WALK: Enjoy this nine mile Yorkshire leg-stretcher

PUBLISHED: 12:24 04 September 2020 | UPDATED: 19:51 04 September 2020

One of the many ancient routes across the moors. Photo by Paul Besley

One of the many ancient routes across the moors. Photo by Paul Besley

Paul Besley

Time to hit the moors for this glorious Yorkshire walk

Paul's dog Scout caving in Pule HillPaul's dog Scout caving in Pule Hill

This walk speaks of the South Pennines the most and demonstrates how a living landscape that is constantly developing is a beautiful place. The walk starts via the canal towpath to Tunnel End, the end of the Standedge Tunnels. Heading west through tiny hillside hamlets full of weavers’ cottages out on to the moors above Marsden. This is good walking along easy footpaths and trails to the edge of Northern Rotcher, the name indicating the local influence of the Normans almost 1,000 years ago.

The views are magnificent, stretching into the Peak District and Snowdonia National Park. In the valley below are the remains of the Roman fort at Castleshaw. Moving on, the Pennine Way guides us by the Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar and the Dinner Stone – one of the strange rock formations from the gritstone cap that tops these hills.

From there a descent along the old packhorse road that ran between Yorkshire and Lancashire goes across the 18th century Thieves Clough Bridge and the only steep ascent of the day on to Pule Hill. Descending from this high point into the quarry below, the work of poet laureate Simon Armitage can be found, his words carved into the black encrusted Pennine gritstone. Leaving this place of contemplation, the route heads for home, stopping at a military memorial that stands guard above Marsden to admire the living landscape that is the South Pennines.

1 From Marsden Station take the canal towpath west to Tunnel End. Cross the canal bridge then go through the car park and walk up the grassy slope on the left. When you reach a lan,e turn right and walk along it until you reach a junction with Waters Road. Go straight on, heading north-east, to take the public footpath that rises up steps through a private garden on the left of a house. Exit via a wrought iron gate on to an unmade road.

2 Turn left along the lane; pass through Berry Greave bearing left at the fork then bear right at the next fork. As the lane turns sharp right and passes a farm building on the left continue along the walled grassy track through a gate to open land. Follow the gently rising footpath north-west around Great Edge, then where the path becomes paved follow it south-west over a stream and up a short slope to a minor road.

3 Turn right following the road through Lower Green Owlers until the tarmac ends, then turn left along a track until the track splits. Take the left-hand track uphill to a stile by a farm gate on the left. Cross the stile and follow the footpath north-west towards March Haigh Reservoir. Go over the bridge at the foot of the dam and ascend the steep bank to meet the bridleway coming up Willykay Clough.

Want more inspiration? Check out our top six September walks

4 Turn right along the bridleway and walk for 1.3km to reach a path junction. Turn left and walk for a short distance then turn left along the Pennine Way to ascend the hill and arrive at Northern Rotcher.

5 Follow the path along the gritstone edge south-east passing the Dinner Stone and triangulation pillar and leave Millstone Edge via a gate. Cross a walled field, walking over the remains of a wall to arrive at a second gate with a tall signpost beyond. Turn left and follow the footpath over a stile on to the National Trust Marsden Moor Estate. Follow a paved path down Thieves Clough, crossing Thieves Clough Bridge then bearing right to ford the stream. Continue on and go through a gate to arrive at the A62 by the Great Western Inn.

6 Cross the road then continue straight ahead to go over the stile then walk along the dam of Redbrook Reservoir to a small footbridge at the end. Cross the footbridge then walk east across the moor along a path following the line of a drain maintaining course. The path swings to the north-east to arrive at a road. Turn left along the road then turn right on a footpath signposted to the Standedge Trail and Pule Hill. By the duckboards turn right to leave the Standedge Trail and ascend the footpath to the top of Pule Hill.

7 From the Marsden Estate marker stone on top of Pule Hill, descend at a convenient place to the base of the crag and walk north along uneven ground past a series of interesting caves and rock formations to arrive at the Snow Stone, part of the Stanza Stones poetry trail. Continue north along the gritstone edge until you reach the steep incline rising from the road. Then, descending the sloping path to the top of the remains of the incline winding house, continue south into the quarry and keeping to the western side arrive at the Snow Stone and the Poetry Seat, part of the Stanza Stones poetry trail.

8 After visiting the poetry of Simon Armitage ascend the incline and turn left at the top to follow the footpath around Firth Pule and past an air shaft for the Standedge Tunnels to reach a small cross commemorating the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment at the top of a hill. Descend the hill north-east, making the best of it through boggy ground, and exit via a gate on to a stone track.

9 Turn right on the stone track through Intake Head Farm and head south-east across duckboards to descend over a low wall into a small clough. Cross the stream and enter a wooded area via a gate, then rise up steps taking the path to a stile. Cross the stile into a walled and fenced corridor; cross a second stile then reach a gate on the left. Go through the gate and descend the hillside keeping within the walled lane until you reach a stile on the right. Cross the stile and follow the wall south-east to a stream. Do not cross the stream but go to the right of the wall then go through the gate on the left at the wall junction. Follow the line of the wall to a farm.

10 Turn left and follow the footpath through the farm walking down the hillside at the side of a stream to reach a wooden stile. Cross the stile and walk through trees to a lane. Turn right along the lane and turn left at a road junction. Cross the A62 and walk straight ahead along the road passing the church on the left. Turn left along Station Road to reach Marsden Station.

Need to know:

MARSDEN TO NORTHERN ROTCHER

DISTANCE: 14.7KM/9.1MILES

TOTAL ASCENT: 424M/1,391FT

START GR: SE 047118

TIME: ALLOW 5 HOURS

SATNAV: HD7 6AX

MAP: OS EXPLORER OL1, PEAK DISTRICT: DARK PEAK AREA, 1:25,000

REFRESHMENTS: WATERSEDGE CAFE, MARSDEN

NAVIGATION: AVERAGE NAVIGATION SKILLS REQUIRED.

NOTE: Safeguarding against coronavirus is likely to be a part of everyday life for the forseeable future. We advise two metres social distancing and checking the latest guidelines are the best course of action.

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