Uppermill, GT Manchester Sunday 21st January 2018

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader : No one at present

O/S map(s) will be provided and also walk notes from previous visits.

Leisurely Leader : Dave Hatchard     Distance : 6.00 miles

After first making our way to the Visitor Centre we will then leave Uppermill and travel north on the old railway to Diggle, We continue on tracks and footpaths to Dean Head climbing gently all the way apart from a short steep climb on final stage. We turn west then south along Harrop Edge with views on both sides from hill top ridge before steeply coming back down to the start of walk.

Easy Leader : Jackie Gudgeon     Distance 5.00 miles

A short climb out of town brings us onto a disused railway line (Tame Valley Way) which we follow north to Ryefields where we join the Pennine Bridleway (lane) to Diggle. At Diggle we will join the Huddersfield Narrow Canal southwards until we reach Grandpa Greene’s Luxury Ice Cream Parlour where we will stop for tea or coffee, or ice cream! If it is open. We then continue to follow the canal for a nice easy stroll back into Uppermill. Some uphill on the stretch from Uppermill to Diggle but very easy walking on the way back.

Notes On The Area

Uppermill is one of the largest of the Saddleworth villages. It lies in the valley bottom and is an unspoilt settlement which dates from the 18th century. It is dominated by an impressive railway viaduct, beneath which runs the Huddersfield Narrow Canal which links the Ashton Canal with Sir John Ramsden’s Canal in Huddersfield. Construction of the canal took place between 1794 and 1811. The full length of the canal is 21 miles, passing through a short tunnel at Scout (near Mossley) then via 32 locks up to Diggle where it enters the summit tunnel at Standedge. This tunnel measures 3 miles 418 yards, and is followed by a descent of 493 feet at Marsden through 42 locks to Huddersfield.

From the late 18th century onwards, woollen mills were being constructed in the small tributary valleys to the east of Uppermill as well as along the River Tame itself. Also a number of cotton mills were also established. The southern half of the village was largely owned by the Shaw family who lived at St Chad’s, close to what is now the village playing field. The car park at Uppermill is on the site of the Victoria Mill, constructed in the 1860’s and closing in the 1930’s after a life when it was mainly a cotton spinning mill. The Saddleworth Museum, founded by Lord Rhodes, is housed in what was once the mill’s gas house. Running alongside the museum is an attractively restored section of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, with boat trips on offer. There are numerous craft and gift shops in Uppermill, along with tea rooms and pubs. The village is particularly busy at the weekends.

Uppermill hosts several festivities each year, the highlight of which is the Saddleworth Folk Festival. The Brass Band Contest and the Beer Walk take place at the end of May. More cultural in its origins is the Rush Cart Festival at the end of August, when teams of Morris Men arrive from all over the country to compete in pulling a rush cart with a jockey sitting on top. The route takes them through the local villages where the dancers stop to show their dancing skills.

Saddleworth Church is situated about a mile to the east of Uppermill. The present church, dedicated to St Chad, is a largely Victorian building, although there is evidence to suggest that a place of worship existed on this site as far back as the 12th century.

The Uppermill folk must be a hardy lot to attend the annual Remembrance Day Service at the Pots & Pans War Memorial – there are several paths to the top but no vehicle access