Saddleworth is a pretty cluster of stone-built villages on the Yorkshire-Lancashire border. Diggle, Dobcross, Delph, Denshaw, Greenfield and Uppermill (just when you were thinking they all had to begin with D) are all steeped in history and over-flowing with community pride.
Saddleworth folk are proud of their radical roots: suffragettes, Luddites, cooperatives. We are also reliably informed that they like a good debate: white rose? Red rose? Yorkshire? Lancashire?
Know what the locals know…
Friendly rivalry exists between the villages – and at one time, you could tell which village someone was from by their accent. Uppermill is the largest of the villages, overlooked by Saddleworth Viaduct whose 23 arches carry the railway over the Huddersfield Canal.
Chris Hoy and Team GB cyclists use the Saddleworth hills for training. And who knows who else you’ll see since the South Pennines hosted the second day of the 2014 Grand Depart of the Tour de France?
Walk or cycle the ‘Delph Donkey’, a trail along the old Delph to Greenfield railway line. In June 1960 the Queen Mum “parked her train” on it!
Take a canal trip on the Pennine Moonraker from Uppermill. Or follow the Huddersfield Narrow Canal sculpture trail – look out for the mini sculptures at Diggle Fields which will lead you on a network of paths to the Standedge Tunnel entrance.
Look at Saddleworth’s architecture: many homes were also textile workplaces. There are long rows of mullioned windows on the first floor of houses to allow in as much light as possible. Some houses still have steps known as ‘takin-in’ steps up to the first floor. These were used to take the raw materials straight into the workroom.
Take a trek through Saddleworth with a llama or a donkey. The view from Helen Taylor’s sanctuary is one of the most stunning in Saddleworth and there are treks of various lengths across the landscape Helen has known all her life.
Get crafty. Visit the Saddleworth Craft Cooperative in Delph or one of the Craft Festivals run by Saddleworth Creative Network for locally-made crafts. Or make your own – choose yarn or sign up for a workshop at Woolyknit in Diggle.
Get brassed off! Many of the Saddleworth villages have their own brass band and the Whit Walks Contests held each May are still very popular. If you miss the contests, there are usually lots of opportunities to hear a concert or a rehearsal.