they include A635 to the North, sadly no longer a 429/180 though! Easiest way must be Dovestones to Chew reservoir, which is of course ‘sort of’ served by the 350/354 and 180 services. You’ll know more than me with Derbyshire bus routes, but I believe there are indeed no bus routes through Woodhead? As for Holme in West Yorkshire, there is probably a bus route up there for access to the summit via Holme Moss.

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  2. Hi Stuart: nice to see the 528 between Rochdale and Halifax gets a mention. Unfortunately, this service is proposed for closure under the West Yorkshire Bus Review (http://www.wymetro.com/consultation/busreview/calderdale/) which will leave Ripponden on the West Yorkshire side with no links to either Oldham or Rochdale and no link between Littleborough and Lydgate or Blackstone Edge. It will also mean that the quickest public transport route between Sowerby Bridge and Littleborough will end (curiously, the bus is quicker than the train in this case)

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    1. Hi BBrundell,

      The 528 is one of my favourite routes, not least for the Blackstone Edge section and it being the quickest way by bus to Halifax. For some, it is not only the quickest way to Halifax, but it is also the cheapest. If we need to make Manchester and Leeds ‘powerhouse’ cities, we also need to get cross-boundary bus routes sorted.

      Lydgate, within the TfGM boundaries will be bus-free as a consequence. Few people, even of average walking ability would contemplate walking from Littleborough to Ripponden! The Moorcock Inn could close and become a private house. Thanks to the Tories, the amount of cuts being made to our bus network is on a scale which dwarfs The Reshaping of British Railways. Already, Littleborough has seen cuts to its local services around Hollingworth Lake. The Peppermint Bridge end of Newhey has no daytime service, but journeys on Sundays and evenings.

      On that note, more people between Littleborough and Halifax will be stung by Northern Rail’s 1601 – 1830 curfew, and I doubt as if any bus passengers would spend 90 minutes on a journey from Rochdale to Halifax. If I’m travelling to Halifax by bus, it is the 528 any day for me thanks to the views – and the lack of an evening service between Diggle and Huddersfield on the 184 service.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      P.S. Littleborough to Ripponden is 2 hours and 35 minutes on foot, over 7.6 miles. Probably pleasant in summer but in winter, possibly horrendous.

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  3. In fact, walking on some of the local hills and indeed generally around the local area, it makes it seem sad that counties of old are no longer with us. Once upon a time, you could scale the heights of Black Hill whilst oddly enough compared to today’s maps, be in Cheshire!

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