#69 – The Standedge Trail and the Pennine Way OR The day we didn’t go up Pule Hill

Pule Hill above the Standedge Trail

 After a couple of weeks of indifferent weather combined with domestic chores, it came as a relief to have a free day and a good weather forecast.  It didn’t take long to prepare a couple of rucksacks, and even less time to decide where to go – time to fill in another gap in my Peak District knowledge.  Only in this case we didn’t actually walk in the ‘Peak’ – we did park the car there, though.  Today we were heading for the StandedgeTrail.

The Standedge Trail, heading towards Marsden

As well as writing a blog, I also enjoy reading blogs written by others, especially outdoor blogs.  As well as being an entertaining read they also sometimes provide a bit of inspiration.  For example, I had no idea where Marsden was, but Mark Kelly frequently wanders the hills round there in his “Halfway Hike” blog.  So, it was time to go and check out his stomping ground.

Gritstone edges above the Standedge Trail

We parked up near to Redbrook Reservoir, about five metres inside the ‘Peak District National Park’.  Having done so, we grabbed rucksacks and headed down the Standedge Trail towards Marsden.  There was a bit of logic here, well in my mind anyway.  It seems counter-intuitive to finish a walk by having to go uphill, so the plan was to start by losing 125 metres altitude, before climbing 225 metres to the high point on the Pennine Way, then descending 100 metres to finish.

Ventilation shafts at Pule Hill

Ventilation shafts for the canal and railway

Looking northwest to our next (uphill) section

The Standedge Trail below Pule Hill was easy to follow.  On the way down we passed a couple of shafts providing ventilation for the railway and canal running under our feet.  Construction of the canal and three mile long tunnel started in 1794, but the project was beset by problems, including a miscalculation that almost resulted in two parallel tunnels!  Finally finished in 1811, the canal was soon superseded by the railway, but was restored for recreational use in 2001.

Start of the uphill – Willykay Clough Bridleway

Looking across towards Pule Hill

The ventilation shafts were a major part of the scenery until we started the uphill section along Willykay Clough Bridleway, but the distinctive shape of Pule Hill was visible for most of the way.  A steady height gain on the bridleway gave us good views down to Marsden over open Moorland, as we passed to the south of March Hill.

Looking back down towards Marsden…..

…. and heading upwards towards March Hill

Before long we arrived at the A640 road at Haigh Gutter – the last time I had been here was on the Spine Race two months earlier, watching the competitors heading north on the Pennine Way on a dark, cold night.

Chris and 'Mist' on the Pennine Way at Haigh Gutter

Day 1 on the Spine Race, January 2012 - © John Bamber

From the A640, the Pennine Way was initially well surfaced and easy going, but before long we were amongst rocks on the gritstone edge.  After a section of rougher walking we arrived at a parting of the ways, with the Pennine Way heading straight down to the A62 at Brun Clough Reservoir.  Here we turned left, heading back towards Pule Hill again.

The Pennine Way – easy going at first….

….before reaching the rough stuff amongst the rocks

The Pennine Way heading down to the A62 at Brun Clough Reservoir

We turned left towards Pule Hill

We had parked the car conveniently near to the ‘Great Western Inn’, which seemed to be a good idea at the time.  The first question we usually ask at a pub is, “Can we bring the dog in?”  For a surprising number of pubs, this is no problem.  This time I didn’t get further than the door – a sign said “Boots to be removed before entering”.

Having fun with the light – Chris on the left ‘a shadow of her former self’

I’m rarely so desperate for a drink that I’ll start removing boots or any other clothing for that matter, so we called it a day.

‘The day we didn’t go up Pule Hill’, in fact.

Journey’s end, but no boots inside!

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

About Paul Shorrock

I've been mucking about in the mountains for longer than I care to mention. I started out by walking my local hills, then went on to rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Still doing it, and still getting a buzz. I'm now sharing the fun, through my guided walking business (Hillcraft Guided Walking) and by writing routes for other publishers, mainly Walking World and Discovery Walking Guides. Just to make sure I keep really busy, I am also currently a member of my local mountain rescue team.
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10 Responses to #69 – The Standedge Trail and the Pennine Way OR The day we didn’t go up Pule Hill

  1. maenamor says:

    brilliant looking walk.. looks very remote 🙂


    • These Pennine hills combine a sense of being wild and remote whilst being quite small.

      It’s easy to see why the outdoors movement in the last century was focused on these hills, where this mini-wilderness was accessible to thousands of working people.


  2. Looked like a super day for a walk – I know the area well.
    When I was on the Pennine Way, the day I dropped into Lothersdale I planned to have a drink at the pub. I took my rucsac off, tied Dixie up to a bench outside, walked to the door – and then saw the ‘no boots’ sign. Sorry, but they’re not going to have any of my money with a rule like that, no matter how thirsty I was!


    • I agree totally about the boots thing, especially in rural areas – what do farmers wear on their feet then, carpet slippers? Well, perhaps when they get home 🙂


  3. Pingback: The Pule Hill pivot « Halfway Hike

  4. NIce trip report there Paul. Last walked this area back in 2007, long before I started my blog. Must look to walk in this area again. I have such a big wish list and never enough time to do it in 🙂


    • Thanks for the comment, Mark.

      BTW you are next on my ‘hit’ list – your trip report for Alport Castles was so good that Chris and I (and t’dog) went out and repeated it a couple of days back – it will be in the blog next Monday.

      Thanks for the route and for the inspiration!! I’ll put a link in to your blog when I post.


  5. The Hill Inn at Chapel-le-Dale, right in the middle of the 3 Peaks walk, is also apparently no boots. I don’t remember seeing a notice, just as me and Richard walked in, mid-walk, the landlady shrieked (in a posh, non-Yorkshire accent – that riles me to start with):

    “Oh… boots… carpets… no!”

    Unfortunately, although we should have just walked out again, we didn’t and paid an arm and a leg for our two soft drinks!

    That’s another pub which must be fairly frequented wi’ farmers when it isn’t full of walkers!


    • That used to be one of the roughest cavers pubs in the Dales in the late 60’s/early 70’s!!

      There was a choice of CB (cheap beer) or DB (dear beer), though the wags reckoned it really stood for ‘chucking beer’ and ‘drinking beer’ – the beer fights there were legendary!!

      Pre-carpet days, obviously!

      BTW, I’ve put a link to your blog at the end of my latest post (#70) – hope it brings you some more hits, not that you need ’em 🙂


  6. I wish we’d gone in in the 60s/70s then! Sounds great fun 🙂 Thanks for the link – I can always use more hits 😉


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