Routes Across The Pennines
Standedge is a natural place to cross the Pennines because at 1300 feet it is the lowest point on the watershed.
The Packhorse Road, which is the earliest known route over Standedge, can still be followed on foot. From Throstle Nest on Old Mount Road the road rises in a cutting to the Manor House at High Gate and passes to the south of Pule Hill, then over Standedge to Castleshaw. The age of the ‘Pule Gate’ (Pool Road) is uncertain, but Thomas Percival wrote in 1751 that the people of Marsden “all speak of the present highway being found out some time since in their grandfathers’ or great-grandfathers’ memories.”
The First Turnpike Road
The first turnpike road across Standedge was made in 1759 by John Metcalfe (Blind Jack of Knaresborough) for the Wakefield-Austerlands Turnpike Trust.
Its route can still be followed down Meltham Road and Brougham Road to Town Gate in Marsden, then up Old Mount Road to Mount Road, Gilberts, Redbrook and Thieves Clough to Standedge Foot. At the foot of Pule Hill is the marshy ground which Metcalfe crossed by laying the road on bundles of heather placed in the bog.
The Second Turnpike Road
The Second Turnpike Road was built in two stages: 1781 and 1815.
The first stage by-passed the centre of Marsden to make a gentler ascent of PuIe Hill. The route can still be followed along Carrs Road and Mount Road. This was Metcalfe’s last road contract in Yorkshire, being completed in 1781, and in 1789 it was used by the first stage coach service through the Colne Valley.
In 1815 Metcalfe’s road across the marshes (from the Old Moor Cock to Standedge Foot via Thieves Bridge) was abandoned in favour of a new road which went from the Old Moor Cock, across Carr Clough, to the south of Warcock Hill and Redbrook Reservoir, and across Standedge to Standedge Foot. This second route has now become a public footpath.
The Third Turnpike Road
The third turnpike road was built in two stages and is now the Manchester Road (A62), the main road through the Colne Valley.
The first stage brought the road from Huddersfield to Stubbin in 1821. The final stage, opened in 1839, involved a new route to the north and west of Pule Hill, crossing Standedge in a cutting 60 feet deep and 730 yards long.