Castleshaw Quarries

The Castleshaw Valley landscape is littered with quarries, especially close to Millstone Edge. Quarrying stone here has been common on a small scale since medieval times. The stone was probably used to build and fix the stone walls and houses nearby, as and when the need arose. The stone was removed by hand and carted away on baskets carried by packhorses. Most of the larger quarries that you can see date from the 1800s. Improved transport routes allowed the transport of quarried stone further afield for profit, and quarries became larger and more advanced.

There are quarry pits where material has been scooped out, quarry faces, and spoil heaps where waste stone was laid aside. There are even some crane platforms.

The quarries are a measure of people’s growing impact on the landscape. They show how the appearance of a whole section of the landscape could be completely changed, relatively quickly and easily, using steam cranes and explosives. The landscape is not as natural as it might first appear.

Find out more


  • Fox and Fox nd, Victorian Saddleworth
  • Keevil G 1986, Standedege Guide: An Industrial Landscape of Roads, Canals and Railways

Articles and specialist reports:

  • Arrowsmith P 2010, The Castleshaw Heritage Trail Project: Preliminary Archaeological and Historical Research – 2010

Places to go

Historic maps can be viewed at the Oldham Local Studies and Archives or the Greater Manchester County Record Office.