GL Walk 2.                Hadfield to Glossop

The Route:    Hadfield station, Trans-Pennine Trail, Padfield, Swineshaw Reservoir, Old Glossop, Manor Park, Glossop station.

Starting point:         Hadfield station. (G.R. SK 023960)

Distance:      3.33 miles (5.4 km)

Ascent:         388 feet (118 metres)

Map:               OS Outdoor Leisure No. 1, The Dark Peak

How to get there:   Frequent daily train service to Hadfield from Manchester and Glossop. 

Disley Station

The Walk: From Hadfield station go down the station approach and turn right, passing The Palatine pub on your left.  The road parallels the former railway line and soon swings right to pass underneath the bridge.  At this point there is a small car park and an access up onto the former railway, which is now the Trans Pennine Trail.  The trail is segregated into two lanes, one for horses and cyclists and the other for walkers, though these distinctions don’t seem to be rigidly observed. 

The Trail soon leaves the houses of Hadfield behind, soon entering a cutting and passing underneath a road bridge.  Views open up to the left, over Bottoms Reservoir and Tintwistle towards Black Hill.  The view up Longdendale is increasingly austere.  Not for nothing is the hillside ahead and to your right known as Bleaklow.  A stream running down the centre of the Trail here defines the division between horses and walkers and the drainage is not as good as it could be.  This must have been a constant problem in railway days.

The next bridge is an underpass.  Bear right and descend almost to the bridge arch to locate a stile on your right, signposted to Padfield.  

Middlewood Way Sign
Photo by Martin Smith

The author can vouch for the fact that the bridge is a useful shelter in inclement weather, having recce’d this walk in a snowstorm.  If you do go under the bridge, take a look at the stones and see how many different masons’ marks you can spot.  The bridge dates back to the line’s opening in the 1840’s.

Go over the stile and bear right, heading diagonally across the field to reach another stile in the wall at the top.  This disgorges you onto a nice green lane which you follow upwards to Padfield.  When you reach the road in Padfield, go left for about 100 yards, then cross the road and go right, into Peel Street.  At the end of this short street there is a signpost and a stile, leading into open fields again.  Keeping the field boundary to your right, continue ahead towards Lower Padfield Farm, which can be seen ahead. At the fence nearest the farm there are two stiles alongside each other.  Yours is the left-hand stile.  Once over the stile, bear left to a gate and then turn right.  The track skirts round the farm, turning left then right to emerge on a lane.  Here go left, passing the collection of buildings that make up Lower Padfield. 

Macclesfield Canal nr High Lane
Photo by Martin Smith
Just beyond the last building go through a sign-posted stile on the right and follow the indistinct path up through a series of fields until you reach a Peak and Northern Footpaths Society sign directing you to Allmans Heath and Swineshaw Reservoir.  Cross the stream (no bridge, so take care) and then go steeply up hill, bearing slightly right.  This is the only steep bit of the entire walk.   As the gradient eases, you’ll see to your right a ruined building and the crosses in Glossop Cemetery. On a misty, clammy December day the sight of these hilltop crosses can be quite melodramatic. Originally the cemetery was known as Allmans Heath Burial Ground. The path comes alongside the cemetery wall and thus reaches a decrepit gate.  Negotiate this as best you may and go left, alongside the field wall, passing to the left of Allmans Heath Farm to emerge onto Woodhead Road.
Go right here, but almost at once, cross the road, go over the signed stile and back into fields.  Swineshaw Reservoir is just ahead.

One of three reservoirs originally proposed in 1837, the Glossop Water Company eventually constructed Swineshaw, in Swineshaw Clough, in in 1864. The company was taken over in 1929 by Glossop Corporation Waterworks. This in turn became part of the Manchester Corporation Waterworks in 1959 and thus part of North West Water and ultimately United Utilities. The resevoir is no longer in use.

Follow the fence on your left down to the reservoir enclosure, then bear right, following the reservoir boundary wall round to the dam and the spillway. At this point the path drop very steeply, through trees.  Look out for a well-hidden flight of steps on your left as you descend.  They are easily missed.  They are also decidedly slippery when wet and this, along with their width and steepness, means you should take care when descending them.  At the bottom the path swings left to cross the outfall stream by means of a simple slab bridge and thus you reach the reservoir access road.  Here go right.

Macclesfield Canal nr Barlow Ho
Photo by Martin Smith
Stroll down Blackshaw Clough on the reservoir access road.  If you are lucky, you’ll be greeted by a couple of peacocks as you pass Keyford Cottage.  When this walk was recce’d they were too bedraggled to raise any noise or even move.   Pass another small reservoir on your left and now Glossop church comes into view.  As you pass Shire Hill hospital, the lane swings right, but your path continues ahead, soon reaching the former Swineshaw Water Treatment Works building.  A quick left and right around this building drops you into a curious new housing development.  Pass underneath the first “arch” onto Blackshaw Road, and then go left, down the hill to Wellgate.  Go right.

When you reach the junction with Church Street South turn left, following the road down until you reach the gate into Manor Park.  Here go right and follow the path bearing right, across the park until you reach the miniature railway.  Go right and follow the path beside the hedge, through the gap between two trees and so down to the river.  A signpost directs you to the teenage area and car park, indicating a route over the bridge.  Following this you rapidly emerge at the end of the lake and here go right.  The path bears away back towards Church Street but a rough path soon climbs up to the left to join a higher route, which is followed to the left and then at a fork, bear right, soon reaching the edge of the park, with a school to your right. 
Follow the path between fences, with housing to the left and the school to the right, to reach King Edward Avenue.  Bear right, cross the road and continue on the footway which now leaves the roadside and ducks round the back of a few houses to cross Quarry Close.  The footway continues ahead, soon passing the Pentecostal church and reaching Ellison Street.  Straight ahead is Station Street, which should give you a clue as to your whereabouts.  Straight on, down Station Street, to emerge onto Norfolk Street, right opposite the railway station.