Background Information about Marsden and the Walk
Many thanks to Steven Noblet who has compiled this leaflet and leads today’s ramble. A former player with Sacred Heart Football Club, he now lives in Western Australia where he has walked the Bibbulmon Track - a hike which is just a little longer than our ramble today - 1,000 kilometres!
A bit about Marsden…………
St Bartholomew’s Church sits on the banks of the mercurial River Colne and, like the rest of Marsden, looks up in every direction to the moors above. “I will lift up my eyes to the hills” is the inscription in the graveyard. Marsden boasts the country’s longest, highest and deepest canal, its own award winning ‘Riverhead’ Brewery and no less than three railway tunnels. Not quite as proudly, just 200 years ago it was home to the Luddite Riots. Roman Roads, packhorse routes and reservoirs abound on the outskirts of this charming village.
You can choose from the following
Easy walk of 4.5k (3m) Standege Cutting down to Marsden village
More demanding walk of 7k (4.5m) Marsden up to Standege
The complete circuit of 12k (7.5m) beginning and finishing at Marsden.
The complete circuit starts from the Tunnel End Visitors Centre. L at the pub following the road for about a kilometre, until it leaves the river side. We follow the river here and soon come to Close Gate or Easter Gate, a lovely packhorse bridge. Eastergate is a corruption of Esther Gate. Esther was the landlady of the long gone Packhorse Inn.
Cross over, R then L up Willykay Clough onto Close Moor. This is the old packhorse route called Rapes Way and is now part of the Sation to Station walk from Newhey to Marsden. Just before the A640 turn SE to join the Pennine Way across Standedge, which with similar geology and views may remind you of Blackstone Edge. Across the busy A62 we soon skirt Redbrook Reservoir and Pule Hill on its Eastern flank. We have left the PW ( to carry on its 30 odd kilometres to Edale) now and are inside the very northern borders of the Peak District National Park, the most popular National Park in the country.
We drop down slowly into Marsden with lovely views below of Butterley Reservoir and above of Holme Moor. Butterley Reservoir nearly burst its banks on completion and a hurried repair can be seen on its right hand bank. In Marsden we pass St Bartholomew’s - the Cathedral of the Colne Valley and then over another packhorse bridge. Climbing, we join the canal tow path for the last kilometre and back to the Visitors Centre. Refreshments are available at the Tunnel End Inn where a warm welcome and a log fire is assured from Gary and Bev Earnshaw. I can confirm this as I sampled their hospitality on a wet afternoon while doing the ‘recky’ for this ramble!
Enjoy your walk!
A few facts on the Canal at Marsden
Name - The Huddersfield Narrow Canalu
Connects Huddersfield with Ashton u Lyne
Built in 4 years ( 1794 -’98)
3.25 mile tunnel from Marsden to Diggle
Took 17 years to build @ a cost of 50 lives
No towpath in tunnel - boats had to be propelled by men ‘legging it’ against roof, taking them a creditable 4 hours.