Moderate, Challenging

Cheesden Brook from Pooley Bridge, Heywood


7.4 miles long

Cheesden Valley cc-by-sa/2.0 - © David Dixon - – cropped from original

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This walk explores the Cheesden Valley, once a hub of Victorian industry. Today tumbled walls, peaceful ponds and evocative remains recall this lively past, secreted in wooded gorges amidst colourful moors high above Heywood.

The walk includes a mixture of on-road, pasture, woodland, riverside and hilltop paths, with running water rarely far away. In winter (and possibly at other seasons), this is an extremely muddy walk, and the half-mile ridge overlooking Cheesden Brook is vertiginous, making the use of a walking pole a good idea. But there are wonderful high views over to Heywood and to the impressive turbines on distant Scout Moor.

Accessibility and facilities

Although the route is classed as “easy/moderate” on the Walking Britain website, we would rate it as ‘moderate/challenging’ in view of the high ground covered and the variable terrain in places. This makes it unsuitable for wheelchair and pushchair-users.

While there are no public toilets en route, there are pubs both near the start and in the pretty village of Birtle.

How to get there

The walk starts and finishes off Bamford Road, north of Heywood. Buses from Rochdale and Bury pass nearby on the Bury and Rochdale Old Road (the B6222). Buses from several destinations also serve the centre of Heywood, about 0.6 miles / 1 km away.

To work out how to get to and from the walk start point, simply click the Google Maps link on this page. Then click ‘Directions’ and enter your postcode or location in the relevant field. For public transport options, click the train icon.

Alternatively, input the postcode shown into the TfGM journey planner at

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