What’s up there then? A detour up March Hill

I planned a walk on Saturday to get vaguely in the zone for a hike up Scafell Pike on 26th Nov (vaguely, as in one walk won’t get me as fit as the other guys doing the walk!). And it turned out to be the best day of the weekend with blue skies all the way.

photo of dog on marsden moors
The obligatory snap of Brodie Dog on the packhorse trail high on the moors – March Hill is in the distance

My sketch of a route, planned a couple of days before, was one I’ve done before .. up along the old packhorse trail out of the village, up on to the moors and then doing a circular trail which takes in part of the Pennine Way. For part of it, I would be walking on an ancient river delta (now sandstone ‘cliffs’) before turning down through the Standedge cut that divides Yorkshire and Lancashire, then winding my way back down to the village.

But one of the hills in the distance when I got to high ground on the trail caught my eye . I’ve seen it before obviously but never – despite living in the village a few years (!) – mooched over to it, so this time I did a detour. As seen by the sticky-outy part of my track on the map below.

The detour up to March Hill.. some of the route to the south doesn’t show in this preview

If you go out an about in the Marsden area , more info on the fuller walk is on my viewranger page :

March Hill is above March Haigh Reservoir (built to feed the new canal back in the 1790’s I think?) – there was a bit of a boggy route to get to it but the path that was discernible and although dog and I got muddied up, it as worth it for the views at the top.

This stitched-together phone photo shows you the sweep .. with the old pub at Buckstones on the left then panning right (Emley Moor mast way off in the distance) and then across to Pule Hill. You can’t really make it out but there’s a hang glider in operation from off those cliffs to the right.

stitched photo of March Haigh Hill panograph
A panograph / stitched photo of March Haigh Hill

Where I stood to take the photo is a Mesolithic hunter-gatherers hot spot. Obviously not now, they’re long gone. Hangliders scared them away maybe. But yes there was a thriving early-man tool making scene here, from what I’ve read – there have been thousands of flint knapping shards / spoils and small stone tools / blades found at the spot over the years. As well as fire pits and hearths hidden under what is now peat. I didn’t go looking for flint as I think you would need to dig and it’s also something that is probably best done by people who know what they’re looking for! And I also don’t want to disturb stuff that’s maybe of scientific interest for others. And the dog would have been bored.

March Hill also seems to be a popular geocaching location. I think due to the views and it is close to the A640 with parking nearby for those geocaching folk who head out around the countryside each weekend.

As mentioned, there were a couple of hangliders launching of the Buckstones cliffs as I stood and took in the scenery , it’s a popular spot for that and the acoustics of the cliffs meant it sounded like the small dots of people I could see down on the ground were only feet away.

The walk itself:
This is a 4 to 5 hour walk depending on weather and if you have a camera with you (there are lots of great views along parts of the walk).
It can get a bit boggy underfoot in parts if it has been raining but for a mid range walk its a good one and probably the best views for this part of the world.

Some moody shots (as in I used the black and white mode on my Vignette phone app) of the sandstone cliffs and boulder fields:

Photo of Sandstone cliffs - 'Millstone Edge'
Sandstone cliffs above Standedge and Diggle – Millstone Edge – an *old* lagoon bed I believe
photo of Millstone Edge boulder field
Millstone Edge boulder field – looking down to Castleshaw reservoirs

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