Stockport & South Manchester

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Campaign for Real Ale

Weekday Wander - Littleborough

Wednesday 6 September 2023 11:30

September Weekday Wander — Up in t'hills
11:30 Wednesday 6th September, Manchester Victoria

This month we are off up into the hills, where we can partake of grand views across Littleborough, that is if the weather is fine. Otherwise we might be stuck in the clouds with nothing but sodden sheep to stare at. Make sure your attire matches the conditions, be it sombrero and shorts or sowester and thermals.

As people will be traveling from different directions, our meeting point is Manchester Victoria for the train to Leeds, with ourselves alighting at Littleborough. Once off the train we have a 10 minute wait for our next transport, conveniently adjacent to a thrifty butty shop (sandwiches typically £3). Taking advantage of a useful bus, we will be whisked up the A58 to alight at the top of the hill right outside the White House.

Originally built as the Coach and Horses in 1671, White House probably at the same time as the adjacent road was upgraded to its current route. There is evidence BlackStoneEdge.jpg of at least two other alignments for this ancient moorland crossing, one wrongly being described as a Roman Road (picture left and full details). Sometime in its life the Coach and Horses was painted white, and as it stands out on the skyline, it became known as the White House by the locals. Internally there are many rooms, some with views - weather permitting. Excellent food is on offer, but will cost a little more than the butty available down in Littleborough. When leaving we have a choice; the 587 will pick us up outside the pub (no bus stop, but clear waving of arms arrests the bus) for a couple or so stops. Alternatively a 20/25 minute walk down the old coach road (gravel surfaced) plus a little way down the main road will get us to our next objective.

The Moorcock was built in 1681 Moorcock Inn as a farmhouse, with its antiquity being attested to but the stonework of the windows overlooking the valley below. Various extensions have been sympathetically added over the years, but it still gives an impression of an old building. Inside is very 'olde worlde', with an extensive terrace and beer field (calling it a garden would be an understatement) at the rear, from where pleasant views are offered. When leaving, departure again needs co-ordinating with the 587 bus (again no bus stop).

When we alight from the bus in Littleborough we should have about a 10 minute wait for a lift up the next hill, but this assumes both busses Hare On The Hill are running to schedule. Alternatively the walk is 10 minutes and the gradient isn't too challenging.

Our next objective is the Hare On The Hill, a pub/bar/gastropub described as very small, but ever so perfectly formed! Part of a conglomerate which includes the award winning Flying Horse in Rochdale so we can expect good beer. Some of the Taliban wing of CAMRA may not approve, as cask ale is dispensed via free flow taps not handpumps, plus you have to pay for your beer electronically. A further challenge is firstly finding the toilets, then deciphering the signs on the doors to work out which is the Gents. Upon leaving we can yet again co-ordinate with a bus, but as it is downhill it is as easy to walk (weather permitting). Red Lion

We will backtrack slightly to number 6 Halifax Road Red Lion to reach the Red Lion, which puts us a mere 5 minutes from the station. When approaching, in the infamous phrase from Dad's Army — no not Captain Mainwaring's "Don't tell him your name Pike" — but Corporal Jones's "Don't Panic". You may ask "Why?". The answer is that the outside still retains its Wilsons signage, but not their beers. Inside there are four rooms, one being to the rear and dedicated to pool. Contrasting with the modern furnishings at the Hare On The Hill, we are back in the cosy farmhouse mix-and-match style. When departing we can use the back entrance to the station, making it but a 5 minute walk.

Trains are approximately ever half hour ( at 03 and 30 past the hour) so departure time can be varied to meet our needs.

11:3011:30Meet at Manchester Victoria Station Rail Station
11:3511:58Northern train to Littleborough
12:1012:17587 bus towards Halifax
12:1713:20White HouseBlackstone Edge, Halifax Road, Littleborough, OL15 0LGYes
13:2313:28587 bus towards Littleborough
13:3014:25Moorcock InnHalifax Road, Littleborough, OL15 0LDYes
14:2814:31587 bus towards Littleborough
14:4014:43457 bus towards Stansfield or 10 minute walk
14:4515:45Hare On The Hill132 Hare Hill Road, Littleborough, OL15 9HG 
15:4515:5510 minute walk or 457 bus towards Rochdale
15:5516:55Red Lion6 Halifax Road, Littleborough, OL15 0HB 
16:5517:005 minute walk to Littleborough station
17:0317:25Northern train to Manchester Victoria
17:3017:52Alternative options - Northern train to Manchester Victoria

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