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Sunday, 6 August 2017

The 4th Leesfield Parish Sponsored Boundary Walk

Saturday 12th August 2017

The walk is next Saturday, starting at 10 am from the car park at the end of Station Road, Grotton.

It's a sponsored event, but sponsorship is not essential. The emphasis is more on enjoying time together as we explore our vast and diverse parish.

If you would like to join us please use the contact details on the events page.

It's likely to be muddy, so boots are needed if you're walking the main route, but alternative routes are available on minor roads.

Stages are listed below, so you can choose which parts of the walk you would like to complete.

Stage 1. Grotton Park to Clarksfield Rd/ Lees Rd - 45mins. Easy. Start 10.00 am

Assemble at Grotton Park & check in at checkpoint 1. Location end of Station Road, Grotton. Some parking available. Follow the old railway line towards Lees, turn right up Ashbrook Road to reach Springhead Post Office. Cross Oldham Road at the crossing and go left down to Station Street. Steps down to the old railway line on the left at the top of Station Street. Continue under bridge for St. John Street, and immediately after some allotments on the right turn right down a steep footpath into Medlock Valley. At the bottom of the hill cross a footbridge to the left and continue up steep steps to follow the path which takes you up more steps with a factory on your left onto Wellyhole Street. Turn left and walk down the left side of Wellyhole Street. Cross Wellyhole Street and continue along the path, across Clarksfield Street and on to Clarksfield Road.  Checkpoint 2 is just before Clarksfield Road.

Alternative route – at the allotments stay on the railway line to Wellyhole St and continue as above.

 Public transport available nearby for those wishing to go home.

Stage 2. Clarksfield Rd/Lees Rd to Holts Lane 35 mins. Moderate. Start 10.50 am

Turn down Lees Road towards Oldham and cross at the Pelican before turning back towards Lees then right down Brewerton Road. Continue along Brewerton Road to the end. Cross Roundthorn Road and go up Salford Street to take the footpath up the hill at the side of Allamah Iqbal Road. Turn left as soon as you get to the end of the houses and continue behind the houses along a pleasant path with some steps through Glodwick Lows Nature Reserve. Where the path forks by a bench take the path to the left which drops back down to Roundthorn Road. Turn right on Roundthorn Road, cross over and keep on to just before some houses on the left. Take the path to your left into Lees Brook Nature Park, and continue through the gate. Take a sharp right down a path signposted Holts Lane, keep ahead down some steep steps and pass by a pond to the big orange gate where you will find checkpoint 3 just above the ford on Holts Lane. Water will be available at this checkpoint and we can take a short break. From here you can return to St. Thomas’ by turning left over the ford and keeping straight on to Sunnybank and Thomas Street, or to St. Hugh’s or St. Agnes’ by turning right after the ford and going up the steps to Magpie Lane.

Stage 3. Holts Lane to Park Bridge 50 mins. Challenging. Start 11.35 am

This stage is not recommended for young children or anyone who may be a bit unsteady over rough terrain, and walkers who use this route do so at their own risk. If in any doubt please use the alternative route.

To continue the walk turn right and continue up Holts Lane, bearing left until you reach Abbeyhills Road. Go left down Abbeyhills Road, cross over and walk towards Hartshead Pike until you reach a path on the right with a waymarker for the Oldham Way. This path becomes muddy, overgrown with brambles, and in several places there are very steep drops right next to the path down to the River Medlock. The path is well marked. Continue to follow the waymarkers and the river until you reach a bridge. Go up the steps to the right of the bridge and take the track to the right, fork right and continue to Mill Brow. Turn right up the hill until you reach Dean Terrace and turn left. You will pass the site of St. James’ Church and school, built 1865, demolished 1985. This is where we get the “St. James’ Chapel” in St. Thomas’ from. There is also a war memorial here. Bear left down the hill on reaching Dingle Terrace to reach the Heritage Centre and Car Park. The cafĂ© is now closed and the toilets are no longer available at weekends! Park Bridge is well worth spending a little time looking round. There was still a working cotton mill here until the 1960’s. Checkpoint 4 at viewpoint below the car park. Water available here and we will have a break.

Alternative route - Those wishing to avoid the difficult path by the River Medlock may cross Abbeyhills Road and follow Alt Lane and Dean Terrace to Park Bridge. There is no footpath for most of Alt Lane. This route is considerably shorter so you’ll have more time to picnic at Park Bridge.

Stage 4. Park Bridge to Hartshead Pike 60 mins. Challenging. Start 12.45 pm

Continue down the hill past the river and take a sharp left up the hill up Alt Hill Road. Keep left until you get to Rocher Vale, and a signpost for Hartshead Pike on the right hand side of the river through a gate. Follow the Tameside Trail waymarkers past the remains of the engine house to cross a stile into a field, and bear left to a small wooden footbridge. There will be cattle in this field, and it will probably be extremely muddy. Anyone wishing to avoid this, or bringing dogs on the walk is advised to follow the alternative route. Continue to follow the waymarkers to a gate in the corner of the field, and follow the track bearing left by the garden of a house. There will be a stile on the left to an overgrown path which leads to Lees New Road, below Cockfields Farm. Cross Lees New Road with care (no crossing), turn left to find a gap in the wall on the right. Go through & follow fence almost to farmhouse, then turn right, over a stile and keep on with fence to your right. Continue to follow the signposts for Hartshead Pike. Checkpoint 5 will be near the Pike, we will have a break at the Pike and water will be available at the checkpoint.

Alternative route – stay on Alt Hill Road to cottages at a junction, turn left down Alt Hill Lane to reach Lees New Road. Cross over with care and follow Twirl Hill Road, then left up Lily Lanes, and just after the Road becomes a track take a footpath to the left to the Pike.

Stage 5. Hartshead Pike to Grotton Park 40 mins. Moderate. Start 2.05 pm finish 2.45 pm.

This part of the walk involves a steep and narrow path downhill, so if you want to avoid this take the alternative route.

After leaving the Pike, turn left onto a path to join Lily Lanes Lane near the site of the old Colliers Arms. Follow Broadcarr Lane past Lane Head Road towards Mossley, and turn left onto a footpath just after a row of cottages. Cross the field downhill towards a stile, and then turn left again uphill keeping the fence to your left up towards the large cross. Continue alongside the fence close to a trig point. From here there are excellent views of Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire and even Wales on a good day! Follow the fence to a gap in another fence to reach an old tree, where the path then bears right down the hill towards a large clump of trees. Cross the stile and follow the path, which now is much more distinct. Grotton can clearly be seen in front of you now. Where the path forks, bear left and then turn right on a track. Go to the right of a locked gate onto a green. Follow the paths between the houses until you cross Thornley Lane onto Station Lane. Follow this to the end and take a short path bearing left back to the start point of the walk.
Alternative route – follow Back Lane and Lane Head Road down to St Agnes’ and either return to the start by turning right on Thornley Lane and Station Lane, or left to Leesfield via Rhodes Hill.     

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