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Crossing point

tooltipDiscovering Britain walk

Discover routeways over and under the Pennines

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The Pennines form a natural barrier between Northwest and Northeast England but people have always needed to cross from one side to the other – from ancient times to the present day.

This walk explores some of the routeways over and under the South Pennines in Saddleworth between Oldham and Huddersfield.

There were many engineering challenges to constructing routes across this difficult landscape of steep valleys and high moors.

Walk in the footsteps of Roman soldiers, medieval monks and loaded pack horses. Trace the development of the road network from turnpike roads to a modern motorway. Discover how transportation became quicker and more efficient through the centuries. Find out how record-breaking canal and railway tunnels were constructed through the hills. See how leisure routeways contrast to industrial routeways.

The landscape is full of evidence of routeways – fords and bridges, tunnels and cuttings, tracks and towpaths, locks and viaducts, coaching inns and toll houses.

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Peel back the layers and discover two thousand years of history.

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Walk Info

Distance:

6 miles

Level:
The ascent from Delph to Standedge Cutting and the descent back down to Diggle is steady but long

tooltipThe ascent from Delph to Standedge Cutting and the descent back down to Diggle is steady but long

Suitable for:
A fantastic walk for dogs but keep them on a lead across farmland where there are grazing sheep (especially between stops 3 and 5 and 12 to 14)

tooltipA fantastic walk for dogs but keep them on a lead across farmland where there are grazing sheep (especially between stops 3 and 5 and 12 to 14)

Suitable for children with some walking experience; plenty of things to interest them along the route

tooltipSuitable for children with some walking experience; plenty of things to interest them along the route

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Region:
North West England
Setting:
Countryside
Landscape:
Historic landscapes Built landscapes
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Start:
King Street, Delph
Finish:
Brownhill Countryside Centre, Dobcross
Getting there:

tooltipEasily accessible from M62 at J20 (Oldham) or J22 (Ripponden/Saddleworth); free street parking in Delph or in Millgate car park

tooltipNearest station Greenfield (3 miles); served by local trains running between Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield (one per hour in the daytime)

tooltipBoth the start and finish of the route are served by local buses from Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester and Huddersfield

tooltipPart of the route follows the Pennine Bridleway National Trail which is suitable for mountain bikes

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Saddleworth

Standedge Cutting
© Jenny Lunn

Saddleworth

Standedge railway tunnel
© Jenny Lunn

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Route map

Select pins on the map to find out more about each point of interest on the walk

Walk kit

Choose between an audio or written guide: download and enjoy!

Downloads

Written guide
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double-click the icon to download this PDF file. You can save it to your computer or open it now. The file is designed as a booklet. To print it choose ‘Booklet Printing’ from your printer options.

Audio guide
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double-click the icon to download this ZIP file of the audio commentary (mp3 files) and accompanying booklet (PDF) which contains maps and directions. You can save the audio files to your computer then add them to your mp3 device. This will vary for each device but you can use any supplied software (such as iTunes, Windows Media Player) or drag and drop the files. The PDF is designed as a booklet. To print it choose ‘Booklet Printing’ from your printer options.

Extras
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double click to download this GPX file and load it on to your GPS device.

Photo Gallery

Find out what you might see on the walk - click on an image to view full size

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Comments

Find out what other people said about this walk

This is a really enjoyable walk - great views, meadows, tracks and fields, walks by water - what more could you want? I checked it out today on behalf of the Wakefield Women’s Walking Network and we will be doing the walk in August. Fine weather today, so we walked the muddy sections, but we will appreciate the alternative routes if it's wet!

Pamela Yates, Wakefield Walking Women's Network

I congratulate you on your excellent walk, with a great deal of detailed information on the ancient and industrial archaeology of the area and many other interesting details of Saddleworth.

David Chadderton, Saddleworth

Being novice walkers, we thought we would start with the 'Crossing Point' walk around Saddleworth in the South Pennines near where we live. We found the guide which we downloaded and found it very easy to follow. We enjoyed reading and discovering the history of the landscape on the walking route in addition to good map directions. We had a lovely day, really enjoyed the walk. We now plan to do another one soon. Thank you to the RGS.

