I have done this 9.5 mile circular route several times and it never fails to give pleasure. On a clear day, from the trig point, the rewards include spectacular views reaching as far as north Wales.
We will start the walk in Littleborough climbing gradually at first and then significantly as we ascend via a roman road onto Blackstone Edge Moor. Parts of the original paving still show but mostly just a dirt track will evidence our way. From the top of the moor we will pick up the Pennine Way and turn right to follow the erractic scattering of gritstones to the summit at 1,550ft (472m). Continuing southward on improving track we will eventually cross the M62 on the highest motorway footbridge in the UK (320 feet long and 65 feet above the carriageway) before heading up to the transmitter at the top of Windy Hill.
Another right turn and we begin our decent using the bridleway which runs runs along the crest known as Windy Hills before picking up the Rochdale Way. The terrain can be muddy and rutted but I did this walk yesterday and it was easily passable. Ahead we will see and then pass under the Rakewood Viaduct. Opened in 1971 this spectacular bridge is 280 yards long and carries the M62 140 feet above the valley floor. Our return then follows the road alongside Hollingworth Lake back to Littleborough.
Length 9.5 miles. Hills up 40%, down 50%, flat 10%. Total ascent 1,384ft (422m), decent 1,384ft (422m). Difficulty; moderate to hard.
Food & Drink: please bring a packed lunch and something to drink. After the walk we hope to take refreshment at a local pub or cafe or we can stop at Hollingworth Lake.
Equipment: walking boots, waterproof jacket and trousers, warm clothing. Trekking pole(s) recommended if normally used.
Terrain / Difficulty
Moderate to hard with some climbing on rutted tracks.