Great Hill & Spitlers Edge

13th February 2021

I've been meaning to walk Spitlers Edge for sometime but for one reason or another I've always put it off in favour of something else. After the big freeze this last week I was presented with the perfect opportunity to walk the moors north of Winter Hill known as Redmond's Edge and Spitlers Edge.

I came up with a pretty straight forward circular walk which also takes in Witton Weavers Way, Great Hill, Redmond's Edge and finally Spitlers Edge on what can only be described as a blisteringly cold February day.


Ascent: 880 Feet - 268 Metres
Summits: Great Hill - Spitlers Edge
Weather: High White Cloud, Freezing Where Exposed Gust Reaching 30mph Highs of -2°C Lows of -4°C Feels Like -11°C
Parking: Car Park Above Ward's Reservoir, Rivington Road
Area: West Pennine Moors
Miles: 8
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 287
Time Taken: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
Route: High Brow - Belmont - Belmont Reservoir - Witton Weavers Way - Catherine Edge - A675 - Adam's Delf - Great Hill - Redmond's Edge - Spitlers Edge - Hordern Pasture - Rivington Road - High Brow

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: BL7 8BA
Grid Reference: SD 665 158


Map and Photo Gallery


Car Park above Ward's Reservoir, Rivington Road. -2°C 8.45am

Before I had the chance to start my car back at home I was feeling the chill and instantly knew it was going to be an especially cold day. I was dressed to take on the big freeze adding multiple base layers, Winter walking trousers and my trusty Salomon Winter boots which I'm favouring over a brand new pair of Meindl Softline GTX which I'd imported all the way from Germany.

I was first to arrive at the car park just above Ward's Reservoir and wasted no time adding more layers, the last to go on was a pair of wind stopper gloves and warm beanie. The wind was present from the off which felt gustier than what the forecast had predicted but there was nowt I could about it now. I started my descent down Rivington Road towards Ward's Reservoir eyes streaming nose running, flippin eck I'd only just left the car.

St Peter's Church Belmont, from Ward's Reservoir.
Avoiding the snow and ice which covered the road in parts I soon arrived at Ward's Reservoir where I was greeted with the sound of cracking ice, aside the silence, the odd call from a distant bird, it was quite eerie.

St Peter's Church Belmont.
I'm heading for the Main Street which runs straight through the village of Belmont via a narrow path alongside this football pitch. It's from here I take in this cracking view of the sun rising behind St Peter's Church.

Sleepy Belmont.
From the narrow path I head right onto Ryecroft Lane which lead me out onto Belmont Road. I'm heading for Belmont Reservoir located adjacent to the trees up ahead.

Belmont Reservoir Dam Wall.
From Belmont Road I arrived at the southern end of Belmont Reservoir where I crossed the dam wall fully exposed to the freezing wind while gazing towards a fiery sunrise.

Looking across Belmont Reservoir towards Lower Pasture House, Higher Pasture House and Witton Weavers Way.
I'll be heading for Lower and Higher Pasture House once I've crossed the Dam wall, after which I'll pick up Witton Weavers Way.

Looking further North.
Redmond's Edge comes into view over on the left.

Winter Hill from Belmont Reservoir.
Looking rather bleak I might add.

Winter Hill from Higher Pasture House.
From the Dam wall I picked up the access track towards Higher and Lower Pasture House then followed the public footpath sign through the farm buildings.

Another view of Winter Hill with Noon Hill seen far right.
The island in the middle of the reservoir is aptly named 'The Island'

Looking back on Witton Weavers Way.
As I join Catherine Edge.

Lower Pasture Barn Farm.
What a fantastic property, comes with its own four legged alarm system in the form of a huge St Bernard dog who was barking away as I passed, you can just see his body to the left of the gate.

Great Hill.
That's where I'm heading next.

Brrr I know how you feel...
I passed many a sheep taking shelter from the windchill in the long grass, mind if I join you mate!

Spitlers Edge (L) seen with Redmond's Edge (R)
That's the return leg of the walk...looks completely flat from here doesn't it.

Crossing Belmont Road (A675)
With Catherine Edge behind me I head left onto Crookfield Road passing the car park which was almost full. At the top of Crookfield Road I head right towards the top of the brow then left at a sign posted public footpath. Moving on... the council have made sure Belmont Road isn't going to freeze over with all that salt.

Looking back towards Old Man Hill (L) Turton Moor (Far L) and Winter Hill (R)
Catherine Edge is locatred between Old Man Hill and Turton Moor with Witton Weavers Way beyond.

Winter Hill and Spitlers Edge.
Back in the exposure once again where I find myself walking with my head down while snurching every 3 seconds.

Mind you...
...I was loving the cloud above Belmont.

Great Hill comes into view.
Since crossing Belmont Road you actually lose sight of Great Hill as the track bends right before passing through frozen bog (I was sooo pleased the bog was froze) before descending slightly to cross a stream after which I picked up the main path bound for Great Hill summit top.

Darwin Tower and a distant snow capped Pendle Hill from the slopes of Great Hill.
The views from Great Hill were extensive but sadly due to a mixture of haze and poor distant visibility I wasn't able to see Black Combe today.

Great Hill cross shelter.
I hadn't seen anyone until I arrived at the summit of Great Hill where two walkers were taking shelter from the wind who moved on as I approached leaving me time for a few minutes sheltering myself. I soon found that sitting still wasn't the best thing to do in these winds which were gusting in the high twenties by now so I left just in time for another couple who I could see approaching.

A distant Winter Hill, Noon Hill and Rivington Pike from Great Hill.
With Redmond's Edge and Spitlers Edge in the foreground.


Winter Hill from Redmond's Edge.
Which is paved all the way across Redmond's Edge.

Winter Hill and Spitlers Edge from the top of Redmond's Edge.
In order to gain Spitlers Edge a slight descent then re-ascent is required.

Ascending Spitlers Edge.
While looking back on Remond's Edge and Great Hill.

Winter Hill from Spitlers Edge.
You might notice that the paving stones don't continue over Spitlers Edge where stone has been replaced by grit and stone which was equally pleasurable to walk over in its frozen state.

Winter Hill from Spitlers Edge.
It's just a case of following the broken wall back to the road now. It's here I take out my anemometer and record a -11°C windchill and 30.3mph gust.

Back at the car park above Ward's Reservoir.

Towards the southern end of Spliters Edge my walk was almost coming to an end. I crossed the car park marking the top of Rivington Road where I witnessed a couple and their dog walking towards me, after a few words both the couple and their dog retreated back to their car and I couldn't blame them, the windchill where exposed must have been a shock to their system. I passed through the car park and started the descent by passing more ice and snow along the way until my car came into view.

By now more cars had arrived with more pulling up but there was only two things on my mind, one was despite the harsh temperatures how much I had enjoyed the whole walk, it was one that I had been meaning to do for months and now that I had done it I wasn't disappointed, in fact I plan to return again only using a different route. The second thing on my mind was the flask of hot Vimto waiting for me back at the car which I'd usually take a cup full before heading home but today I finished 1.5 ltrs of piping hot Vimto with the engine running whilst listening to the wind outside.

What a day.

St Peter's Church, Belmont.
Surely the heart of the village.


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