Barbara and Sean Kelly, Springhead, Oldham

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Links

Find out more about the walk story and places of interest along the route

External links open in a new window


Visit Oldham

Plenty of information for planning a visit to the area

http://www.visitoldham.com/

Saddleworth Museum

Independent museum telling the story of the people who have created Saddleworth’s landscape and character

http://www.saddleworthmuseum.co.uk/

Marsden History Group

Local society interested in Marsden village on the Yorkshire side of the Pennines

http://www.marsdenhistory.co.uk/index.php/transport/

The Friends of Castleshaw Roman Forts

Find out more about the Roman Forts as well as digs in the past and planned for the future

http://www.castleshawarchaeology.co.uk/

Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Canal and River Trust webpage on the canal

http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/canals-and-rivers/huddersfield-narrow-canal/

Huddersfield Narrow Canal: a towpath guide

by Bob Gough

2008, Huddersfield Canal Society

Saddleworth Canal Cruises

Narrowboat trips along the canal from Uppermill

http://www.saddleworth-canal-cruises.co.uk/

Reflections of the Past

Dramatised audio trail set at five locations along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Diggle – suitable for children

http://www.hcsaudiotrail.co.uk/

Reservoir Trails

A series of eight downloadable walking trails exploring the reservoirs in the Rochdale and Oldham area

http://www.watershedlandscape.co.uk/heritage-landscape/projects/reservoir-trails/

Grandpa Greene’s Ice Cream Cabin

Luxury ice cream outlet on the canal towpath in Diggle

http://www.grandpagreenes.co.uk/icecreamcabin/

Getting there by train

TransPennine Express

http://tickets.tpexpress.co.uk/

The Limekiln Café

Café at the Brownhill Countryside Centre beside the canal and viaduct

http://www.thelimekilncafe.com/

Transport for Greater Manchester

Plan journeys by public transport in the Greater Manchester area

http://www.gmpte.com/

Saddleworth Historical Society

Active local organisation researching and promoting the area’s history

http://www.saddleworth-historical-society.org.uk/

Passage through time: Saddleworth roads and trackways: a history

by Bernard Barnes

1981, Saddleworth Historical Society

Pennine Waterways

An independent website about the canals of the area

http://www.penninewaterways.co.uk/

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal: two hundred years in the life of a Pennine waterway

by Keith Gibson and David Finnis

2010, Landmark Countryside Collection

Huddersfield Canal Society

Organisation protecting and promoting the canals

http://www.huddersfieldcanal.com/

Standedge Tunnel and Visitor Centre

Visitor centre and boat rides at the Yorkshire end of the Standedge Tunnel

http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/standedge-tunnel/

Noteworthy LMS tunnels: four bores through Standedge

Article from LMS Railway Magazine published: March 1925

http://www.forgottenrelics.co.uk/tunnels/standedge.html

The Diggle Hotel

Traditional country pub situated next to the canal and railway tunnel entrances

http://www.digglehotel.com/

Woolyknit Café

Café just off the canal towpath at Diggle serving fresh home baked cakes and local produce

http://www.woolyknit.com/

Visit Lancashire

For information on visiting Lancashire

http://www.visitlancashire.com

Credits

The RGS-IBG would like to thank the following people and organisations for their assistance in producing this Discovering Britain walk

 

Jenny Lunn for creating the walk, taking photographs and providing the audio commentary

 

Howard and Elaine Lunn for assistance with researching the walk route and commentary, as well as providing additional photographs

 

Mike Buckley of Saddleworth Historical Society for helpful corrections to the text

 

Peter Fox, curator of Saddleworth Museum for kind permission to use images from the museum’s archive and his own collection

 

Jonathan Webb of Webb Aviation (www.webbaviation.co.uk) for kind permission to reproduce his aerial image of Castleshaw Roman Fort

  

Ben Brooksbank, David Dixon, Hellerick, Humphrey Bolton, John Illingworth, Michael Fox, philld, Steve Partridge for additional images reproduced under the Creative Commons Licence

 

Caroline Millar for editing the audio files

 

 

An attractive full-colour version of the walk booklet is available to purchase from the following local outlets

 

Tourist Information Centre, Saddleworth Museum, Uppermill 

 

Delph Post Office, 20 King Street, Delph

 

Saddleworth Craft Cooperative Ltd, 12 King Street, Delph

 

Woolyknit Cafe and ShopWarth Mill, off Huddersfield Road, Diggle

 

Grandpa Greene's Ice Cream Cabin, canal towpath, off Ward Lane, Diggle

 

The Limekin Cafe, Brownhill, Dobcross

 

Gallery Oldham shop, Oldham Cultural Quarter, Greaves Street, Oldham

thank you
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