This is one of a series of Heritage Trails jointly produced by Link4Life, the Rochdale borough-wide cultural trust, and the Co-operative Heritage Trust. This organisation’s mission is to preserve the heritage assets of the co-operative movement in the UK, which began in the Rochdale area in 1844.
Heywood Industrial Co-operative Society was founded in 1850 and its first shop was in Longford Street. The first manager was a William Bell, a leading local Chartist. The Society prospered over the years and by 1950 had 8,000 members, a significant presence in the town centre and 17 branches throughout the districts. Heywood has a distinctive niche in the annals of Co-operation when it became the home in 1850 of Charles Haworth, the innovator of ‘the divi’, a founder member of the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844 and its President in 1845. He became auditor and keen supporter of the Heywood Society.
The history of the society can be traced on this trail despite the changing face of the town centre over the years.
The trail is approximately 0.9 miles / 1.5 km long from points 1 to 9 (all within the centre of Heywood), a distance that increases to 1.4 miles / 2.3 km if you continue to Fenton Mills (point 10) or 2 miles / 3.2 km if you walk back from there to Heywood town centre.
Accessibility and facilities
As this is a walk along streets, we believe that the route will be accessible to wheelchair-users and families with pushchairs. Note, however, we have not been able to verify conditions on the ground.
While there are no public toilets available, there are several pubs and cafes within Heywood town centre.
How to get there
The start of the walk shown on this page is point 1 in the leaflet (Hind Hill Street). We have listed Fenton Mills on Bamford Road as the end point for those who may wish to take the bus back from there.
Heywood can be accessed by regular buses and is also on the route of the East Lancashire Railway (not within the TfGM network).
To work out how to get to and from the walk start point and end point, simply click the Google Maps link(s) on this page. Then click ‘Directions’ and enter your postcode or location in the relevant field. For public transport options, click on the train icon.