Go Cheapway… along the Etherow Valley

Marple, Glossop and Hyde: by bus and train

Only a short distance away from Hyde is the River Etherow. It forms the south-eastern boundary of Tameside, which is shares with Derbyshire County Council and High Peak Borough Council. On one side is Broadbottom, with Charlesworth on the other.

Its source is up in the Dark Peak moorland, and it passes the Longdendale Reservoirs before flowing into the River Goyt. Feeding in to the Etherow is Glossop Brook. Within this pocket is two small towns, and a medium sized town a short distance from its sister river, the River Tame. There is two country parks, excellent hillside and valley views, and a wealth of fine local shops.

Whether it’s antiques and collectable items at the Glossop Emporium, or a bacon butty at Portobellos you’re after, there is something for everyone. All of which a frequent bus or train ride away. Plus, it is possible to call at all three towns and make a full day of your trip.

Suggested Routes:

i. More Trains

  • From Hyde bus station, 201 or 387 bus to Godley railway station. Or, 343 bus to Flowery Field station, or 346 bus to Newton (for Hyde) station;
  • Train to Glossop railway station;
  • 394 bus to Marple (Navigation Hotel);
  • Walk to Rose Hill Marple railway station;
  • Train to Hyde Central railway station.

ii. Bus only

  • From Hyde bus station, 341 bus to Glossop (202 on Sundays, evenings and Bank Holidays);
  • 394 bus to Marple (Navigation Hotel);
  • 383 to Bredbury (Stockport Road West/Morrisons);
  • 330 to Hyde bus station.

iii. Best of both worlds

  • From Hyde bus station, 341 bus to Glossop (202 on Sundays, evenings and Bank Holidays);
  • 394 bus to Marple (Navigation Hotel);
  • Short walk downhill to Rose Hill Marple;
  • Train to Hyde Central railway station.

Please note, the above routes can also be taken anticlockwise if desired. However, for the purpose of this article, the third route is covered.

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Part One: Hyde to Glossop

341 (or 202): Hyde – Hattersley – Simmondley – Glossop (Stott’s Tours/Stagecoach in Manchester)

We start our journey on the 341 service which takes a meandering route to Glossop. In spite of this, you are treated to views of Werneth Low, Broadbottom, and the Pennine foothills towards Longdendale. It offers an alternative way to Hyde from Hattersley and an important route for the people of Broadbottom, Gamesley and Simmondley.

Glossop, especially on Fridays and Saturdays is a bustling town with a wide range of unique shops and cafés. Shoppers pining for chain stores are equally catered for.

Don’t Miss: The Glossop Emporium, 37 High Street West, Glossop

A real hidden gem. The Glossop Emporium is just off High Street West and accessed via a ginnel. Housed in a basement, it offers a wide range of antiques and collectable items at sensible prices. From bottles to Brownie box cameras, Aladdin’s Cave is a suitable epithet rather than a cliché. Once found, never forgotten.

Also worth a peek:

  • Bay Tree Books: excellent range of contemporary and classical books – a proper bookshop by people passionate about literature;
  • Glossop Market: whatever you do, don’t miss the café in the indoor market. Be early though as the seats are usually taken before 12 midday;
  • Green’s Butchers: close to the ever-popular J.W. Mettrick and Sons, their pork sausages are out of this world;
  • Hadfield Bakery: great pies, and the best pasties outside of the West Country. I have the figure to prove that.


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Part Two: Glossop to Marple

394: Glossop – Gamesley – Charlesworth – Marple – Hazel Grove (High Peak)

Our second bus route goes over familiar territory as far as Charlesworth, but the real delight of this journey is south of the village up to Marple Bridge via Chisworth. The views of the Etherow valley are superb, looking out to Compstall and the back of Werneth Low. There is only one downside though: single decker buses rather than double decker buses (once the norm with GM Buses and Greater Manchester Transport way before now).

We alight at the main stop outside M&Co in Marple, opposite the main shopping centre. Somehow, this travelling about has made us feel peckish. In that case…

Don’t Miss: Portobello Café, 35 Market Street, Marple

The Portobello Café has an easy-going and welcoming atmosphere, and this is matched by the quality of its food and drink. Service is superb and friendly with all meals freshly prepared. If you like your coffees ground, your tea in ginormous cups and your bacon butties, miss this place at your peril. Their breakfast rolls are stupendous.

