On the fringes of Greater Manchester is a gritstone escarpment boasting glorious views of both city and countryside. Hikes to Blackstone Edge and its surrounding moorland are a scenic and tranquil delight, the perfect tonic to the hustle and bustle of the nearby metropolis.
Once amongst the moorland, you will find yourself surrounded by peaty ground. White cotton grass covers wide swathes of the moor in early summer, a beautiful sight. A landmark of particular interest is the Aiggin Stone, thought to be an ancient boundary marker between the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire. The Pennine Way passes over Blackstone Edge, so don’t be surprised to see heavily laden trekkers trundling along.
The escarpment has a few reservoirs dotted around its slopes. Closest to Littleborough, Hollingworth Lake’s country park is popular with picnickers and water sport enthusiasts, often forming the start of a walk to Blackstone Edge. To the north is a reservoir that shares the hill’s name and to the east is Green Withens reservoir; both are more secluded than Hollingworth.
A white trig pillar marks the summit, an area characterised by its gritstone outcrops. You can choose to enjoy a little easy bouldering, whilst some of the more extensive crags feature classic rock climbs.
From the top is a glorious view of Manchester’s urban sprawl and its ever-expanding skyline. Directly west is the distant, broad ridgeline of Winter Hill and the West Pennine Moors. To the east, the Green Withens reservoir looks wild and inviting.
The town of Littleborough is often the starting point for walking routes to Blackstone Edge. There are a number of restaurants for post-walk sustenance and a couple of pubs to get cosy in after a brisk winter walk.
Whilst it might not be the tallest at 1,549 feet (472 meters), Blackstone Edge commands a fine view over the landscape and is a lovely place to experience some solitude. To the left, you see Manchester skyscrapers soar in the distance. To the right, you can see into West Yorkshire, Huddersfield, and beyond.
May 20, 2019
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