Routes of the Pennine Hills

The turnpike roads first came to Castleshaw during the mid-1700s. The turnpike roads rolled over the hills from the West Riding to Manchester. They provided new, better road surfaces, and used toll-bars and toll-booths to make sure their users paid for repairs, maintenance and improvement.

Evidence for the once-busy turnpike roads across the Pennines can still be seen as fossilised paths and tracks. The route of the first turnpike is clearly visible as a sunken track where it leaves May Letch Lane to meet Thieves Clough Bridge. It is probably disguised over Standedge itself due to damage from quarrying. Whimberry Lee Lane is another section of this route which survives as a trackway from Bleak Hey Nook to Standedge Foot.

Later roads allowed the movement of goods in and out of the area. This included Castleshaw stone dug from the quarries that you can see all around. Roads kept the community going, bringing in food and taking out their wares.

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Places to go

The Saddleworth Historical Society Bulletins contain a variety of articles relating to the turnpikes; these are available from the Society or at the Saddleworth Museum and Art Gallery.