The horse that tried to join our picnic above Ogden Reservoir was a reminder of the sturdy animals that once trod the Rapes Highway. This packhorse way, linking the South Pennines with Derbyshire, was built in the 17th century and strings of up to forty ponies carried wool, cloth, coal, iron, salt and lime across these moors. Though replaced by turnpikes, and later by canals and railways, the route was in use until the 1890s. Now the busy M62 carries the traffic, but tucked away behind a moorland ridge the peaceful Piethorne Valley slumbers on.
LOCATION: Newhey, four miles east of Rochdale
START: Ogden Lane, off A640. Car park on Private Rd by dam, toilets.
Grid ref: SD952123 Postcode: OL163TQ
DISTANCE: 3 miles
TIME: 1.5 hours
MAP: Explorer OL - South Pennines or Explorer - Manchester & Salford
REFRESHMENTS: Pack a flask
EN ROUTE: Kitcliffe, Foulwater Lodge
This walk was originally published by
The Manchester Evening News