Winter Hill & Counting Hill from Coal Pit Lane

23rd January 2022

After another frustrating week enduring hours of sunshine while in work come weekend the skies darkened and in arrived the cloud. I worked yesterday and still filled my car up on the way home fully knowing I wasn't heading to Lakeland this weekend, it pays to be prepared just in case.

I had a nice lie in then took the dogs for a walk before breakfast and while feasting on a cup of coffee I checked the afternoons forecast, it was true I needn't pack my sun block but it was dry and there went my free afternoon.


Ascent: 800 Feet - 244 Metres
Summits: 3, Two Lads, Winter Hill - Counting Hill
Weather: Dry But Overcast Throughout. Highs of 4°C Lows of 3°C Freezing Above The Summits
Parking: Junction of Smithills Dean Road & Colliers Row Road
Area: West Pennine Moors
Miles: 7.2
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 287
Time Taken: 2 Hours 40 Minutes
Route: Colliers Row Road - Coal Pit Lane - Holdens Farm - Holden's Plantation - Two Lads - Rotary Way - Winter Hill - Rotary Way - Dean Ditch - Counting Hill - Dean Mills Reservoir - Coal Pit Lane - Colliers Row Road

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: BL1 7PJ
Grid Reference: SD 682 124


Map and Photo Gallery


Burnt Edge and Adam Hill from Green Nook 13:15pm 4°C

I laced up my Salomans back home leaving me only to add my jacket and throw my pack over my shoulder. Coal Pit Lane was busy mostly with people walking back to their cars and it felt cooler than it did back home so I add a pair of gloves and while doing so was overtaken by a chap I'd seen as I parked up. He passes with a hi and quickly got a good lead on me.

It was my time to overtake a group of teenagers and their dogs and by the time I'd reached the gate to take me on't moor I had a sudden change of plan, turned left and headed towards Holdens Plantation. Technically I'm walking a walk that I've done dozens of times back to front.

Nice and quiet.
As I walked the lane towards Holden's Plantation.

Crossing the bridge over Roscoe's Tenements Clough.
This is the lower section of Roscoe's Tenements Clough I'll pass the upper section on my way back later.

If I stand on my tip toes.
I can just about see Holden's Farm.

Looking back on Burnt Edge.
Taken from Holden's Plantation.

Heading up Two Lads now.
From Holden's Plantation I joined the tarmac of Rotary Way before heading left for the muddy slopes of Two Lads. It's looking busy up top.

Two Lads.
Two Lads was so busy I only managed to take a photo as I walked away.

Heading towards Winter Hill now.
I was right Two Lads was chocka with familes, mountain bikers and dog walkers so much so I gave up trying to take a photo and instead left the summit without a look back. During the short descent I spotted this narrow path which avoids the crowds of Rotary Way so I took it. Happen I only spotted it because I was doing the route in reverse.

Rivington Pike and Rivington Moor.
Jeepers there must be 30 people stood on the Rivington Pike summit.

Back on Rotary Way.
The temperature has taken a dip as I approach the transmitter mast which has been topped in cloud all afternoon.

Then as if by magic.
The cloud cleared briefly revealing the top of the mast.

The 7 transmitters of Winter Hill
Not forgetting the one behind me just in case you only see 6.

Winter Hill summit Trig Point.
I left Rotary Way (next to the transmitter seen centre) and took in the murky views over Belmont and beyond before arriving at the summit trig point. You wouldn't think less than 200 yards away hundreds of folk are visiting the Winter Hill transmitter mast each day but I wonder how many know that Winter Hill summit is just a ten minute walk away, not many it seems.

Heading towards Dean Ditch and Counting Hill.
I re-joined Rotary Way and passed a couple and their dog before passing the last mast on south side of the summit and linked up with the path for Counting Hill. Up until now my boots had stayed relatively dry and I knew I'd be putting them to the test with the bogs of Counting Hill.

It's just a case of following the wall.
That's the highest point up ahead marked by no cairn unfortunately. It might be cloudy, dull, overcast and freezing but I love being on the moor in conditions just like this.

Looking back on Winter Hill.
Aye the clouds dropping again.

Here looking South...
...towards Bolton and Manchester just as Dean Mills Reservoir comes into view over on the right.

Counting Hill from Dean Mills Reservoir.
One minute it was looking like I was going to have the place to myself the next the place was filled with dogs barking and childrens laughter. What a nice way to spend your Sunday afternoon.


Looking down on Roscoe's Tenements Clough (upper)

The sound of dogs barking faded into the distance as I left the reservoir and made the easy descent towards the top of Roscoe's Tenements Clough before turning right and ready for the mile walk down Coal Pit Lane.

Even though there was a full hour until sunset the low light left it feeling much later as did the numbers returning to their cars. Manchester looked bleak from the lane where I could only just make out its land marks between the fading light and lingering cloud before my spotting my car through a gap in the hedge. I'm still cursing all of that midweek sunshine and even though I promised myself I'd rest today when you have all of this just half an hour away from home.


Back to top