Where Yorkshire meets Greater Manchester, Standedge is a rocky outcrop that I have wandered up to many times since I was a young boy. A perfect spot, whatever the weather to look out over Saddleworth, Oldham and beyond. Not a long walk at all to get up and away from it all.
Being from Oldham it was never far to get to the hills here plus, as you may remember I lived just below Standedge, in Diggle, Saddleworth itself for a while. I was up here daily with the hounds. Not to be confused with Stanage though in the Peak District. Today was a lovely day and I had my 2 youngest children with me. They asked me for an adventure so a wander up Standedge was in order.
It sits, as I say, between Yorkshire and Saddleworth and can be easily walked across to from the top of the A62 on the Pennines. At the top there is a car park right on the border by Redbrook Reservoir. From here cross the road and follow the path up and across. I would say it is literally a mile or less. Not bad for a family adventure with all ages plus being on the Pennine Way you can always extend the walk most certainly.
As you sit on the rocks looking out you get a magnificent view. The village of Diggle in front of you, leading out to the town of Oldham then onto the skyscrapers of Manchester in the distance.
Hills left and right frame the valley wonderfully. You can see another one of my favourite haunts over on the left too, Pots and Pans. My, I love coming back to this area! Reliving some of my youth, my old training areas and plenty where my dad took me in the great outdoors as a child myself.
Alas, I am much older now, and able to share this experience with my own children. I am happy they love an adventure. There is more than just views. It can be a perfect area to take first steps in bouldering. Or hide and seek around the edges as I got caught up in 🙂
Under your feet there is a lot of history as well. We shall come back to the tunnels shortly, but a crossing over the Pennines has known to have existed here since at least the time of the Romans, around AD 80. It was part of the Roman road route from Chester to York. Here on Standedge the village of Diggle is on the Greater Manchester side and Marsden is on the West Yorkshire side.
Then came a metalled road over to Huddersfield in the 18th Century that was further south than the current A62. The 19th Century brought a toll road across that in time has turned into what is now the cutting with the A62. Plus today, the major traffic crosses the Pennines further north on the M62 of course.
Deep underground, under your feet are the Standedge Tunnels. 4 parallel tunnels connecting from Diggle to Marsden. The earliest was the canal tunnel that was built under in 1811. It is Britain’s longest, deepest, highest canal tunnel, worthy of its own article here at some point.
The railways brought 3 more tunnels built from 1848 to 1894. The latter being the one still in use. If you ever take the train from Manchester/Ashton to Huddersfield/Leeds then the long tunnel in the middle is you going right under Standedge.
We started out for a walk and fresh air, and definitely ended up having loads of fun in the great outdoors. The girls had walked, climbed, ran, jumped, and at points scared me with their bravery. A grand family afternoon out.