South Pennine Walks
Millstone Edge & Pule Hill
Date: 13th Sept 2014
Distance: 8.7 miles
Ascent: 1540 feet
Time: 3 hours 50 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SE046118
A thoroughly enjoyable walk from Marsden up on to Millstone Edge on the Pennine watershed and returning over the shapely Pule Hill.
Route Summary: Marsden - Huddersfield Canal - Waters Road - Close Gate Bridge - Rapes Highway - Pennine Way - Northern Rotcher - Millstone Edge - Pennine Way - A62 - Pule Hill - Huddersfield Canal - Marsden
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: As I was still experiencing a few nocturnal bouts of vertigo I still didn't want to risk driving so for the second weekend in a row made use of the train to get me to a suitable walking location. After Mytholmroyd in Calderdale the previous weekend this time I set off for Marsden in the Colne Valley.
From the train station I walked along the Huddersfield Canal to the Standedge Tunnel and then a path alongside Waters Road. After a short spell above the infant River Colne I then crossed over the much-photographed Close Gate Bridge (also known as Eastergate Bridge) to begin the long steady climb up on to the watershed via the bridleway known as Rapes Highway. This initial part of the walk was familiar to me as I'd used it as my route of descent from White Hill on my previous visit to Marsden almost four years before.
Before the bridleway met the A640 I turned south along the Pennine Way to cross Oldgate Moss. From this point onwards this was all new terrain to me. The first highlight was the sudden arrival at the dark gritstone rocks of Northern Rotcher which provided a fine foreground to the dramatic view down to the Castleshaw Reservoirs and south to Millstone Edge.
The next mile or so along the Pennine Way was quite superb, the 'edge' to my right providing good, though rather hazy views of Saddleworth. At the outcrop marked as the 'Dinner Stone' I made a short detour to what I surmised to be the unmarked 451m spot height before continuing on to the trig point and outcrops of Millstone Edge. Selecting one of the larger outcrops I sat down to eat my lunch and enjoy my surroundings.
From Millstone Edge my plan had been to follow the Standedge Trail but I seem to have missed the turn off for and ended up carrying on along the Pennine Way to reach the A62. Rather than retracing my steps I simply followed the road verge with my next objective Pule Hill appearing impressively in front of me. The section along the roadside was just outside the northernmost border of the Peak District National Park.
Turning right on to Mount Road and back on to the Standedge Trail my original plan had been to climb Pule Hill via the quarry incline on the western side of the hill. However, as I got closer I saw there was a thin path climbing up the 'nose' of the hill directly to the summit so decided to take that option. The highest point was unmarked but nearby was a small standing stone which was a waymarker for the National Trust's Marsden Moor Heritage Route.
After an enjoyable walk north along the rim of a substantial gritstone edge a thin path then led me north east across the hill to a large brick built air shaft that provides ventilation for the Standedge Tunnel deep below. A bit further below the air shaft was a war memorial to the 7th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment who had fought in the Second World War. Consisting of a simple wooden cross in a stone cairn the memorial looked a bit forlorn though the backdrop, a superb view of Marsden and the Colne Valley, was anything but.
From the war memorial I continued to descend the hill to eventually reach the A62 from where it was a simple case of dropping down to the Standedge Tunnel and following the canal towpath back to the train station. This was a great walk and one that I'd definitely do again.