Walk #5: Gorsey Brow circular
Yes, it’s steep (in parts) – but the more you do it, the easier it gets! And there are the best views ever from up there. Approx 45 minutes
Cross the road from the Community Centre, turn left, and start up Gorsey Brow on the right. Keep on keeping on until you reach the summit – Whitegates houses (great views of Manchester diagonally left). Turn LEFT here on to Hillend Lane and continue down past Hillend cottages*. 20 metres further on your LEFT you will see a footpath marked – take the lower path (a very old dip in the field called a ‘haha’ which stopped the animals roaming). Tameside Council have recently cleared this – and it’s an interesting, ancient alternative to the tarmac road. At the wooden stile (climb over) you will find yourself on a narrow footpath at the back of Braemar Drive. Cross the drive, looking to the LEFT and immediately this footpath continues out on to a stony road above Broadbottom Cricket ground. Take the footpath on your RIGHT with age-old cobbles – going along the top of the cricket ground – and leading you down to Broadbottom Road and the Cenotaph. Turn left for the Community Centre.
Alternative are – of course, to follow Hillend Lane to the main road and turn LEFT to Broadbottom. Or, when you come out on the stony lane at the end of the Braemar footpath, then turn RIGHT and then on your LEFT look for the path which will take you down by the side of the Cricket field, past the children’s play area and on the the main road.
*SHORTER OPTION: Directly opposite Hillend Cottages on your LEFT is a metal stile which will take you straight across a wide field. You then look for further stiles (in corners of the fields) and continue (watching out for livestock – could be horses or donkeys) down to the stony farm path of Brown’s Farm. Turn LEFT to return to Gorsey Brow and continue down, using the Gibble Gabble path on your RIGHT (just past the low house with green bollards) and arriving at Broadbottom Road. Turn LEFT to the Community Centre.
Walk #6: West End, Great Wood and Summerbottom circular
This begins from the Community Centre with an upward trek LEFT up the main road towards the school, opposite which is West End and West End Way (new houses).
Walk into West End Way and to the left (4th new house along) is the footpath which will lead along the back of the houses and down (slippy slope at one point) alongside the railway to the bridge. Great views of our amazing railway line as you go over the bridge. Go straight ahead (path to the RIGHT takes you to another part of the Great Wood). A lovely stroll through the wood (even a bench to rest) and you’ll come down to the ‘bungalows’ built in the 1930s as holiday homes. (There are only 1 or 2 left now on this steep slope.)
Take a LEFT turn at the wooden stile, and go down the steps towards the back of Hodge Fold, and then turn RIGHT to come on to Leylands Lane. Turn LEFT and continue straight along Hodge Lane towards Summerbottom, passing the dye-vats.
At Summerbottom, notice the wonderful cottage garden just to your left as you go through the stile. Navigate the occasionally muddy wonders of this path (known as Leebangs) and you’ll arrive at the bottom of Well Row. Notice the garden to your right on the banking above the river – wonderful colours in Spring.
Climb up Well Row, continue along Old Street and then turn left towards the Community Centre.
Walk #7: Tom Wood Circular
Turn RIGHT from the Community Centre, walk down to Besthill bridge, and cross to the Pennine Trail.
Go along to the first bend and on your RIGHT you will see a small gap that will take you on to the carpark on Long Lane. Cross the road, go through the wooden gate of the church, walk down the daisy-strewn grass, passing the spring which is dressed every year in summer. Go through the wooden gate, using the stepping stones over the spring. The river and Lymefield Mill are on your right. Continue along the very clear path (can be muddy after rain) which takes you to a small bridge and wooden gate (please close with the twine as there are often sheep in these fields). Continue up, dodging your head under the bushes.
The river on your right is lovely here – often grey wagtails, and, of course, martins (and swifts and swallows) in the summer. The path is marked (yellow arrow) to take you LEFT and then up towards Tom Wood. Wooden markers are very clear. At the entrance to Tom Wood is a bridge over the gulley, and then go straight ahead over helpful wooden planks for muddy parts. There are STEPS! (A walking stick is very useful for this one!) After the second wooden bridge the steps go UP! This is excellent exercise for your quadriceps and heart. Keep going, looking down at ravines which are part of the reason this wood has been here for centuries, undisturbed by farming.
There are MORE steps. In wet weather make sure you wear strong shoes. At the very top when you come to a path to your RIGHT (Woodseats Lane is ahead of you across a field) – turn RIGHT – and you’ll pass over a bridge, seeing recent lopping of trees (look up to see the pylons which were the reason for this being done). Yes, the wood looks different here now. But in a year or two new other saplings will be coming in where there’s space. At this point, the steps go DOWN. Again, be careful in wet weather.
This is where Tom Wood offers its spring amazing special! Carpets of wild garlic. Continue down (getting your ramson leaves for cooking if they’re in season) to the river on your left. This path is now a ‘concessionary’ one (ie not on Definitive map) – so there are parts where bushes are close, but keen walkers have cleared it for you. Continue along, traversing a small stream (fairly easy to walk across & get up the other side). Then continue to the exit to Tom Wood which also means a small scramble to get over another small ravine. Then look to your RIGHT and you’ll see where you originally entered Tom Wood. Re-join the footpath back to the Catholic Church and along Long Lane (or cross to the carpark path) to Besthill Bridge and the Community Centre.
NB – there are Reeves Pheasants (long tails) in the area. No cause for alarm, but best to mention. Just keep your distance if they approach you!