Also worth a peek:

  • Archer’s Bakers and Confectioners: their pork pies are well worth trying. Ditto final sentence on Hadfield Bakery;
  • Hollins of Marple: a real old-fashioned hardware shop. The sort of place where your father would have bought his Airfix kit from, as well as paraffin and light bulbs;
  • The Regent cinema: for many, one of the few places which offers a traditional cinema-going experience. Including intervals;
  • The 16 Locks and its aqueduct: no trip to Marple is complete without a look at any of its sixteen locks and the aqueduct on the Peak Forest Canal.

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Part Three: Marple to Hyde

Train: Rose Hill Marple – Manchester Piccadilly (Northern Rail)

Before Easter 2009, this leg would have been navigable on the 389 service. Instead, it is either the less frequent 304 service which only operates on certain days, or Northern Rail’s service to Hyde Central. In spite of the modest walk downhill, we choose the latter from Rose Hill Marple railway station, which before 1970 was part of a line to Macclesfield via Bollington and Poynton.

Our train runs parallel with the Peak Forest Canal for most of our journey, and this is evident as we see the Marple Aqueduct from our viaduct (both straddling the River Goyt). The next station, Romiley, formed part of an elaborate junction, with a third line linking it with the Cheshire Lines Committee route via Tiviot Dale. By Woodley, we see another junction of the same line, which is now, basically a long siding for the ‘Binliners’ operated on behalf of Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority.

The short journey to Hyde sees us pass the former junction of the Apethorn Curve, closed in 1982 after the closure of the Woodhead line. This chord linked Woodley with Godley Junction. We alight our train at Hyde Central, perhaps torn between entering the centre or The Cheshire Ring for a quick pint. Instead, we be sensible and choose the former.

Don’t Miss: Tea at No.77, 77 Market Street, Hyde

A popular café (again, be quick if you wish to get a seat) with freshly ground coffee and main meals at good prices – always freshly cooked with specials available. Their omelettes are well worth trying.

Also worth a peek:

  • Hyde Indoor Market: good variety of stalls including café;
  • Oven King Hot Food Kitchen: probably the best hot pie and barbecue chicken in Hyde, ever;
  • Harrison’s Newsagents: well placed for the bus station. Has small collection of transport books and local interest titles as well as all the usual newsagent-type thingies;
  • Zeenath Electronics: prepare to be dazzled: if you’re looking for an audio tape, internal TV aerial or a phone for your home, this is the Aladdin’s Cave of Aladdin’s Caves.

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Getting There

From most parts of Greater Manchester, getting to Hyde for this little jaunt around the Etherow valley is quite easy, hence:

From Manchester, you have the half hourly train service from Rose Hill Marple, plus the regular 201 and 206 bus services. Other trains are available from Newton (for Hyde) or Godley railway stations, a short bus ride or walk away.

From Ashton-under-Lyne, not only the 330, but also the 346, 387 and 389 services. The 330 is the most direct service, whereas the 387 and 389 take circuitous routes. The 346 is a good alternative to the 330.

Stockport is a modest 330 ride away although you could join the trail from Marple, by catching the 358 or 383 services.

From Oldham, you could choose the long yet scenic 343 service via Mossley. Or you could change at Ashton-under-Lyne (via the 409 route) for your 330 to Hyde.

From Rochdale, 409 bus to Ashton then 330 to Hyde. Or, tram to Market Street, walk to Piccadilly Gardens for Piccadilly tram, then train to either Marple or Rose Hill Marple stations from Manchester Piccadilly.

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Before I go…

As always, this jolly is open to other suggestions, such as suitable cafés and other diversions. Feel free to comment on the ideas stated here or add your own alternatives. Why not declare your love for the breakfast barm at Portobello Café or introduce your friends to the Glossop Emporium. All of which a concessionary pass, season ticket or Bus and Train DaySaver away.

S.V., 14 January 2015.

3 thoughts on “Go Cheapway… along the Etherow Valley

  1. Not been in tea at 77 for years as it isn’t wheelchair accessible-for tea and cakes Lady lavender by the entrance to the mall is recommended or for a good trad breakfast the café opposite the Queens.


    1. Hi Gerald,

      I was trying to think about the new place by The Mall entrance and the name had escaped me. Excellent shout, a joyous place it is too. I have also done the café opposite The Queens too, and the breakfast is very good.

      Bye for now,



      1. The 394 in march is being ext from stepping hill to stockport hospital so will be a nice jaunt out
        bye for now



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