Turnpike Routes

The grassy track now marked as Whimberry Lee Lane was once a section of the first turnpike road over to the West Riding of Yorkshire, between Wakefield and Austerlands.

Turnpike roads first came to Castleshaw during the mid-1700s. The earliest turnpike roads became fossilised as tracks when they were replaced by new and improved alternative routes. There are three recognised routes taken by the turnpike roads with the final route, now the A62, completed around 1830.

Roads were built to get manufactured goods from the West Riding to the clearing houses in Manchester for the global marketplace it served. The roads made investors a profit, and Castleshaw folk were able to get their goods to Manchester more easily. The road stimulated the development of the textile industry in the Castleshaw Valley and also ensured other steady inward flows of cash.

The route of this first turnpike follows the bridleway for part of the way from Standedge to Brun Clough Reservoir. Its line is visible as a sunken track where it leaves to meet Thieves Clough Bridge. It is less distinct across Standedge itself due to quarrying. Whimberry Lee Lane survives as an unmanaged public access trackway from Bleak Hey Nook to Standedge Foot.

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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.