Longdendale

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Longdendale_from_Woodhead.jpg
The view westward down Longdendale from above the Woodhead Tunnel, showing the Longdendale Trail (left) and A628 Woodhead Pass road.

Longdendale is a valley mainly in the Derbyshire Peak District in the north west of England, north of Glossop and south east of Holmfirth. The name means "long valley". Until 1974, Longdendale was the easternmost extension of the county palatine of Chester. The lordship of Longdendale was an ancient feudal estate based on the manor of Mottram, Buckton castle and the borough of Tintwistle. It was part of the Hundred of Macclesfield. The saltway from the Cheshire wiches (Nantwich, Northwich and Middlewich) across the pennines brought prosperity to this area in the Middle Ages. An estate survey, or 'Extent' of the lordship for 1360 will be published by the Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire in 2005. The River Etherow, a tributary of the River Mersey, rises south of Holmfirth and then flows through a chain of six reservoirs known as the Longdendale Chain: Arnside Reservoir, Bottoms Reservoir, Valehouse Reservoir, Rhodeswood Reservoir, Torside Reservoir, Woodhead Reservoir. There was a seventh reservoir at Hollingworth, but it was abandoned later.

The first railway line between Manchester and Sheffield was constructed between 1839 and 1845 on the south side of the reservoir chain by 1,500 navvies of whom many died and most suffered illness. The three-mile-long double Woodhead Tunnel was, for a time, the longest tunnel in the country. It was replaced by a single, larger tunnel in 1954. The first tunnel was subsequently used by CEGB to reroute the main high-voltage link up the valley and through the National Park underground. The railway line ceased to be economical, and in 1970 the passenger service ceased, followed in 1981 by the freight service. The passenger service was adversely affected by the requirement to keep the Hope Valley line open, whilst the freight service was affected by the falloff in Trans-Pennine coal traffic.

The trackbed was taken up, and the Longdendale Trail was constructed. It is now part of the Trans-Pennine Trail which, in its turn, is part of the 2000 mile long European walking route E8, from Liverpool to Istanbul.

There are plans afoot to re-open the railway and to reroute the Longdendale Trail parallel to the railway.

The circular walk known as the 'Longdendale Edges' takes in the high ground (at about the 1000-1500' level) on both sides of the valley.

The most western part of the Longdendale valley belongs to the metropolitan borough of Tameside, Greater Manchester, comprising Broadbottom, Mottram in Longdendale and Hollingworth.

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