Tameside walk - Werneth Low

PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 April 2020

A dog walker enjoys panoramic views from Werneth Low Country Park

A dog walker enjoys panoramic views from Werneth Low Country Park

Paul Taylor

It’s called Werneth Low, but the destination for this month’s walk, on the border of Stockport and Tameside, is so high that on a good day you can spy five counties.

The cenotaph in Werneth Low Country ParkThe cenotaph in Werneth Low Country Park

There’s nothing quite like a cenotaph on a windswept moor to bring your thoughts about the glory and futility of war into sharp focus.

The stone obelisk, commissioned to honour the 710 men from Hyde who died in the First World War, was erected in 1921 on top of a hill 800 feet above sea level – a spot hitherto known, with grim aptness, as Hackingknife.

As at Saddleworth’s war memorial, just a few miles away atop the rugged Pots and Pans hill, attending the Remembrance Day service at Werneth Low demands a little uphill struggle. Only right in the circumstances.

On any other day of the year, the walk up to Hackingknife is worth it for the vista alone. A viewfinder points out that Manchester city centre and the town centres of Oldham and Stockport can be seen from here, along with the natural delights of Kinder Scout and Bleaklow.

View finder opposite the cenotaph in Werneth Low Country ParkView finder opposite the cenotaph in Werneth Low Country Park

This month’s walk calls first at the cenotaph and then continues on an easy circuit around Werneth Low Country Park, created in the late 1970s and comprising 200 acres on the north and west sides of Werneth Low.

The choice for refreshment in these parts is blindingly obvious: the Hare and Hounds Inn dates back very nearly 300 years, with low beams to remind you of that history – very forcibly in the case of the tall and unwary. The pub has its own telescope outside with good reason: five counties can be seen from here on a clear day, including the Welsh mountains, and you will also see aeroplanes soar by at eye level, looking like toys as they head for Manchester Airport.

1. The starting point is the Lower Higham Visitor Centre car park on Higham Lane, Gee Cross, postcode SK14 5LR. Park up and head back down the entrance road to the car park, turning left beside the large stone house, following the sign towards the horse and cycle track. Pass beside a wooden gate then go left uphill on the tarmac path following the sign for the cenotaph. Through a kissing gate, head uphill on the well-defined path towards the cenotaph. Head right, passing the cenotaph on your left, then look out for a fork in the path a few metres later, taking the left fork.

Cattle in their high pastureCattle in their high pasture

2. Go through two gates, crossing the riding track between them, and follow this path as it goes down into a wooded valley and up, eventually, to meet a road. At the road go straight on, following the lane downhill, passing a house called Journey’s End.

3. Soon after this, go right through a kissing gate and across a field. At the next kissing gate, bear right up a tarmac lane, but after a few metres, cross a small stile on the left to follow a path across the golf course. Reaching a stile beside a metal gate go right, passing Radcliffe Fold Farm, Edmund’s Cottage and Uplands Farm. Keep to this track as it swings right and uphill, but then turn left into the unmade Mount Road, continuing straight ahead onto a path, which climbs a few stone steps to emerge on another gravel track.

4. Go straight ahead along this track with houses to the left, and keep following it until it winds down to a road junction. Go right here, passing a red telephone box and the entrance to the Quarry Car Park, then immediately turn left into a path. You pass a picnic area on the right, after which the path passes through several gates to bring you out at the Lower Higham Visitor Centre car park.


Area of Walk: Werneth Low

Distance: 3 miles

Time to allow: 1.5 hours

Map: OS Explorer OL1

Refreshments: Hare and Hounds Inn, Werneth Low Road, Hyde, SK14 3AA

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