M62 Motorway snakes its way to Saddleworth Moor in The Pennines
M62 Motorway snakes its way to Saddleworth Moor in The Pennines

Hill Farms And Mill Towns
of the Pennines

High on the bleak moors of the Pennines – higher even than the M62, England’s highest motorway – are dotted numerous small hill farms. You’ll find them mostly run by hardy Yorkshire farming families carrying on traditions handed down from generation to generation. The conditions may have improved beyond recognition with modern machinery and indoor creature comforts but it must surely be something you would have to be born to!

The Pennine valleys that take the winter snow’s melt water and the rest of the year’s rainwater on their journey to the North Sea are ages old and shelter many bustling Pennine mill towns. Most of the towns’ mills are long since closed down and converted to other uses, such as modern apartment blocks or designer outlets. But some mills still remain, true to their original intent of producing high quality textile goods. Many of the towns are home to commuters who travel daily to their work in Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and even “ower t’hill” (over the hill, that is, the Pennines) in Oldham and Manchester.

On this page I would like to introduce some of the Pennine Valleys to you. Each brief introduction has a link to another page where you’ll find lots more information.

The Colne Valley

The Colne Valley was the centre of the Industrial Revolution in Yorkshire. The land and its inhabitants have “enjoyed” a colourful, often turbulent, history having passed from landowner to landowner down the centuries. The Huddersfield Narrow Canal follows the River Colne along the length of the valley and is, itself, followed along the north side of the valley by the main Leeds to Manchester railway line; while the old main road between Leeds and Oldham follows the south side of the valley. A journey along road, rail or canal affords tremendous views of the hillsides and villages as you work your way up the valley to the rail and canal tunnels at Standedge above Marsden… More about the Colne Valley

The Worth Valley

Some twenty odd miles north of the Colne Valley you’ll come across the Worth Valley. Cutting deeply into the slopes of the Pennines, the Worth Valley carries the rushing hill waters down to meet the River Aire at Keighley in the Aire Valley. The old homes and shops of Haworth are solidly built of local stone. Tall and very skinny, clinging as they do to the steep valley side, overlooking the River Worth. Enjoy a stroll among them as you walk the narrow, steep, cobblestone streets- once trodden by the Bronte sisters… Read more about Haworth and the Brontes

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