Hartshead Pike – The Edge of the Pennines

On the side of the Pennines, just a few miles from my hometown of Lees, Oldham, above Ashton-Under-Lyne and Mossley, sits Hartshead Pike. Not a huge hill at all, nothing spectacular from some angles….. BUT, when you stand at the top at the right time its splendour becomes apparent.

Hartshead Pike panorama

For looking out to the West you realise this is the last hill before the City of Manchester and the flat miles of Cheshire. You can look out this way and to your right lies my hometown of Oldham on its own small hill, the Lancashire hills of Bolton, Bury behind it.

The skyscrapers of Manchester rising out of the middle ground before you. And, if it is pointing up to space you can see Jodrell Bank working away miles ahead on a clear day. And even the mountains of Snowdonia.

approaching Hartshead Pike

If you look behind you a portion of the great Pennine hills lay out and over towards Derbyshire. If you have ever driven through the area you will have seen the tower upon the top. In fact you can drive up the lanes to the top itself and you can get these views with just a few hundred metres if you wish.

Social Wellness Walks

You can drive up or you can walk up from all sides. From Mossley, Ashton side or from Lees, Oldham.

What Is The Stone Tower

Briefly, history tells us that a stone stone pillar was there from a time as far back as King Canute when he passed through. It is also said that a beacon there during the Roman Occupation.

Due to its prominent position overlooking, and visible from, so much area you can see why it was a location for a beacon of some sort throughout history.

In 1751 a tower was built in one form and after that was struck by lightning the tower as seen today was built in 1863, to commemorate the wedding of the Prince of Wales Albert Edward to Princess Alexandra of Denmark.

Further on in history, early 20th century it was even used as a refreshment shop!

Hartshead Pike stone tower on the hilltop
monument above Mossley and ashton under lyne

However many, as I have, come to this place to wind down, watch the sun fall over Manchester and Cheshire to the West and take in nature and cityscapes all in one. Having lived my childhood here in the area I often find myself taking a wander up there when I am visiting family nearby.


As I said earlier, this is a great position to be at sunset. The buildings of Manchester can be seen in a westward position and a great setting to have the sun go down behind.

sunset over manchester

Or over to the right, the place I was born and bred. Good old Oldham.

Oldham sunset from Hartshead Pike

Whatever your reason, if you are ever in the Oldham or Ashton area, take a look up at the hills and the first hill you see could be Hartshead Pike with the rocket shaped tower on top. Know that there is somebody looking down over you, enjoying the view!

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  1. In case anyone is interested, there is a little poem inscribed at the very top of the pike, it reads

    Look well at me before you go and see you nothing at me throw

  2. David Rhodes says:

    The connection with yourself and Hartshead Pike is far greater than you realise as it is documented that a Roman watchtower sat on the site of the Pike overlooking Manchester. Full circle!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      I heard that.. interesting indeed David 🙂 thx

  3. I did not have enough time to explore lands near Manchester last summer but for sure next time I will.
    Year after year, my love for Great Britain and British Isle grows.
    Many people in England told me “you’re so luck, you are living in Italy”
    In my personal opinion you all are lucky to live in a such beautiful country.

  4. Rachel Cohen says:

    I love these images Paul!! Fantastic post my friend!! 🙂

  5. Steven Maxson says:

    My childhood home was in sight of the Pike. Every Boxing Day, and at other times, too, we used to walk up there and take in the views.

    Both my patents’ ashes are scatter there.


  6. Ivor West says:

    I have memories looking at the pike from our Kitchen window on Fitton Hill and walking up to the Pike with my parents. Fond Memories.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      super memories.. thanks

  7. Great pictures!! My great grandmother as a child grew up on a farm at the bottom of Hartshead Pike. I have fond memories as a child flying my kite up there and remember the old pub next to a pig stye with very low ceilings and one would have to duck to enter.

  8. great photographs!! i'm setting off tomorrow to walk to the pike,just 16.7 miles from bolton,peel tower is worth a visit as is darwin tower,i love spotting landmarks and walking to them,again spectacular images.

  9. Found this via Twitter – this makes me feel so at home – I grew up in Mossley, with the Pike always in view. It's something I miss a lot now I live miles away. Thanks for bringing it to life and I love the panoramic view 🙂

  10. Hey!!!
    Less of that "early in the 20th century" stuff about the sweet shop in Hartshead Pike!! I have bought sweets there, and I am still active in Oldham Mountain Rescue Team, not fossilised (yet)!!! It must have closed about 1952 – and technically that's LATER 20th century…
    Enjoyed the post and the pictures.


  11. Michael Ann says:

    Beautiful!! Love your photos.
    Michael Ann
    Thinking in My Head
    The Big Green Bowl

  12. Cary Scott says:

    Hey Paul,

    Found your site through twitter. Being a wannabe travel photographer, I enjoyed reading about your travels and viewing you great photography. Looking forward to your future posts, as I'll have to settle living vicariously through other travel photographers until I'm able to make more of my hobby.

    Cary Scott
    Washington, DC

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