Run to the Hills 2021: A Go Cheapway Update

Hillside views a bus, train or tram ride, or quick walk away

Since our original 2014 article, we have decided to create an updated version. In the last seven years, bus routes and operators have come and gone, and your author’s knowledge of the hills has improved since then.

Was it really seven years since we first wrote this piece? Back then, we had some great weather. Seven years on, the last month has seen some fantastic weather for picnicking or admiring rural views. Since the first COVID-19 lockdown, many people have taken to the hills instead of the shopping centres.

As some degree of normality is returning, there may be fewer people on our hills. The Government would like you to stay as local as possible, whether you shop for pleasure or take a day trip. Either on public transport or, if it’s not too busy, by car. If part of your journey involves a double decker bus, you are in luck! Especially on the 84 or 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 First West Yorkshire 587 service from Rochdale to Halifax (Yorkshire Tiger on Sundays and Bank Holidays), and First Greater Manchester’s 84 and 184 routes’ 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.

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: 587 service from Rochdale, Ripponden, Sowerby Bridge and Halifax (operated by First Greater Manchester on weekdays and Saturdays; Yorkshire Tiger on Sundays and Bank Holidays).

2. Benny Hill:

What? A hill close to Syke Farm, off Syke Road, overlooking Hollingworth Lake (Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SD 94872 14696).

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: Transdev Burnley Bus Company/Rosso 458 Lakeline service from Rochdale, Littleborough and Stansfield.

3. Dick Hill:

What? A hill just off Tunshill Lane and the Rochdale Way long distance path, overlooking Ogden Reservoir (Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SD 94967 13311).

Where? 1.4 miles north by northeast of Peppermint Bridge bus terminus, Newhey.

Views: Littleborough, Hollingworth Lake, Rochdale, the M62 motorway, Piethorne Valley reservoirs.

By Bus: Transdev Burnley Bus Company/Rosso R5 Rochdale Runners service from Rochdale, Milnrow and Newhey.

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.

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: TfGM tendered route 402 skirts the edges of Oldham Edge along Higginshaw Road from Derker, Oldham, Chadderton Park and Royton (Monday to Saturday daytime journeys operated by Stott’s Tours; Sunday and Bank Holiday daytime journeys by Nexus Move). Plus the 59 from Manchester, Heaton Park, Middleton, and Oldham as well as up to Shaw.

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: Limited frequency 180 service from Greenfield, Lees and Oldham. Also 350 service from Ashton-under-Lyne, Mossley, Greenfield, Uppermill, Dobcross, Delph, Scouthead and Oldham (both routes operated by First Greater Manchester; 350 operated by Stagecoach Greater Manchester after 7pm).

Once hourly on weekdays and Saturdays (and every two hours on Sundays and Bank Holidays) is Nexus Move’s 356 service from Ashton-under-Lyne to Oldham via Uppermill, Dobcross, Delph, Denshaw, and Watersheddings. Please alight at TESCO or Wellington Road stops then reach Pots and Pans on foot via Chew Valley Road.

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 343 and 350 will also suffice. Please note that the 343 from Oldham, Stalybridge, Mossley, Dukinfield and Hyde (operated by Stott’s Tours on weekdays and Saturdays; Stagecoach Greater Manchester on Sundays and Bank Holidays) has no evening service and is every two hours on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Alight at the stop nearest The George Hotel and follow The Oldham Way.

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 237, 343, 348, 387 and 389 which all stop at Armentieres Square. If you wish to go from the bottom end of Dukinfield, take a 335 or 346 then change at Morrisons or Albion Hotel stop for a 343. On your 343, alight at the stop before The Wharf Tavern and Albert Square. The 389 (Stagecoach Greater Manchester) also stops near the entrance to Gorse Hall Park on Macauley Close.

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: 237 (Stagecoach Greater Manchester) from Ashton-under-Lyne, Stalybridge town centre, Mottram-in-Longdendale, Hollingworth, Tintwistle, Hadfield and Glossop. Also, Stott’s Tours’ and Stagecoach Greater Manchester’s (Sundays and Bank Holidays only) 387 service from Hyde to Ashton-under-Lyne via Hattersley, Stalybridge and Ridge Hill estate.

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/Stagecoach Greater Manchester) and the 348 (First Greater Manchester) routes stop at Millbrook Post Office and its immediate surroundings. Approach Harridge Pike via Besom Lane before the long closed Commercial public house. Better still, all 343s go via Brushes Road to the estate which enables you to reach Harridge Pike via Walkerwood, Brushes and Swineshaw Reservoirs.

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).

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: Frequent 202 buses from Manchester, Gorton, Denton and Hyde town centre. Alight at Stockport Road/Lilly Street stop. The 342 (Hyde – Backbower Circular) is a worthy alternative, more so with the addition of Sunday and Bank Holiday buses every two hours. Both routes are operated by Stagecoach Greater Manchester.

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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. Though COVID-19 infection rates are falling, don’t forget to apply social distancing measures between yourself and other walkers.

Oh, and enjoy the views. Perhaps take a few good pictures and share them on your favourite social media pages.

S.V., 22 April 2021.

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